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Pulumi executive chairman Eric Rudder, left, and CEO Joe Duffy. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Seattle startup Pulumi is formally launching its technology for programming the underlying infrastructure of the cloud, looking to land new corporate customers in the increasingly competitive field of technology providers aiming to help companies operate more seamlessly across multiple cloud platforms.

The 25-person company, started by former Microsoft engineering leaders Joe Duffy and Eric Rudder, is backed by $20 million from Madrona Venture Group and Tola Capital. Customers include large companies such as Mercedes Benz, Tableau Software (now owned by Salesforce), and Latin American e-commerce company Linio, in addition to startups and early stage ventures.

Pulumi 1.0, released Thursday morning, is the company’s flagship product in the area commonly known as “infrastructure as code.” It lets customers apply modern software development practices to what has traditionally been a cumbersome or manual process of provisioning, configuring and updating the underlying hardware and software for running applications.

Pulumi works across platforms and technologies including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Kubernetes and others.

The startup is far from alone in pursing this market. One of its biggest competitors is San Francisco-based HashiCorp (co-founded by University of Washington alum Armon Dadgar) a rising cloud powerhouse whose products include the Terraform infrastructure as code software tool. Other competitors and alternatives include technologies from AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Ansible, Chef and Puppet. Pulumi can also be used in conjunction with some of those existing tools and technologies, depending on the scenario.

To stand out in this field, Pulumi is betting in part on the appeal and advantages of familiar software languages. Its technology lets developers use general purpose languages including JavaScript, TypeScript, Python and Go, rather than learning specialized and single-purpose languages, as can be the case with alternatives.

“This approach helps developers and operators work better together,” explained Duffy, Pulumi’s CEO, saying the company often hears from engineers who don’t want to learn a new domain specific language, such as YAML for Kubernetes, or HashiCorp’s configuration language. “Using tried and true languages has broken down barriers to collaboration between these disciplines.”

Rudder, the company’s executive chairman, is a former Microsoft executive vice president whose experience includes running the Redmond company’s Server & Tools Division. In a recent interview along with Duffy at Pulumi’s downtown Seattle headquarters, Rudder said the company is already developing its second major product, in a sign of its larger ambitions.

“We’re a little bit like a rock band whose name is Pulumi, whose first album is Pulumi, whose first song on the first album is Pulumi, but our vision is much bigger than that,” Rudder said. “Our vision really is to span everything in the dev-DevOps pipeline, and this is just our first entry.”

Pulumi is based on an open-source project of the same name, with a community edition that is free for individual use, and a Software as a Service pricing model for teams and larger companies.

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