Platform Engineering is one of the biggest trends that is undoubtedly here to stay, with a community and tool environment that are both expanding quickly. But there are still many unsolved questions, as with any (relatively) new trend.
In this Blog post, we’ll try to understand the concept from scratch and answer some basic questions that both people within and outside the community are curious about.
Without further ado, here’s the essential information you should be aware of regarding Platform Engineering. Agreeing on a common definition is rather difficult; however, we can define Platform Engineering as the process of creating, developing, and maintaining the supporting infrastructure and apparatus necessary to the efficient operation of software applications.
In order to facilitate the development, deployment, and management of apps across various environments, Platform Engineering focuses on building scalable, reliable, and efficient platforms.
Software Engineering, Infrastructure Engineering, and DevOps are all combined in Platform Engineering. Its main objective, indeed, is to provide faster software application and service delivery while also enhancing agility and flexibility in response to changing corporate needs.
Or, in other words, to standardize processes in order to enhance the developer experience, quicken innovation cycles, and reduce the engineering organization's time to market.
Platform Engineering allows development teams to build upon a strong foundation, which enables businesses to innovate more quickly and stay one step ahead of the competition.
The Platform team can gain a holistic understanding of developers' pain points and common difficulties inside the company by conducting user research, requesting user feedback, and getting internal buy-in from stakeholders. It can identify the features programmers require and provide a golden path that includes those answers.
However, the Platform journey continues on. In order to ensure that developers are using the Platform and that it is actually improving developers' life, successful Platform teams maintain open lines of contact with developers and track technical KPIs.
DevOps vs. Platform Engineering
DevOps and Platform Engineering are closely related topics.
DevOps brings development and operations teams closer together, and focuses on using tools, systems and iterative processes to shorten feedback cycles. It represents a software lifecycle management’s philosophical and methodological approach that contributes to the creation of the Platform and is, in turn, one of the services delivered by it.
Platform Engineering, on the other hand, can basically be considered as the discipline focused on the technology infrastructures and platforms’ design, development and management, on which digital services and software applications are delivered. Through the Platform, IT teams can access self-service mode for the digital assets they need, and digital business services are delivered.
Platform Engineering is also a development of DevOps, so to speak. DevOps outlines guidelines for simplifying development through automation, autonomy, and collaboration. These qualities are also crucial to Platform Engineering so the technique helps you achieve good DevOps performance.
DevOps is used as a methodology to compose Platform Engineering; one of the methodologies that, those who use Platform, find out-of-the-box.
An Internal Corporate Service
Platform Engineering is definitely an internal corporate service that is addressed to all IT figures involved in creating digital initiatives within an organization.
Platform Engineering, in fact, can be seen as a technological-organizational moment that gives development teams access to services like monitoring and security in a "self-service" mode, which makes use of automations and the above-mentioned DevOps.
It is a kind of large distributor of digital services within the organization, essential to any new initiative that needs access to digital assets.
Externally, however, Platform Engineering is realized in the tangible result of the application of the service built through the Platform itself.
Impacts on IT Governance
The centralization of digital services within the Platform has significant impacts.
First, the Platform enables considerable cost management and control, especially when it integrates elements usually external to typical corporate governance, as in the case of data centers and cloud services.
Another relevant effect resulting from Platform Engineering is the harmonization within a company's organizational set-up of all the offerings that arrive from suppliers in terms of products and services. These have to adapt to organizational security standards and methodologies for updating and maintaining infrastructure and applications.
Therefore, IT Governance has to integrate into the Platform’s context, also embedding itself in a self-service delivered system that represents the enterprise technology asset’s backbone.
We can affirm that Platform Engineering can be seen as the answer to every CTO's dreams!
The Platform Engineering community started in 2021 with a handful of meetup groups in the USA (Austin) and Europe (Berlin). Over 10,000 Platform developers are now engaged, spread over 19 meetup groups worldwide. In light of this community movement, Platform Engineering should be taken more seriously by organizations.
And you? What are you waiting for? Discover more about Platform Engineering by listening to the latest episode of our Bitrock Tech Radio podcast, or get in contact with one of our experienced engineers and consultants!
Author: Franco Geraci, Head Of Engineering @ Bitrock