The booming DevOps development area now offers platform engineering, a unique and important trend, that has become a sought-after component in creating scalable, reliable, and effective software systems. In this article, we cover the basics of platform engineering, what role it plays in the software development process, and the benefits it brings.
What’s platform engineering?
Platform engineering is an approach to improve developer effectiveness by simplifying and streamlining the delivery of modern software. This technique is a solution to the major scaling issues in DevOps, e.g., aligning development methods with business goals or managing complex infrastructure and tools throughout the application lifecycle.
The main task of platform engineering experts is to automate infrastructure management. What’s also important is that they implement features to enable access to effective tools and workflows from a centralized technology platform.
Why platform engineering matters
Platform engineering makes operations simpler and streamlines the development process. This technique provides robust tools to minimize the challenges and inefficiencies that come with developing large-scale, cloud-based applications.
Platform development teams work in four fundamentally important areas:
- Creating internal platforms for developers
- Standardizing and making key delivery processes secure
- Making and keeping internal service level agreements up-to-date
- Monitoring team performance
All these features make a significant contribution to the development process. Let’s take a closer look at them and consider why they make a difference.
Internal developer platforms (IDP)
Platform engineering primarily aims to create and maintain an internal developer platform (IDP). This system includes tools, services, and automated workflows for faster development and effective delivery of digital products. IDPs offer developers self-service access to the resources for building, testing, deploying, and monitoring applications.
With IDPs, developers avoid relying on operations teams to provide infrastructure or ticket resolution by letting them spin up cloud environments, run CI/CD pipelines for automation tests and deployments, implement rollbacks, access logs, and generate artifacts. This way, they reduce delays and make the development process faster and more flexible.
Standardizing processes and reducing the load
Platform engineering teams build end-to-end systems for managing, standardizing, and scaling DevOps processes and workflows. By researching and maintaining the resource catalog, platform development teams create trails to streamline and accelerate development, letting developers enjoy the freedom to use their preferred tools as needed.
However, excessive automation can lead to unnecessary tools, fragmented knowledge, increased costs, and burnout. Creating trails gives you a proven and effective path to delivery. It makes operational tasks less complex for development teams, allowing companies to enforce greater security, compliance, and budget control.
Configuring internal service level agreements (SLAs)
Platform engineering teams see internal developer platforms (IDPs) as their product and developers as their clients. For that reason, they regularly improve IDP processes, setting high standards for reliability and performance. In doing so, they take responsibility through SLAs.
Making the internal platform stable and secure is an all-important task of platform engineers. If any error or malfunction of internal systems occurs, employees can no longer stick to the paved development road. Consequently, platform teams regularly monitor the status and performance of IDPs, ensuring that developers stay productive and the company’s clients stay happy.
Monitoring performance metrics
Platform development teams monitor critical system-wide performance metrics such as throughput, workflow duration, and recovery time after breakdowns to fix bottlenecks and tune the platform to meet developer requirements. For instance, the recovery time may exceed the standard limit. In this case, platform engineering enables you to add more automation tests to the pipeline or optimally adjust the monitoring and alerting features offered by IDPs.
By monitoring performance data, platform development teams can ensure that the internal platform effectively sticks to the company’s development patterns and business goals.
Does your company need platform engineering?
Considering the specifics and functions of data platform engineering teams, they are useful for companies with several teams working on complex applications.
Your project is ready for platform engineering if it’s mature and offers a clear vision of the future and further scaling. Generally, such projects integrate cloud computing and use many infrastructure operations. Platform engineering will help your organization set up an effective workflow, distributing the roles and responsibilities of all team members.
Small-sized companies with only a few developers building a monolithic application won’t benefit much from platform engineering teams. Instead, they would be better off directing resources toward developing products that match the market and automating routine tasks. This way, developers will focus on innovation.
When companies can break down their application into separate services and outsource them to multiple engineering teams, platform development teams can help you keep scaling and debugging your project.
Platform engineering teams will help companies unlock and widen the benefits of DevOps by complementing developer flexibility with reliability, transparency, and confidence. SHALB’s platform engineering service can help you boost your company’s productivity through platform development. We also develop solutions in the key DevOps areas: multi-cloud cluster management, CI/CD pipelines, cloud migration, and Cloud Native stack.