Platform Engineering: Beyond traditional DevOps
Platform Engineering takes things a step further than traditional DevOps. It supercharges how we deliver applications and makes life better for developers. But to make it work, you need a dedicated Platform Team, like the one described in Team Topologies, and you should use InnerSource techniques. The result? Operational excellence and delighted developers. The journey of Platform Engineering is just beginning, offering organisations a clean slate to reshape their operations and speed up the journey from idea to customer.
In the jungle of software engineering, adaptability is synonymous with survival. We’ve witnessed the shift from traditional operations to the agile realm of DevOps, birthing the motto “You build it, you run it.” However, as the operational landscape became more and more complex, the cognitive load on software engineers soared, leading to the birth of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) to reduce that load.
Still, as the evolution continues, we’re looking for more simplicity and efficiency. Enter, Platform Engineering. A paradigm engineered to declutter the Ops in DevOps, supercharge application delivery and enhance the developer experience through self-service and automated infrastructure management.
Developer experience at the core of the shift
The driving force behind the idea of Platform Engineering (PE) is the promise of an enhanced developer experience. Just like any other shift in the world of software engineering, this is the secret sauce that determines whether Platform Engineering will be embraced and grow.
It’s feasibility and ease of adoption depends on a perfect cocktail of carefully chosen ingredients.
Companies like Netflix and Spotify have already recognised its potential, leveraging PE to foster a culture of innovation and speedy development. But make no mistake: getting a robust Platform Engineering framework up and running is no walk in the park.
Its feasibility and ease of adoption not only depend on an enhanced developer experience, but on a perfect cocktail of carefully chosen ingredients.
Platform Engineering and its buddies
Platform Engineering has no long lifespan as a lone wolf. On its own, the idea of Platform Engineering can exist, yes. But it only comes to its true potential if you make it a part of a dynamic trio along with Team Topologies and InnerSource. Don’t run away yet - we can explain.
In the world of Team Topologies, you’ll find ‘Stream Aligned Teams’ and the ‘Enabling Team’. Simply put: teams that focus on one product or service, backed up by an overarching team that creates an environment in which other teams can perform their work optimally.
For the concept of Platform Engineering to work, we need to have a dedicated Platform Team - a specialised group of professionals responsible for creating, maintaining, and evolving a set of shared tools, services, and infrastructure that support and enable other development and delivery teams within the organisation. The primary goal of a Platform Team is to provide a platform for other teams to build and deploy their applications more efficiently and effectively.
The primary goal of a Platform Team is to provide a platform for other teams to build and deploy their applications more efficiently and effectively.
We already mentioned the words “within the organisation.” And those are crucial. When applying the InnerSource principles, this Platform Team takes on the role of a guardian, directing the platform’s journey like an open-source project. Building the platform is not an isolated effort. It’s a collaborative thing. It’s alive. It involves the input of all teams to ensure the platform keeps up with changing operational needs and developer desires.
Excellence meets satisfaction
Platform Engineering’s arrival speaks volumes to the industry’s unwavering commitment to operational excellence and developer satisfaction. Its marriage with Team Topologies and InnerSource serves as a testament to collective innovation and operational ease. But remember, the path to a seamless developer experience is filled with lessons to be learned and pushes for a fierce culture of cooperation, feedback and ongoing improvement.
An unfinished story
The Platform Engineering story has just begun. Its potential is immense. But the journey towards optimisation is an ongoing, iterative and collaborative process. We do believe the blend of Platform Engineering, Team Topologies and InnerSource creates a canvas for organisations to redraw their operational contours, boost developer satisfaction, and fast-track the journey from concept to code to customer.