1. Docs
  2. Using Pulumi
  3. Continuous Delivery
  4. GitLab CI

Pulumi CI/CD & GitLab

GitLab CI/CD enables the management of deploying staging and production stacks based on commits to specific Git branches. This is sometimes referred to as Push-to-Deploy.

Pulumi doesn’t require any particular arrangement of stacks or workflow to work in a continuous integration / continuous deployment system. So the steps described here can be altered to fit into any existing type of deployment setup.


  • An account on https://app.pulumi.com and that you have created a new project.
    • This just means you will sign-in using your GitLab credentials.
    • However, pulumi can be run from anywhere and your infrastructure code itself can be hosted anywhere.
  • The latest CLI.
  • A bare repo and set the remote URL to be your GitLab project.

Stack and Branch Mappings

The scripts below act on a hypothetical stack: acme/product-catalog-service-stack. You can create a stack by running pulumi stack init. The source code for the stack is in a repository in GitLab and uses TypeScript as the language.

Note: The names used above are purely for demonstration purposes only. You may choose a naming convention that best suits your organization.

Alternatively, you can also run pulumi new [template] to create a template project.

GitLab CI Runners

Protected Branches

In order to prevent abuse of protected resources, as well as some sensitive information used by your repository, GitLab has the concept of Protected Branches and Tags.

If you are running pulumi from any branch other than the master branch, you are likely to hit an error that the PULUMI_ACCESS_TOKEN environment variable (introduced later in this document) cannot be accessed. You can fix this by specifying a wildcard regex to allow specific branches to be able to access the secret environment variables. Refer to the GitLab documentation to learn how to do that.

Merge Request Builds

GitLab has the ability to restrict jobs to only run for merge requests. This is done by adding the following configuration to your GitLab pipeline config file:

- merge_requests

We will use this to run the pulumi preview command only in merge request pipelines.

Environment Variables

To use Pulumi within GitLab CI, there are a few environment variables you’ll need to set for each build.

The first is PULUMI_ACCESS_TOKEN, which is required to authenticate with pulumi.com in order to perform the preview or update. You can create a new Pulumi access token specifically for your CI/CD job on your Pulumi Account page.

Next, you will also need to set environment variables specific to your cloud resource provider. For example, if your stack is managing resources on AWS, AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY.

Note: It is a good security practice to mark any sensitive variables as protected in GitLab. Read the note about Protected Branches above.


Your repository must contain the .gitlab-ci.yml in the root. GitLab looks there by default. If you are using an alternate location, be sure to update the settings for your GitLab project by going to https://gitlab.com > (select your project) > Settings > General.

The following are samples only. You may choose to structure your configuration any way you like.

The pulumi-preview.sh script (not shown here) is similar to the run-pulumi.sh, except that it runs the pulumi preview command instead of the pulumi up command, which is sort of a dry-run that only shows you changes (if any) in your infrastructure.

Sample .gitlab-ci.yml

# This sample yaml configuration file contains two stages and three jobs.
# This configuration uses GitLab's `only`, `when`, and `except` configuration
# options to create a pipeline that will create the `pulumi-preview` job in the pipeline,
# for all branches except the master.
# Only for master branch merges, the main `pulumi` job is executed automatically.
  - build
  - infrastructure-update

# Each stage may require multiple jobs to complete that stage.
# Consider a build stage, which may require building the UI, service, and a CLI.
# All 3 individual build jobs can be attributed to the build _stage_.
  stage: build
    - echo "pulumi rocks!"

  stage: infrastructure-update
    - chmod +x ./scripts/*.sh
    - ./scripts/setup.sh
    - ./scripts/run-pulumi.sh
  # Create an artifact archive with just the pulumi log file,
  # which is created using console-redirection in run-pulumi.sh.
    - pulumi-log.txt
    # This is just a sample of how artifacts can be expired (removed) automatically in GitLab.
    # You may choose to not set this at all based on your organization's or team's preference.
    expire_in: 1 week
  # This job should only be created if the pipeline is created for the master branch.
  - master

  stage: infrastructure-update
    - chmod +x ./scripts/*.sh
    - ./scripts/setup.sh
    - ./scripts/pulumi-preview.sh
  - merge_requests


The setup.sh installs the pulumi CLI on the GitLab CI Runner, and other tools. It also installs yarn and nodejs since that’s the runtime for this sample project.


# exit if a command returns a non-zero exit code and also print the commands and their args as they are executed
set -e -x
# Download and install required tools.
# pulumi
curl -fsSL https://get.pulumi.com/ | bash
export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/.pulumi/bin
# Login into pulumi. This will require the PULUMI_ACCESS_TOKEN environment variable
pulumi login
# update the GitLab Runner's packages
apt-get update -y
apt-get install sudo -y
# nodejs
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | sudo -E bash -
apt-get install -y nodejs
# yarn
npm i -g yarn


The run-pulumi.sh script runs the pulumi up command to apply any stack changes and to start updating your infrastructure.


# exit if a command returns a non-zero exit code and also print the commands and their args as they are executed
set -e -x

# Add the pulumi CLI to the PATH
export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/.pulumi/bin

yarn install
pulumi stack select product-catalog-service
# The following is just a sample config setting that the hypothetical pulumi
# program needs.
# Learn more about pulumi configuration at: https://www.pulumi.com/docs/concepts/config/
pulumi config set mysetting myvalue
pulumi up --yes

Enhance Merge Requests With Pulumi

Pulumi now supports enhancing your merge requests with insights into changes to your infrastructure. Never miss another unintended change with the infrastructure change summary shown inline with the rest of your merge request notes. Learn how to configure the integration with Pulumi.

Merge Request Note