Platform Engineering: A Comprehensive Overview of the Emerging Field

Platform Engineering: A Comprehensive Overview of the Emerging Field

Engineering and technology teams have come together over the past ten years to develop a shared set of best practices for developing and deploying cloud-native apps. The construction of observable systems, containerization, and continuous delivery are some of these best practices. 

The organisational structure of cloud-native companies has also seen a significant transition, shifting from having huge departments (development, operations, and release) to having smaller, independent development teams. Two additional roles—platform engineering and site reliability engineering—support these application development teams. SRE and platform engineering are the traditional operations teams' spiritual successors and apply the discipline of software development to various facets of operations.

What is Platform Engineering? 

Platform engineering is a technique that businesses may employ to make the most of their cloud platform so that engineers can bring value to production with speed and dependability.

In other words, the platform engineering group supports the company by organising, creating, and overseeing its cloud platforms. Software engineers and other IT experts inside the firm can then make use of such platforms to deploy and run software in production in a secure, effective, and dependable manner.

Software engineers in many businesses struggle to get their code into production because of several manual processes.

Establishing and managing CI/CD pipelines, from unit testing to production, as well as manually creating and setting repositories, managing infrastructure components, and even doing so. It goes without saying that such processes frequently have a high rate of error, which delays the process of production.

Many of these procedures frequently aren't properly—or perhaps at all—documented and instead exist only in the minds of important personnel. That not only contributes to a horrible bus factor, but it also creates terrible communication as the business grows.

Platform engineering lowers those expenses and gets rid of the barriers that hold back developers.

How is it used? 

One of the many elements that have contributed to the elevated perception of a platform engineer in the public consciousness is infrastructure as code. However, it supports several of these additional characteristics, thus a closer look is warranted. Infrastructure used to need to be manually configured before the era of infrastructure as code.

In hindsight, manually setting infrastructure is problematic since there is always a chance of human error. Humans are more costly and prone to error than computers. Also, people move at a rate that is actually billions of times slower. Infrastructure as code lowers costs, eliminates the possibility of human error, and accelerates iteration for teams within an organisation. In a methodical process, the less people involved, the better.

The ability to check infrastructure into version control is a noteworthy advantage of using infrastructure as code. This is especially advantageous for businesses that might be fast growing their cloud infrastructure. Platforms for version control, such as GitHub, provide context for a system's infrastructure by facilitating and recording changes and, perhaps even more crucially, the review process. This is best demonstrated by the way pull request reviews work on GitHub, which provides a forum for discussion. It's debatable whether this style of review is ideal for all pull requests. But there is a significant benefit to infrastructure as code.

Site Reliability Engineering & Platform Engineering

To hasten the delivery of software, platform engineering teams use software engineering principles. Platform engineers guarantee the productivity of application development teams throughout the entire software delivery lifecycle.

Teams of site reliability engineers use software engineering techniques to increase reliability. Engineers who specialise in site reliability reduce the frequency and severity of failures that could affect a cloud application's overall reliability.

These two teams are widely misunderstood, and the names are occasionally used synonymously. In fact, some businesses combine platform engineering and SRE under one umbrella role. This happens because both jobs employ the same set of guidelines:

1. Product as a platform

These teams should invest time in learning about their internal customers, developing roadmaps, scheduling releases, creating documentation, and carrying out all the other tasks necessary to create software products.

2. Platforms for self-service

These groups create their platforms with internal use in mind. Best practices are incorporated in these platforms so that consumers don't have to think about them and may simply press the button. Puppet Labs discovered that high functioning DevOps firms have more self-service infrastructure than poor DevOps evolution organisations in its 2020 State of DevOps report.

3. A persistent effort to get rid of work

Toil is described as manual, repetitive, automatable, and tactical work in the Google SRE book. The top SRE and platform teams spot labour and try to get rid of it.

Hence, these are some insights of platform engineering and site reliability engineering.


The idea that platform engineering only makes sense in large teams is a popular one. An Internal Developer Platform is generally something you should look into as soon as your business exceeds the 20–30 developer threshold, even though if your team just has 5 devs, a platform team and IDP are unquestionably overkill. I have heard countless tales of teams who delayed creating an IDP for far too long and had to endure needless hardships, such as your organization's entire workforce quitting and preventing all deployments for weeks. You might want to think about making an investment in IDPs and hiring platform engineers right now.

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