To meet the challenges of your business, are you searching for a solution that enables a more available, scalable infrastructure at controlled costs? Would you like to increase your capacity to innovate? Then you need to get into Platform Engineering!
In this article, discover what Platform Engineering is and how it differs from adjacent concepts – including DevOps and SRE – as well as its benefits for your organization.
Designated by Gartner as one of the key trends of 2023, Platform Engineering is a little-known discipline. Yet, it is a crucial solution as companies increasingly move to the cloud. Platform Engineering aims to improve software development and delivery by streamlining and optimizing the process of planning and implementing tool chains such as CI/CD pipelines, test environment deployment, and infrastructure-as-code (IaC) configuration to automate cloud resource provisioning.
What is Platform Engineering?
Platform Engineering is a discipline that focuses on the design, development, and management of various technical platforms. It delivers a set of services and tools that enable developers to build, deploy, and manage applications and services efficiently and cost-effectively. Its mission? To build a robust, flexible, and automated IT infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of a wide range of applications and services.
The Platform Engineers in charge of building these infrastructures have the objective of delivering a high level of availability, scalability, and resilience, in order to absorb the ever-increasing traffic and data flows. There is a fine line between the teams in charge of platform engineering and the development and operational (DevOps) teams. They often work closely together to provide tools and services designed to accelerate development cycles, improve application quality, and facilitate continuous deployment.
What do Platform Engineering teams do and how does Platform Engineering work?
Most commonly, Platform Engineering teams are responsible for the design, implementation, and management of the technical platforms that support an organization’s applications and services. To do this, they ensure in particular:
- Developing and maintaining the platform infrastructure by managing the installation, and configuration of servers, storage, networks, and other components.
- Automating the processes of deployment, configuration management, and system monitoring.
- Platform security, identity, and access management, as well as certificate management, security audits, etc.
- Technical support to the development and operations teams to solve platform-related issues.
- Optimizing platform performance by monitoring performance metrics, identifying bottlenecks, and making improvements.
- Platform capacity management by monitoring resource utilization trends and forecasting future needs.
What are the benefits of Platform Engineering?
Platform Engineering improves the productivity of the development teams by providing tools and services that accelerate development and deployment cycles. This optimized productivity also contributes to cost control through more efficient use of IT resources. If Platform Engineering improves the availability of the infrastructure, it also enables scalability and adaptability for the current (and future!) needs of the company.
Finally, Platform Engineering helps to strengthen the security of the IT infrastructure by providing tools for identity and access management, security monitoring, and security incident response.
What are the differences between Platform Engineering and DevOps?
Platform Engineering and DevOps are two different but complementary approaches. To fully understand the differences between the two disciplines, note that DevOps encourages close collaboration between development and operations teams (Dev and Ops) to accelerate development cycles, improve code quality, and reduce deployment times.
So while DevOps aims to create a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility between Dev and Ops teams, Platform Engineering focuses on the design, construction, and management of technical platforms. While the two approaches share common company objectives, they focus on different aspects of managing an organization’s IT infrastructure.
What are the differences between Platform Engineering and SRE
Platform Engineering and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) are two related fields. Both focus on the management of an organization’s IT infrastructure. SRE relies on engineering practices to maintain the availability, resiliency, scalability, and performance of services and applications. The mission of SRE teams is to ensure the availability of IT systems, monitor and measure the quality of service, resolve incidents, and provide long-term solutions for recurring problems. They, therefore, work hand in hand with the DevOps teams and the Platform Engineer.
The main difference between SRE and Platform Engineering is that SRE focuses on managing software products to ensure availability and quality of service, while Platform Engineering focuses on creating and managing a robust, flexible, and scalable IT infrastructure for applications and services.