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Platform Engineering Overview - Tools and Best Practices

Navdeep Singh Gill | 25 April 2023

Platform Engineering

Introduction to Platform Engineering

Platform engineering is an evolving practice rooted in DevOps principles, aiming to enhance security, compliance, cost-efficiency, and speed of value delivery for development teams. It involves a shift in mindset towards product-oriented thinking and encompasses a suite of tools and frameworks to support this transformation.

Recently, there has been a surge of interest in platform engineering across industries. Gartner predicts that by 2027, approximately 80% of engineering organizations will have dedicated platform engineering teams. These teams focus on creating internal developer platforms tailored to specific domains like sales (Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce), service fulfillment (ServiceNow), or communications (Twilio). The goal is to achieve scalability and accelerate the delivery of business outcomes.

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The Shift of Software Career

In the past, there was a division of responsibilities where some teams wrote code while others were tasked with running it. However, this approach was soon recognized as inefficient, especially with the increasing complexity of technology and systems in DevOps. As a solution, a collaborative practice known as DevOps emerged to streamline processes and lighten the workload.

Previously, engineers were divided into coding and operations roles. Now, the modern approach involves all engineers being responsible for both writing and running code. This shift has elevated collaboration and efficiency, allowing developers to focus on application development and tackle everyday challenges within the current DevOps landscape.

What is Platform Engineering?

Platform engineering is an emerging strategic approach that accelerates the delivery of applications and their ability to generate business value promptly. Platform engineering boosts developer satisfaction and efficiency by integrating self-service features with automated infrastructure operations. Its rising popularity is attributed to its capacity to simplify the developer experience and expedite the delivery of customer value by product teams.

For instance, if an application aims to foster seamless collaboration between IT and DevOps teams, the platform engineering team should establish a foundational framework for development. They should also equip the DevOps team with tools to enhance the speed and reliability of software delivery.

Platform engineering empowers the development team to deploy software efficiently by leveraging cloud platforms. Many software developers encounter challenges with manual procedures like managing repositories and infrastructure components for production. Platform engineering addresses these challenges, streamlining development processes, reducing costs, and eliminating obstacles for developers.

Cloud Computing - The New Frontier for Platform Engineering

As we approach the end of the decade, cloud computing has become a vital component of modern business operations. It enables organizations to minimize their infrastructure requirements while delivering top-notch services to customers. The cloud presents numerous advantages, including scalability, reliability, and data security, leading to cost savings and enhanced adaptability for software engineering entities. One of the cloud's strengths lies in its versatility—you can establish a private cloud, leverage major public clouds like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure, or adopt a hybrid model combining private and public cloud resources as necessary.

Why is Platform Engineering important for large enterprises?

Any organization can have multiple DevOps teams with different responsibilities. It can ensure consistency and allow for better productivity and efficiency. It has a variety of benefits for an organization. The product developed by the team enables DevOps to write and run the code with maximum efficiency. Let’s see some of the benefits of platform engineering teams:-


1. Enhancing the Development Processes: It automates the process for the DevOps team. Without it, the manual processes become almost impossible to solve and are error-prone. With the heavy reliance on automation, developers can focus on seamless software development and delivery, including speeding up the software development processes and driving business value to enhance customer experience without compromising the quality and speed of the product.

2. Removing Bottlenecks: Imagine a superstar developer with immense skills in Kubernetes, helm charts, and Terraform modules which can quickly complete any production task, but small companies cannot afford to hire such excellent developers. Still, with it, any developer can code and operate software in any environment while improving the customer experience and delivering quality services with consistency and agility.

3. Enabling innovation with efficiency development: Platform engineers have the major task of automating the processes to let the DevOps team focus on critical operations. They provide a self-service portal and allow for innovations by experimenting and practicing new technologies and tools.

4. Scalability with Automation: It can enable the development team to create, remove, and update the environment without knowing anything about it. Platform engineers provide self-service capabilities, so even a junior developer can quickly code and deploy the application.


In short, most organizations are starting to realize the need for it to advance with effective software development support and innovative initiatives to provide a seamless developer experience and the development of customized applications with a continuous architectural approach.

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How does Platform Engineering work?

Platform engineering encompasses the process of creating and sustaining the foundational infrastructure and platforms essential for developing, deploying, and operating software systems. It utilizes a suite of tools and methodologies to enable large software engineering organizations to automate cloud resource provisioning, enhance software system performance and availability, and foster collaboration between development and operations teams.


The journey of platform engineering typically commences with designing and implementing a robust platform architecture that delineates the structure and elements of the platform. This architecture encompasses defining the fundamental infrastructure components like servers, storage, and networks, alongside the software stack, including operating systems, middleware, and frameworks. This architectural blueprint serves as the cornerstone of the platform, crucial for ensuring optimal performance and scalability.


Once the platform architecture is established, platform engineers leverage a variety of tools and techniques to automate cloud resource provisioning and management. These tools encompass infrastructure as code (IAC) tools like Terraform and CloudFormation, empowering engineers to programmatically provision and manage cloud resources. Additionally, configuration management tools such as Ansible and Chef automate server and software configuration tasks. Containers like Docker and Kubernetes are also pivotal, enabling the packaging and deployment of software applications in a portable and manageable manner.


Monitoring and logging tools play a vital role in platform engineering, facilitating the collection and analysis of performance and usage data. This data is leveraged to fine-tune the platform for optimal performance and scalability. By monitoring metrics such as CPU and memory usage, network traffic, and error rates, platform engineers can swiftly identify and address issues, as well as plan for future scalability requirements.


Moreover, platform engineers collaborate closely with development teams to ensure the platform adequately supports software application development and deployment. This includes providing essential APIs, libraries, and frameworks for developers, as well as implementing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to automate the software delivery process and enhance the speed and quality of software releases.


How does it upgrade regularly?

Platform engineers also collaborate with operations teams to ensure the platform is highly available and performs well in production. This includes implementing and maintaining backup and disaster recovery plans and performing regular software updates and upgrades. By working closely with operations teams, platform engineers can ensure that the platform runs smoothly and that any issues are quickly identified and resolved.

It also involves working with security teams to ensure the platform is secure and that all necessary security best practices are followed. This includes implementing role-based access control, network segmentation, and encryption. By implementing robust security measures, platform engineers can help protect the platform and the software systems that run on it from potential threats and vulnerabilities. 

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What are its major benefits in Industries?

As mentioned above, it is the key to fast development in the cloud. There are many benefits to developing applications using the cloud, but one of the most significant is the ability for developers to build and deploy their applications faster.

Automates the provisioning and management of cloud resources; it allows developers to focus on building and deploying applications rather than managing the underlying infrastructure. This leads to faster development cycles and the ability to respond quickly to changing business needs.

Reliable and scalable infrastructure

It improves the overall performance and availability of software systems, reduces downtime, and increases the efficiency of the software delivery process. Increase collaboration between development and operations teams; it provides a standard set of tools and processes. Also enables these teams to work together more effectively and efficiently.

Enhance the security of software systems.

It provides a secure foundation. It enables organizations to implement security best practices, such as role-based access control and network segmentation, at the infrastructure level.

Easy Scalability

It helps to increase the scalability of software systems by providing the necessary tools and processes to scale resources up or down as needed quickly. This allows organizations to handle increased traffic and user demand without compromising performance or availability.

Consistent Deployment

It also provides a consistent and repeatable way of deploying and managing software systems. This helps organizations reduce the risk of human errors in the process and makes it more predictable and manageable.

Reduce Operational Costs

It also enables organizations to standardize how they manage and operate their software systems, which can help reduce overall operational costs. 

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How is it different from DevOps and SRE?

Let's delve into SRE (Site Reliability Engineering), a practice pioneered by Google that shares many similarities with DevOps. SRE primarily focuses on maintaining software infrastructure to ensure it operates smoothly, reliably, and robustly.

In contrast, DevOps encompasses a broader scope, involving the creation and management of diverse infrastructures across data centers, containers, and cloud environments. DevOps teams handle tasks like capacity planning, scalability, performance optimization, and delivering valuable, reliable software to customers.

Platform Engineering, another key discipline, aims to optimize performance specifically for software development teams. Its objective is to enhance the software development process's efficiency and automate tasks for effective software delivery.

While these practices share commonalities, each has its distinct focus and objectives within the software development and infrastructure management landscape.

What are the best Platform Engineering Tools?

The best tools are listed below:

  1. Kubernetes
  2. Crossplane
  3. Gitlab CI
  4.  Backstage
  5. Qovery
  6. ArgoCD
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The future belongs to Platform Engineering, offering organizations a competitive advantage. Its current implementation already enhances operational efficiency. Enabling DevOps teams with standardized systems and architectures facilitates evolution and growth. As organizations scale, multiple DevOps teams will emerge, necessitating tailored self-service solutions for optimal execution.