Platform engineering is an emerging technology approach that can encourage the delivery of applications and the pace at which they produce business value. Platform engineering improves the developer experience and productivity by providing self-service capabilities with automated infrastructure operations. Platform engineering is trending because it promises to optimize the developer experience and accelerate the product team’s delivery of customer value. Besides, Platform engineering is a discipline that focuses on designing, building, and maintaining robust and scalable software platforms. These platforms are a foundation for developing and deploying various applications and services. Platform engineers are responsible for creating an environment where developers can efficiently build, test, and deploy their software solutions. This article will explore the critical aspects of platform engineering and its significance in the modern software development landscape.
What is Platform Engineering:
Platform engineering is a process that organizations can use to influence their cloud platform as efficiently as possible so that engineers can deliver value to production reliably and quickly.
In other words, the platform engineering team serves the organization by designing, planning, and managing its cloud platform. Software engineers and other IT professionals can then leverage such platforms, enabling them to operate and deploy software in production safely, efficiently, and reliably.
The value of platform engineering:
Platform engineering benefits software organizations by reducing operational complexity and eradicating friction from the development process. It gives a stable alternative to the chaos and inefficiency you built; your run-it mindset can bring to teams building large-distributed applications in the cloud.
The work of the platform engineering team shows up in four key areas.
1. Building Internal Developer Platforms :
One of the essential roles of the platform engineering team is to build and maintain an Internal DeveloperPlatform, a central collection of tools, services, and automated workflows that support rapid development and delivery of software products across the organization. IDPs allow developers to self-serve the resources they need to rapidly build, test, deploy, and monitor applications with minimal friction.
2. Paved roads to standardize processes and reduce cognitive load:
Platform engineering gives organizations a unified system to manage, standardize and scale typical DevOps processes and workflows. By vetting and creating a catalog of resources, platform teams create ‘paved roads’ that simplify and accelerate development while allowing developers to use their preferred tools when necessary.
3. Setting internal service level agreements (SLAs):
Platform engineers treat IDPs as their products and developers as their customers. To increase the adoption of the IDP, they set high expectations for the reliability and performance of the IDP and hold themselves accountable through service-level agreements. Hence, maintaining a stable and secure internal platform is critical for the platform engineer.
4. Monitoring key performance metrics:
The platform team tracks important engineering performance metrics like throughput, workflows, and incident recovery times to eradicate bottlenecks and tailor the platform to the needs of developers.
By tracking developer productivity and performance data, platform engineers can ensure that the internal platform correctly supports the organization’s development patterns and business goals.
Challenges in Platform Engineering:
Despite its benefits, platform engineering presents specific challenges:
Building and maintaining a platform requires dealing with a complex ecosystem of technologies and tools. Platform engineers must have a deep understanding of various components and their interactions.
2. Evolving Technology Landscape:
The technology landscape is constantly evolving, introducing new tools and frameworks. Platform engineers must stay updated with emerging trends and adapt their platforms accordingly.
3. Adoption and Migration:
Adopting a new platform or migrating existing applications to a forum can be complex. It requires careful planning and coordination and often involves refactoring or rewriting existing code. Platform engineers must ensure a smooth transition while minimizing disruptions to ongoing operations.
4. Customization and Flexibility:
Organizations may have unique requirements that necessitate customization of the platform. Balancing customization with maintaining a standardized and scalable platform can be a challenge. Platform engineers must find the right balance to meet specific needs without compromising the platform’s core capabilities.
Platforms must evolve and improve continuously to follow changing business needs and technological advancements. Platform engineers must actively seek feedback from developers and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and implement necessary changes.
Future of Platform Engineering:
Platform engineering will enable organizations to innovate and deliver software solutions efficiently as technology evolves. Some emerging trends in platform engineering include:
1. Cloud-Native Platforms:
With the widespread adoption of cloud computing, platforms are increasingly designed to leverage cloud-native technologies and services, enabling scalability, elasticity, and cost optimization.
2. DevOps Integration:
Platform engineering and DevOps practices are becoming more intertwined, emphasizing collaboration, automation, and continuous improvement throughout the software development lifecycle.
3. AI and Machine Learning Integration:
Platforms are incorporating AI and machine learning capabilities to automate processes, enhance performance monitoring, and improve predictive analytics for better resource management.
4. Low-Code/No-Code Platforms:
The rise of low-code/no-code platforms empowers citizen developers to create applications without extensive coding knowledge. Platform engineering will adapt to support and integrate these platforms into the overall technology ecosystem.
Platform engineering provides a foundation for building and deploying software applications efficiently. Platform engineers play a crucial role in designing, implementing, and evolving platforms that meet the changing needs of modern software development. With the proper practices and adaptability to emerging technologies, platform engineering will continue to drive innovation in the software industry.