Platform engineering is a growing field focused on building and maintaining the infrastructure that supports the development and deployment of software applications. What do developers need to know about platform engineering?
Platform engineering is an emerging technological discipline that focuses on the design, development, and maintenance of the underlying infrastructure that supports the development and deployment of software applications. It can accelerate the delivery and frequency at which business value can be produced by enabling teams to build and deploy applications more quickly and with low friction.
Platform engineering is a key aspect of software development in modern organizations and can be considered a product by itself. It needs to be constantly refined depending on user needs, with the overarching goal of enhancing developer productivity.
Platform engineering is important for several reasons. A well-designed platform provides a foundation for building and deploying software applications that are stable, scalable, and flexible. This can help improve the long-term viability and maintainability of applications.
It also enables teams to build and deploy applications more quickly. With a curated set of tools, capabilities, and processes, a platform can significantly speed up the development and deployment process. This can help organizations to be more agile and responsive to changing business needs.
Moreover, platform engineering enables organizations to take advantage of cloud computing and microservices architectures, which can help to improve scalability, reliability, and cost efficiency. It also helps to ensure that applications are secure and can include built-in security measures and processes to protect against threats such as data breaches or Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) attacks.
A platform engineering team is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the underlying technology infrastructure that supports the development and deployment of software applications, often through the use of cloud computing.
While the specific tasks and responsibilities of a platform engineering team may vary depending on the specific needs of the organization and the technologies being used, some common activities that a platform engineering team may be responsible for include:
Designing and implementing core platform components: This includes designing and building components such as databases, message queues, and APIs, as well as integrating them with other tools and systems.
Creating tools and frameworks to support the development, testing, and deployment of applications: This includes creating build systems, continuous integration and delivery pipelines, and testing frameworks to support the development process.
Ensuring that the platform is reliable, scalable, and secure: This includes monitoring the platform for performance issues, implementing security measures, and conducting capacity planning to ensure that the platform can handle the expected load.
Maintaining and updating the platform: This includes identifying and fixing technical issues as well as implementing new features and functionality to keep the platform up-to-date and aligned with the needs of the organization.
Overall, a platform engineering team plays a key role in designing and building the technical infrastructure that enables organizations to develop and deploy software applications efficiently and effectively.
Platform engineering and DevOps are closely related, and many platform engineers come from a DevOps background. They both have the goal of helping businesses and teams deliver software faster and more efficiently, and they both encourage collaboration between development and operations teams. In addition, they both work with automation, continuous delivery, testing, and integration.
However, there are some distinct differences between the two disciplines:
Platform engineering focuses on the design, development, and maintenance of the underlying tools and infrastructure that support engineers in developing and deploying applications. DevOps, on the other hand, is the team that performs the actual tasks to help engineers by using the tools and infrastructure borne out of platform design and engineering. While tools may be developed by a DevOps team, this is typically done on an ad hoc basis.
While platform engineering and DevOps are closely related and often overlap in their goals and practices, the main focus of platform engineering is on building and maintaining the technical infrastructure that supports the development and deployment of software applications. On the other hand, the main focus of DevOps is on improving the collaboration and communication between development and operations teams to enable faster and more reliable software delivery.
In practice, many organizations adopt both platform engineering and DevOps practices, as they can complement one another and work together to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the software development process.
There are many tools that are commonly used in platform engineering. Some examples include:
Cloud computing platforms: Cloud computing platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provide a range of tools and services for building and deploying applications at scale. These platforms offer a range of services, such as virtual machines, storage, databases, and networking, as well as tools for automation, monitoring, and security.
Containerization and orchestration tools: Tools such as Docker and Kubernetes enable organizations to package applications and their dependencies into containers, which can then be deployed and managed at scale using orchestration tools. This can help to improve the portability and scalability of applications.
Configuration management tools: Tools like Ansible, Puppet, and Chef enable organizations to automate the configuration and management of infrastructure and applications. These tools can help to ensure that environments are consistent and can be easily reproduced, which can be particularly useful when deploying applications to different environments such as production, staging, and development.
Monitoring and logging tools: Tools such as Prometheus, Datadog, and Splunk enable organizations to monitor the performance and health of their platforms and applications. These tools can help to identify issues and track trends, which can be useful for troubleshooting and performance tuning.
Collaboration and communication tools: Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and JIRA enable platform engineers and other team members to collaborate and communicate effectively. These tools can help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the platform engineering process.
Overall, the specific tools used in platform engineering will depend on the needs and requirements of the organization and the technologies being used. Many organizations use a combination of different tools to support the development, deployment, and maintenance of their platforms. Platform engineering is an emerging field, so expect more tools to enter the market.
Platform engineering is a field that involves the design, development, and maintenance of the infrastructure and tools that support the development, deployment, and operation of software applications. Platform engineers are responsible for building and maintaining the underlying systems and technologies that enable software development teams to create, deploy, and manage applications. Platform engineers work closely with software developers, DevOps teams, and other IT professionals to ensure that organizations can deliver value as efficiently as possible.
Sauce Labs is a cloud-based testing platform designed to help developers and QA teams automate their testing processes and ensure that their applications are working correctly across different environments. Sauce Labs can be beneficial for platform engineers in several ways, including test automation, compatibility testing, real-time monitoring and reporting, testing analytics, and integration with development and testing tools.