Seattle startup Pulumi unveils new service for brand-new Amazon Web Services customers looking for help

Joe Duffy, CEO, Pulumi (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

If you want to take full advantage of cloud computing and providers like Amazon Web Services, it helps to have a cheat sheet as you make the move. Pulumi hopes its new Crosswalk service fills that need.

The Seattle startup plans to introduce Crosswalk for AWS Tuesday as a new service for users of its Pulumi open-source project and associated commercial services, said Joe Duffy, Pulumi co-founder and CEO, in an interview with GeekWire. Crosswalk was designed for software teams who are relatively new to AWS and need help understanding the best practices recommended when operating atop the market-leading cloud infrastructure service.

“The idea behind Crosswalk is to solve all those hard problems customers have when they go to AWS,” Duffy said. “People are just constantly making mistakes and they don’t know it.”

There are two common problems that AWS newcomers run into when trying to embrace cloud computing, which is a very different way of setting up tech infrastructure than inside self-managed data centers, Duffy said. Productivity is the first one, as teams often can’t figure out how to take advantage of AWS tools to develop and shift software faster, but new teams also make mistakes implementing security features that work differently on the cloud, he said.

Crosswalk for AWS provides users of popular AWS services like AWS Fargate a way to provision those services using popular software development languages they likely already know well, as opposed to cloud-native languages like YAML that are the bane of many a developer’s existence. That’s the basic pitch behind Pulumi as a company, which wants to build tools that help developers get their applications running across multiple clouds without spending a lot of time working with specialized configuration languages.

(L to R): Luke Hoban, Pulumi CTO; Eric Rudder, Pulumi President, COO and Executive Chairman and Joe Duffy, Pulumi CEO. (Pulumi Photo)
(L to R): Luke Hoban, Pulumi CTO; Eric Rudder, Pulumi President, COO and Executive Chairman and Joe Duffy, Pulumi CEO. (Pulumi Photo)

Pulumi will offer versions of Crosswalk for Microsoft Azure and Kubernetes, Duffy said, but wanted to launch first with AWS given its size. Crosswalk for AWS is completely open source, and Pulumi will sell support and training services to companies that are interested in using it as part of their software development efforts.

It’s been a about year since Pulumi launched out of stealth mode last summer, and the former Microsoft engineers behind the company have raised $20 million in funding from investors like Tola Capital and Madrona Venture Group. Pulumi now has about 30 employees, roughly double the number of people who were on board when it raised its Series A round in October, Duffy said.

Around that time, the company revamped its pricing plan and is now seeing “a lot more paying customers,” Duffy said. Pulumi is still burning cash, like almost all startups of its age, but Duffy did not appear to be in a hurry to secure a Series B round: “Right now, we’re happy with the amount that we’ve got and the current burn rate, and we feel like we’re investing in growth in all the right ways.”

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