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How is Platform Engineering Different from DevOps and SRE?

Navdeep Singh Gill | 17 Feb 2023

Introduction of Platform Engineering

An essential part of the platform engineering journey is helping developers understand the infrastructure and roles of SRE and DevOps without necessarily requiring them to do the work alone.
Platform engineering is the next stage of development. Like DevOps, it allows developers to self-service, and SRE reduces errors and increases reliability.
The SRE team works to provide the infrastructure for reliable applications, while the Platform Engineering team's works to provide the infrastructure for rapid application development. Both teams unlock the productivity of application development teams.

Platform engineers keep track of the whole lifespan of a software development process, from conception to production. Platform engineers provide procedures to assist software developers in swiftly coding and deploying applications as part of this process.

What is Platform Engineering?

Platform engineering is a modern technique that has the potential to revolutionize utility delivery and accelerate the creation of business value. It is the principle of designing and building toolchains and workflows that enables software engineering organizations to be self-serviceable in the cloud-based era. Platform engineers provide an integrated product commonly referred to as an "in-house development platform" that covers operational needs across the entire lifecycle of an application.
Platform engineering improves developer productivity by presenting self-providers with computerized infrastructure operations. Platform engineering is gaining popularity because it optimizes the developer experience and accelerates the product teams for customer value creation.

Platform engineers can use various techniques and tools, including infrastructure as code, to make software development chores easier. This empowers engineers to expedite the deployment of their code into production, surpassing previous levels of efficiency.
From source code to production, platform engineering continuously tests software during the software development lifecycle.. This enables application developers to efficiently write and deliver software. A fundamental workflow generally involves a source control system seamlessly integrated with a continuous integration system, along with a mechanism to incorporate external components into the production process.

Modernizing enterprise software delivery is a growing trend, particularly in the context of digital transformation. To meet the needs of software developers, dedicated product teams are now creating and managing technical platforms that offer a wide range of tools and capabilities. These platforms enable developers to reuse resources and effectively communicate with complex infrastructure, ultimately streamlining the software development process.

Platform Engineering vs. DevOps

  • Platform engineering is the next stage of DevOps development. It includes the best intentions of the cultural changes that preceded it.

  • Platform engineering is a DevOps methodology wherein organizations create a collaborative platform that enhances the developer's experience and boosts productivity throughout the entire organization by offering self-service operations.

  • DevOps leverages various tools to optimize the deployment, management, and monitoring processes through automation and visualization. On the other hand, platform engineering takes these tools, processes, and best practices and transforms them into reusable tools and services. These resources are made available to different engineering teams and can be applied to various use cases within the organization.

Platform Engineering vs. SRE

  • Platform engineering speeds up the software delivery process. Platform engineers ensure that application development teams work efficiently in every aspect of the software delivery lifecycle, whereas Site reliability engineering applies software engineering principles to improve reliability. Site reliability minimizes the frequency and impact of outages that can impact the overall reliability of cloud applications.

  • Site reliability engineering is like a fusion of software and operations engineering. This leads to applying software engineering principles to the construction and maintenance of system infrastructure. Platform engineering enables developers to ship code faster by using growing and preserving automation systems that may always be leveraged throughout the organization.SRE is a foundation or "lower level" process, while Platform Engineering is a higher level process that provides some service to the development team.

  • Site Reliability Engineering and Platform Engineering are crucial for developing cloud-native applications.

Platform Engineering vs. DevOps vs. SRE

  • The primary goal of SRE engineers is maximum application reliability. A Platform Engineer's primary goal is to optimize the speed and efficiency of software delivery operations. The main goal of DevOps engineers is to optimize the development process.

  • The scope of platform engineering related to software distribution activities. SRE's reach ensures application reliability, incident response, and infrastructure management. DevOps' goal is to reduce the time between releases and improve release quality.

  • SRE uses chaos engineering, SLO management, automated incident response, and more. Platform engineers use tools such as source code managers and CI/CD servers to automate software distribution. DevOps uses tools to build, monitor, test, automate, and containerize applications.

Platform Engineering vs DevOps vs SRE

SRE vs DevOps | What's the Difference

Why is Platform Engineering essential?

Platform engineering provides continuous visibility into services and their owners. This powerful visualization allows SREs, operations, and product teams to view the digital footprint of each service. Connecting affected teams and individuals faster reduces incident resolution time and, with the right integrations, gives engineering teams end-to-end solution ownership.
For self-service and automation, end users want platform engineering tools that give them freedom and independence to run as fast as possible and deliver value to their end users. Flexible and scalable platforms are designed to ensure order and improve productivity and efficiency.
There is always a conflict between a developer's desire for autonomy and agility and the need for governance and control of the business. It can help to implement this approach by codifying the security, cost, and compliance policies needed to manage cloud infrastructure.

Platform Engineering Tools

  1. Kubernetes for container orchestration.

  2. Crossplane to manage Cross Kubernetes infrastructure Qovery for preview environment Gitlab CI for CI Humanitec for the internal development platform.

  3. ArgoCD for CDs 

  4. Docker to host application

  5. Terraform to automate infrastructure provisioning

Future Trends of Platform Engineering

Platform Engineering is used in several organizations to take on these responsibilities. The rise of microservices, container orchestration, and the like have introduced novel engineering challenges. Platform engineering teams have formed at several organizations to shoulder these responsibilities.
Automated infrastructure operations, reusable tools, and self-service features enhance developer productivity and experience. This technology approach uses configurable and reusable application components and services. The benefit to users is standardized, automated tools, components, and processes.

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Platform engineering teams employ software engineering concepts to accelerate the software delivery process. Click here to Talk to our Platform Engineering Consultant.

Summary of Platform Engineering

Platform Engineering can improve developer productivity and efficiency through tools, automation, and infrastructure as code, ensure consistency and trust around complex areas of functionality, such as security and reliable auto-scaling, and help organizations grow their teams sustainably to meet growing business needs.

Platform engineering can meet many different needs. The fundamental elements of the platform usually encompass runtime environments, Kubernetes infrastructure, software release workflows, and additional components. In addition, these platforms offer various features, such as secret management, certificate management, and automated disaster recovery.

Organizations are adopting Platform Engineer because it helps development teams deliver software releases much faster. Platform engineers improve and automate the entire workflow from coding to final delivery.