What is Platform Engineering and What Does It Do?

Platform engineering is gaining traction as a way to enhance the developer experience and speed up the delivery of customer value. The self-service capacities and automating infrastructure operations; platform engineering enables faster development time and lets you focus on building an amazing product. Through platform engineering, developers work more efficiently, increasing productivity and leading faster deployment that tailors customers’ needs.

The role of platform engineering in modern software development is gaining popularity as organizations strive for scalability, efficiency, and agility in their product or software development process. Platform engineering helps deliver and maintain the infrastructure, tools, and frameworks enabling rapid development and deployment of high-quality software or applications.

In this article, we will dive into how platform engineering is crucial for your business and the various functions of platform engineering, such as tools, principles, and benefits. We have provided you with an understanding of what platform engineers do. Let’s start with the importance of platform engineering.

Importance of Platform Engineering

Traditional software development approaches often lack the scalability, reliability, and efficiency required for today’s business. The traditional approach struggles to handle workloads, rapidly changing requirements, and complex system architectures. Platform engineering enables businesses to bridge these gaps in the traditional development process.

Platform engineering offers a significant approach to developing and monitoring software platforms and applications. The approach emphasizes platform design, development, deployment, and ongoing maintenance. Through platform engineering, you can achieve scalability, reliability, efficiency, and easy software maintenance.

Platform engineering helps significantly improve software, streamlined development efforts, reduced errors, and enhanced productivity with platform engineering. You get introduced to standardized practices, tools, and frameworks that promote consistency, efficiency, and collaboration.

5 Tools and Components of Platform Engineering

Several tools and components are involved proactively in the platform engineering process. The tools enable efficient software design, development, deployment, and maintenance. The platform engineering components help maintain reliable, scalable, efficient, and easy-to-maintain software platforms. Below, we have listed some of the key components and tools of platform engineering that lead to efficiency;

1. Infrastructure-as-code Tools:

Infrastructure-as-code tools, such as Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, or Azure Resource Manager, enable platform engineers to define and provision infrastructure resources programmatically. The infrastructure-as-code tools allow for consistent and repeatable infrastructure deployments ensuring the predictable development of infrastructure.

2. Automated Deployment and Monitoring Tools:

Tools such as Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, or AWS CodePipeline help streamline the processes of deploying applications and managing their lifecycle. These tools help you automate the build, test, and deployment phases, ensuring that software updates and new features are delivered efficiently. Additionally, we have monitoring tools like Prometheus, Datadog, or AWS CloudWatch that provide insights into the platform’s performance, enabling proactive monitoring and issue solutions.

3. Service-Oriented Architecture:

The Service-oriented architectures structure software applications as a collection of loosely coupled services. Platform engineering often adopts SOA principles to build modular and scalable systems. The complex functionality is broken down into smaller, independent services to achieve flexibility, reusability, and easier platform maintenance. However, we can consider that service-oriented architecture is an important component of platform engineering.

4. Containerization and Orchestration:

Tools like Docker allow packaging applications and their dependencies into lightweight, isolated containers. The containers provide consistency across different environments and simplify application deployment. You can manage the deployment and containers with the help of container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes or Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services. You can achieve high availability, scalability, and resilience.

5. Microservice Architecture:

Platform engineering often leverages microservice architecture to develop scalable and modular platforms. It enables independent development, deployment, and scaling of different platform parts, allowing for rapid innovation and fault isolation. The pattern structures an application as a collection of small, loosely coupled services, each responsible for a specific business capacity.

7 Principles of Platform Engineering

The platform engineering approach incorporates various technologies and methodologies to create an all-encompassing development experience. Here are some of the principles of platform engineering that can help achieve efficiency:

principles of platform engineering

1. Automation

The principles of automation include leveraging tools, scripts, and processes to automate manual and repetitive tasks, such as infrastructure provisioning, deployment, testing, and evaluating. The automation principle improves efficiency, reduces human errors, and accelerates software delivery. Businesses can streamline their workflows and eliminate time-consuming manual interventions.

2. Standardization

Businesses can use consistency and uniformity across the platform, engineering processes, and infrastructure. Standardization incorporates defining and implementing best practices, coding standards, and architectural patterns that enable seamless collaboration and interoperability. Standardization helps reduce complexity, enhances maintainability, and enables the reuse of components and processes, increasing efficiency and quality.

3. Modularity

The principle of designing and building software platforms is a collection of loosely coupled and independent modules or components. Each module serves a specific purpose and can be developed, tested, and deployed separately. The principle of modularity enhances flexibility, reusability, and scalability, allowing for easier maintenance, upgrades, and adaption to changing requirements.

4. Scalability

It is the ability of a platform to handle the increased workloads, users, and large data volumes without sacrificing performance. Platform engineering helps develop a scalable architecture or infrastructure that can scale down or up efficiently. Businesses can ensure that the platform can grow and adapt to ever-changing demands, maintaining optimal performance and providing a more excellent user experience.

5. Security

Security is a crucial principle for platform engineering practices. Implementing robust security measures can protect the platform, application, and user data from breaches, unauthorized access, and other vulnerabilities. Businesses can establish authentication modules, access controls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems to maintain the assets’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

6. Collaboration

The platform engineering process emphasizes collaboration between platform engineers, developers, operation teams, and other stakeholders involved in the project. Improve productivity, foster innovation, and create a positive and inclusive work environment with collaboration amongst teams and operations.

7. Continuous Improvement

Regularly evaluating and enhancing the platform, processes, and practices to optimize performance, efficiency, and user experience is the key principle for platform engineering. Platform engineers and stakeholders can proactively seek feedback, monitor system performance, identify bottlenecks, and leverage emerging technologies and industry best practices to drive ongoing improvements.

What Does A Platform Engineer Do?

Platform engineers are critical in maintaining a seamless operation of internal development processes. From development to deployment, the platform engineer experts are responsible for ensuring that the platform tailors the needs with the help of close collaboration with stakeholders across industries and departments.

The primary responsibility of a platform engineer is to ensure that the software platforms align with business objectives and meets the requirements. To achieve these goals, engineers undertake responsibilities such as; designing and building scalable platforms, developing and maintaining deployment processes, and ensuring security and compliance.

Effective collaboration with cross-functional teams is important for platform engineers. You will work closely with developers to understand the requirements, provide technical guidance, and support the efforts for building applications. Collaboration with operational teams is important for the seamless deployment and scaling of the platform. Also, collaborate with security experts to implement robust security measures and ensure compliance with the application.

What are the skills required to platform engineer roles?

To excel in platform engineering, specific key skills and attributes are beneficial:

1. Strong Technical Expertise

A deep understanding of development practices, infrastructure design, and automatic deployment is essential. Proficiency in programming languages, cloud platforms, and relevant tools and frameworks is highly expectable.

2. Problem-Solving

Platform engineers must possess strong problem-solving skills to identify and resolve issues faster and more efficiently. The platform engineer must analyze system behavior, performance metrics, and logs to diagnose problems and implement effective solutions.

3. Attention to Security

The platform engineers must focus on security measures and consider compliance throughout the development and maintenance of the platform or application. A thorough understanding of security best practices, encryption techniques, and compliance requirements is essential.

4. Continuous learning and adaptability

Platform engineering is dynamic, and staying updated with emerging trends, technologies, and best practices is crucial. Platform engineers must be positive toward learning, adapting, and embracing new technologies.

5. Effective Communication

Effective collaboration with cross-functional teams requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Platform engineers must solve complex issues, actively listen to different perspectives, and foster positive work environments.

Examples of Organizations Successfully Implementing Platform Engineering

There are several organizations that have successfully implemented platform engineering principles and practices to develop reliable and scalable software platforms and applications. Here are a few examples:

Netflix

Netflix is popular for its highly scalable and robust streaming platform. They have implemented a strong platform engineering approach to handle large amounts of data, deliver customized content recommendations, and ensure seamless streaming across multiple devices. Platform engineering principles such as microservice architecture, containerization with tools like Docker, and orchestration using Kubernetes and continuous deployment and maintenance.

Amazon

The e-commerce giant has established itself as a leading cloud service provider with AWS (Amazon Web Service). It delivers a comprehensive suite of platform engineering tools and technologies enabling scalable developments, secure solutions, and high-performance applications. Amazon helps you integrate infrastructure-as-code, containerization, serverless computing, and continuous integration and deployment. Amazon’s platform engineering approach has powered the company’s success, offers an extensive range of services, and drives progress across industries.

Google

The global technological company, Google, has developed its platform engineering capabilities to support various products and services, including GCP (Google Cloud Platform). The platform provides a wide range of tools and services for developing, deploying, and managing applications in the cloud. Google allows the integration of containerization with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), serverless computing with Google Cloud Function, and data processing with Google Cloud DataFlow. Platform engineering practices have helped Google achieve scalability, reliability, and data-driven insights to deliver a greater user experience.

Microsoft

Microsoft has significantly grown in platform engineering practices with its Azure platform. The Azure platform offers services and tools that help create and deploy applications in the cloud. Microsoft believes in a hybrid approach, enabling seamless integration between application and cloud environments. Businesses can leverage containerization with Azure Kubernetes Services, serverless computing with Azure functions, and infrastructure-as-code with Azure Resource Management. Microsoft platform focuses on security, compliance, and efficient solution, making it a popular choice for businesses across industries.

Uber

Uber is a popular ride-sharing and food delivery platform that relies on platform engineering principles and practices to handle millions of transactions and deliver a high-quality user experience. Uber leverage microservice architecture, containerization, and data processing to support complex operations and solve different issues. The platform engineering practices have helped Uber provide quality services for both the driver and rider.

4 Key Benefits of Platform Engineering for Organizations

✔️ Improved Software Delivery

The platform engineering process implements automation, standardization, and modularity, which helps engineers help streamline workflows, reduce manual errors, and accelerate delivery. The acceleration results in faster time-to-market, allowing organizations to meet user demands and stay ahead of the competition.

✔️ Reduced Downtime and Outage

Following platform engineering practices help build robust and reliable software platforms and applications. Platform engineering employs scalable architectures, automated workloads, and monitoring which reduces downtime and outage. The automated monitoring enables proactive evaluation and troubleshooting before they impact the end-users, ensuring high-quality delivery and user experience.

✔️ Better Resource Utilization

Businesses can ensure efficient resource optimization through platform engineering. The containerization and orchestration help optimize resource allocation, enabling multiple platforms to run efficiently without conflicts. Such practices help in achieving efficiency and cost-effectiveness, reducing infrastructural overheads.

✔️Increased Agility and Innovation

Platform engineering enables agility and promotes organizational innovation. The technologies like microservice architecture, containerization, and serverless computing enable teams to develop and deploy applications efficiently and rapidly. The agility in the process fosters innovation by allowing to experiment, iterate and introduce new features or services quickly.

Mindbowser’s Platform Engineering Services

At Mindbowser, our experts create customized platforms to meet your needs and business objectives. We offer quality platform engineering services that help you achieve value for your technological investments. We collaborate with all the stakeholders involved and develop a robust, efficient platform.

Our approach helps organizations analyze legacy systems and frameworks, identify effective functional modules and map out the operational dependencies. Our user-centric approach helps organizations tailor the needs of the users. We aim to simplify the development processes for organizations by eliminating infrastructure complexities. We provide tools and processes for multiple teams ensuring efficient development, deployment, and monitoring.

Here are some benefits of partnering with Mindbowser for platform engineering services:

  1. End-to-end development and maintenance
  2. Expert proficiency in programming languages and tools
  3. Automation and Integration
  4. Migration and Management
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Platform Engineering is Critical For Scalability and Innovation

The platform engineering approach empowers organizations to achieve their goals and satisfy the needs of the users. Platform engineering enables faster delivery of high-quality software, encourages resource optimization, and provides a consistent user experience in the software or application.

However, platform engineering emphasizes compliance requirements with security measures and industry standards. You can ensure that the platform includes all the security practices, access controls, and encryption protocols to ensure data protection and establish user trust.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does platform engineering relate to DevOps?

Platform engineering and DevOps are closely related disciplines with similar goals and principles. Platform engineering focuses on creating the underlying infrastructure and tools, while DevOps is a cultural and operational philosophy emphasizing collaboration, automation, and continuous delivery. Platform engineering provides the foundation for implementing DevOps practices by enabling seamless integration, automation, and monitoring throughout the software development lifecycle.

How does platform engineering contribute to organizational success?

Platform engineering plays a crucial role in organizational success by providing a robust and scalable foundation for software development. It enables faster and more efficient application delivery, ensures system stability and reliability, improves developer productivity, promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing, and enables the organization to adapt to changing business needs. A well-designed platform engineering strategy can drive innovation, accelerate time-to-market, and enhance the organization’s overall competitiveness.

How is platform engineering different from software engineering?

While software engineering focuses on developing and maintaining software applications, platform engineering deals with building the underlying infrastructure and tools that facilitate software development and operation. Platform engineers create the foundation on which software engineers can build and deploy their applications. Platform engineering encompasses aspects such as infrastructure design, deployment automation, scalability, and operational efficiency.

How does platform engineering benefit software development teams?

Platform engineering provides software development teams with a reliable and efficient foundation for building and deploying applications. By abstracting away the complexities of infrastructure management and providing standardized tools and services, platform engineering enables developers to focus more on writing code and delivering value to users. It promotes consistency, collaboration, and faster development cycles, ultimately improving the productivity and scalability of software development efforts.

Is platform engineering limited to specific industries or domains?

No, platform engineering is applicable to various industries and domains. Whether it’s e-commerce, healthcare, finance, telecommunications, or any other sector that relies on software platforms, the principles and practices of platform engineering can be employed to create robust, scalable, and efficient systems. The specific requirements and technologies may vary based on the domain, but the underlying concepts of platform engineering remain relevant across industries.

Content Team

This blog is from Mindbowser‘s content team – a group of individuals coming together to create pieces that you may like. If you have feedback, please drop us a message on contact@mindbowser.com

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