A platform team is responsible for creating and maintaining the underlying platform that supports the development, deployment and operations of software applications. The platform team provides critical infrastructure, tools and resources that enable software developers to build and deploy software more efficiently and effectively.
The platform team typically includes software engineers, systems administrators, network engineers, database administrators, security experts and other specialists who work together to ensure the platform is secure, scalable and reliable. The platform team is responsible for the technical aspects of the platform, including architecture design, system configuration, coding, testing, deployment and ongoing maintenance.
Origins of Platform Engineering
Platform engineering can be traced back to the rise of cloud computing and the need for scalable and reliable infrastructure to support software applications.
As organizations began to move their applications and data to the cloud, they saw the need for standardized and scalable infrastructure that could support the rapid development and deployment of software applications. This led to the development of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, which provided developers with a pre-built platform for building and deploying applications.
As PaaS offerings became more popular, organizations recognized the value of a dedicated internal developer platform and teams with a product mindset dedicated to building and managing it. This led to the emergence of platform teams and the concept of platform engineering.
Platform engineering is focused on the development and maintenance of the underlying platform and infrastructure that supports software applications, and involves designing and building the tools, frameworks and systems that developers can use to build and deploy their applications.
Platform Team Goals and Benefits
The goals and benefits of platform teams and platform engineering include:
By standardizing and streamlining software development, deployment and maintenance processes, platform teams can help developers to deliver and improve applications more efficiently, reducing errors, improving consistency and increasing speed.
Improved Scalability and Reliability
By designing and building a scalable and reliable platform, platform teams can reduce downtime and improve the end-user experience.
A well-engineered platform can help prevent data breaches, unauthorized access, or other security issues that can compromise sensitive information or harm the business.
Technical Support and Expertise
By providing technical support and expertise to development teams, platform teams can help to solve complex technical challenges and ensure that applications are built to industry standards.
Improved Collaboration and Communication
By improving collaboration and communication between development teams and IT operations teams, platform teams can help to break down the barriers between these traditionally separate teams and create a culture of continuous integration and delivery.
Ongoing Evolution and Improvement
By managing the ongoing evolution and improvement of the platform, platform teams can ensure that it remains up-to-date and able to support the changing needs of the organization, providing ongoing value to the organization and its customers.
Platform teams with a product mindset approach their work as if they are building a product that meets the needs of application teams, treating them as their internal customers. Instead of only focusing on technical requirements, a product-focused platform team considers the user experience and business value that the platform provides.
This approach involves working closely with application teams to understand their requirements and priorities, and using that information to inform the development of the platform. A product-focused platform team takes a product management approach to designing, prioritizing and building the features and capabilities that are most important to application teams and the broader organization. This also involves an ongoing focus on continuous improvement and evolution of the platform based on feedback and changing requirements to better meet the needs of its users.
A product-focused platform team also takes responsibility for the success of the platform, including its adoption and usage by development teams. They work to ensure that the platform is easy to use and integrate with, and that it provides clear benefits to application developers and the organization as a whole.
Frictionless Self Service
The product mindset of a platform team can help deliver frictionless self service to application development teams by focusing on the needs and priorities of those teams and delivering a platform that is easy to use, integrate and operate. This approach involves a few key elements:
- Understanding the needs of application development teams. A product-focused platform team will work closely with application development teams to understand their needs, priorities and pain points. This understanding allows the platform team to prioritize the features and capabilities that are most important to application development teams and deliver a platform that meets their needs.
- Delivering a user-friendly platform. A product-focused platform team will design and build a platform that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. This can involve creating clear documentation, providing intuitive interfaces and offering self-service capabilities that enable app teams to easily provision and manage the resources they need.
- Providing ongoing support and feedback. A product-focused platform team will provide ongoing support and feedback to application development teams, helping them to troubleshoot issues, optimize their usage of the platform and improve their overall experience.
By taking this approach, a product-focused platform team can deliver frictionless self-service to app teams, making it easy for them to provision, deploy and manage the resources they need to build and operate their applications. This can help to improve the efficiency and quality of software development, reduce the workload on operations teams, and ultimately deliver better software products to customers.
What’s the Difference Between Platform Engineering and DevOps?
Platform engineering refers to the process of designing, building and maintaining the infrastructure and underlying platform that supports the development and deployment of software applications. Platform engineers are responsible for creating the foundational tools, frameworks and systems that software developers and other stakeholders can use to build and deliver software products. They focus on issues such as scalability, reliability, security and performance, and work to create a stable and efficient platform that can support the needs of the organization.
DevOps, on the other hand, is a broader set of practices and principles that aim to improve collaboration and communication between software development teams and IT operations teams. DevOps is focused on breaking down the barriers between these traditionally separate teams and creating a culture of continuous integration and delivery. DevOps teams use tools and processes such as version control, automated testing and continuous deployment to streamline the software development and deployment process and improve the speed and quality of software releases.
What Role Does Service Mesh Play in the Platform?
A service mesh provides several features and capability that are particularly important for internal developer platforms, including:
Service mesh can manage traffic between microservices, providing load balancing, routing and service discovery capabilities. This can help developers to easily connect their microservices and create complex applications.
Service mesh can provide secure communication between microservices, using features such as mutual TLS and access control policies. This can help to ensure that sensitive data is protected and that communication between microservices is authenticated, authorized and encrypted.
Service mesh can provide insights and visibility into the communication between microservices, allowing developers to monitor and troubleshoot issues in real-time. This can help to reduce the time and effort required to diagnose and fix problems, and ensure that applications are functioning correctly.
Service mesh provides features such as circuit breaking and retry logic, improving the resilience of the platform and reducing the impact of failures. This can help to ensure that applications are available and functioning correctly, even in the face of failures or errors.
Enterprise Service Mesh
Platform teams for large organizations with fleets of applications across multiple clusters, clouds and data centers often need to “connect the dots” across service mesh deployments to provide a unified and consistent operational model for their customers. For platform teams in these larger organizations, Tetrate offers enterprise service mesh solutions to do just that.
Tetrate’s enterprise-grade service mesh platform, Tetrate Service Bridge, unifies and simplifies the connectivity, security, observability and reliability for your entire application fleet—across Kubernetes clusters, virtual machines, bare metal servers and across clouds and on-premises deployments
TSB is also a “bridge” between your organization—its people, teams and applications—and your compute infrastructure, making it easy to assign consistent policies and access rights so your teams can safely control application resources.