Using Terraform Remote State with Pulumi

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While some people coming to Pulumi are entirely new to Infrastructure as Code, increasingly teams are moving from other tools - whether cloud-specific in the form of CloudFormation or ARM Templates, or cloud-agnostic tools such as Terraform. In these organizations, new infrastructure provisioned with Pulumi must co-exist with existing resources provisioned with other tools, and often by different teams. For example, it’s common to see an application team deploying into a VPC owned and managed by a network operations team.

Pulumi supports this kind of workflow natively using the StackReference type from the Pulumi SDK. Integration with the most popular cloud-specific tools have been supported by Pulumi since the earliest days:

We recently added similar support for reading the outputs of a Terraform state file - both from local .tfstate files, and from all of the remote state backends supported by Terraform. This is exposed via the terraform.state.RemoteStateReference type in the @pulumi/terraform NPM package.

Example - Terraform Enterprise Backend

To demonstrate the use of the RemoteStateReference type, let’s imagine we want to use the IDs of subnets in a simple AWS VPC was defined by another team using Terraform 0.12, with remote state stored in Terraform Enterprise, using the following HCL:

  terraform {
    required_version = ">= 0.12"

    backend "remote" {
      organization = "acme"

      workspaces {
        name = "production"

  provider "aws" {
    region = "us-west-2"

  resource "aws_vpc" "vpc" {
    cidr_block = ""

    tags = {
      Name = "VPC"

  resource "aws_internet_gateway" "gw" {
    vpc_id =

    tags = {
      Name = "VPC IG"

  resource "aws_subnet" "public" {
    count = 2

    cidr_block = "172.21.${count.index}.0/24"
    vpc_id =
    map_public_ip_on_launch = true

    tags = {
      Name = "Public Subnet ${count.index +1}"

  resource "aws_route_table" "rt_public" {
    vpc_id =

    route {
      cidr_block = ""
      gateway_id =

    tags = {
      Name = "VPC Public"

  output "vpc_id" {
    value =

  output "public_subnet_ids" {
    value = aws_subnet.public.*.id

To consume the outputs of this Terraform state in our Pulumi program we can do the following:

  1. Create a new Pulumi program written in TypeScript

     $ pulumi new --yes typescript
  2. Install the @pulumi/terraform package from NPM:

     $ npm install @pulumi/terraform
  3. In the index.ts file, create a terraform.state.RemoteStateReference resource to access the state. Note that we can use Pulumi secrets to ensure that our Terraform Enterprise token is encrypted and never stored in plaintext by Pulumi:

    import * as pulumi from "@pulumi/pulumi";
    import * as terraform from "@pulumi/terraform";
    const config = new pulumi.Config();
    const tfeToken = config.requireSecret("tfeToken");
    const networkState = new terraform.state.RemoteStateReference("network", {
        backendType: "remote",
        token: tfeToken,
        organization: "acme",
        workspaces: {
            name: "production-network"
  4. We can now use either the outputs property or the getOutput() function on networkState to obtain individual outputs:

    const vpcId = networkState.getOutput("vpc_id");
    const publicSubnetIds = networkState.outputs["public_subnet_ids"] as pulumi.Output<string[]>;
    // Create our webservers in each subnet
    for (let i = 0; i < 2; i++) {
        new aws.ec2.Instance(`instance${i}`, {
            ami: nginxAmi,
            instanceType: "t2.medium",
            subnetId: publicSubnetIds[i],

Using Pulumi to read the outputs of other deployment tools provides a great deal of flexibility for adopting Pulumi into existing environments. Resources which were provisioned by CloudFormation, ARM or Terraform can remain in place, while still allowing those values to be dynamically consumed by a Pulumi program.

Pulumi is free and open-source, and you can get started today. To learn more about migrating from Terraform to Pulumi, check out Converting Full Terraform Programs to Pulumi and the Terraform comparison documentation, or join us in the Pulumi Community Slack to discuss with the Pulumi community.