Overview of Platform Engineering
Platform engineering is a new technology approach that can speed up application delivery and the rate at which business value is created. It improves the developer experience and productivity by providing self-service with automated infrastructure operations.
It involves creating the underlying infrastructure and architecture for a platform and defining the interfaces and APIs that allow other developers to build applications or services on top of the platform.
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This can include designing and implementing security, scalability, reliability, and other key features that are essential for a successful platform. It also involves maintaining and updating the platform over time, including fixing bugs, adding new features, and integrating with other systems or technologies. This can require close collaboration with other teams and stakeholders, such as product managers, designers, and users.
It is a new discipline that has emerged in response to the increasing complexity of modern cloud-based architectures. It outlines the process of creating and upholding an integrated product known as an "Internal Developer Platform," which serves as a supportive and adaptable layer of abstraction between developers and the supporting technologies of their applications.
The team wastes 25% of their operating apps as that complexity increases.
The average architecture of a modern cloud-native application consists of 25 times more components than its equivalent 10 years ago. To meet the scale, the toolchain requires five times more specialized tools.
Why is Platform Engineering important?
The importance of Platform Engineering is described below:
- They want self-service capabilities with a lower cognitive load.
- They do not want to be abstracted from context without disrupting workflow.
They collaborate to identify effective solutions across the whole enterprise and link toolchains and processes into logical, golden routes. An Internal developer platform, or integrated product, that addresses the technical requirements for the whole lifespan of the program.
- They standardize to simplify maintenance.
- They reduce ticket ops tasks.
The three main pillars of it:
- Improve developer experience by creating an Internal development platform to reduce developer work and repetitive manual labor.
- Platforms do not adopt a specific set of tools or approaches. It's about making it easier for developers to create and distribute software without neglecting the useful and distinct capabilities of the underlying core services.
- Platform engineering teams treat the platform as a product (used by developers) and design the platform for self-service use.
A self-service layer that encompasses technologies and tools that allow developers to engage with their organization's delivery configuration independently. Click to explore about our, Internal Developer Platform
Top ten Fallacies in Platform Engineering?
- The "one size fits all" fallacy: Assuming that a single platform or technology will meet an organization's or project's needs.
- The "Build it and they'll come" fallacy:- Believing that simply building a platform will automatically attract users or customers.
- The "everything as a service" fallacy: Thinking that every aspect of a platform should be delivered as a service rather than considering the trade-offs and costs of this approach.
- The "vendor lock-in" fallacy: Believing that using a single vendor's technology will always be the best choice without considering the costs and risks of vendor lock-in.
- The "underestimating maintenance" fallacy: Failing to budget and plan for the ongoing maintenance and support required for a platform.
- The "optimize for the average" fallacy: Designing a platform to meet the average user's needs without considering the needs of outliers or edge cases.
- The "we can do it ourselves" fallacy: Believing that an organization has the in-house expertise and resources to build and maintain a complex platform without considering the costs and risks of this approach.
- The "not invented here" fallacy: Rejecting the use of existing platforms or technologies simply because they were not developed in-house.
- The "Perfect is the enemy of Good" fallacy - Is when a platform is not launched because it is not perfect, rather than recognizing the value of continuous improvement and iteration.
- The "security through obscurity" fallacy: Believing that security can be achieved simply by keeping a platform's design or implementation secret rather than through robust security practices and controls.
What is an Internal Developer Platform?
The IDP is the sum total of all the technologies and tools the Platform engineering team combines to open up the golden path for developers. Internal Developer Platform reduces the cognitive load in the technical organization and allows developers to self-serve without abstracting the developer's context or making the underlying technology inaccessible. A well-designed IDP follows a platform-as-product approach, where the team builds, maintains, and continuously improves the IDP, following product management principles and best practices.
An IDP outlines the following principles:
- Orchestration of infrastructure
- Configuring an application
- Management of deployment
- Environmental Management
- It increases developer productivity and speed.
How can Internal Developer Platform help?
- Standardization by design
Dynamic Configuration Management not only differentiates the environment-agnostic from the environment-specific configuration elements but also shares the workload and infrastructure profiles across multiple workloads/apps or teams. This significantly limits the difference between configurations. Individual contributors focus on the exact abstract workload specification (only one specification per workload) that is the same across all environments. Platform teams can manage workload profiles, infrastructure profiles, and resource pairing. This way of working leads to standardization from the design stage of all configuration components. Even security reviews are faster because it only needs to do it once to get fresh content from a pre-tested template.
- Reduce maintenance costs
Additionally, introducing a standardized configuration generation method eliminates the randomness of manual "change by change" configurations. This significantly reduces the cost of maintaining and documenting existing setups.
- Reduce change failure rate by eliminating configuration drift
The abstract workload specification remains exactly the same across all environments. This makes it difficult to get the workload running in production to connect to the test database (though arguably impossible).
- Without abstracting
Instead of processing and analyzing every file that makes up the application, developers can choose to stay "high" on the abstract specification of the workload. Also, they can drill down to the Workload Profile and Infrastructure Profile levels at any time. This allows them to move quickly without losing context.
- Reduce cognitive load for developers
The approach allows developers to manage all the depths of configurations, from images to assets, resulting in much slower virtual delivery and operations. The recent DevOps benchmark report paints a good picture. Dynamic configuration management gives developers complete flexibility with minimal overhead. Even configuration breaks between on-premises and cloud can be eliminated by automatically resolving the workload configuration.
Platform engineering and Internal Developer Platforms are revolutionizing the way engineering organizations of all sizes design their release setups and development processes.