Platform engineering is the creation of platforms, such as an intelligence infrastructure or architecture platform, with the primary goal of supporting DevOps teams.
The key feature of these platforms is that they’re always built for self-service. For example, an online marketing tool that allows teams to do their own marketing without asking for permission.
Contrary to popular belief, platform engineering doesn’t intend to replace DevOps. In fact, it supports it,” says Marcel de Vries, CEO of Xpirit. “DevOps promises to speed up delivery and improve product quality, but it can only do that if teams are at their best. Getting DevOps right requires a lot from people, and platform engineering can be of great value.
The Emergence of Platform Engineering
To better understand the origins of platform engineering, we must first turn to the core of DevOps.
DevOps involves the creation of a multidisciplinary team that’s responsible for delivering and bringing software into production. However, to do so, the team is expected to have a ton of know-how, spanning many disciplines. For a lot of companies, this ‘knowledge component’ is making it hard to get DevOps right.
So, as more companies adopt DevOps, but not all teams are equipped to handle the high cognitive load that comes with DevOps, problems arise that platform engineering (or site reliability engineering, for that matter) aims to solve.
The idea is simple: you outsource what causes your people the most stress to the platform engineering team. They will then automate most of these tasks, thus relieving the DevOps team.
Somehow, people seem to think that DevOps, platform engineering, and SRE are an either-or question. There has even been talk of DevOps being dead. Actually, DevOps is as alive as ever, and specializations like SRE and platform engineering are only emerging to further enhance it,” says De Vries.
Can Platform Engineering Help Your Company?
According to Gartner, we can expect 80% of software companies to have established platform engineering teams by 2026. * That this figure is so high is not surprising, considering the pivotal role these teams play. Certainly, DevOps accelerates product development and improves quality. But this way of working comes with its own challenges, like the knowledge component we mentioned earlier.
Platform engineering teams can provide developers with tools or components to quickly deliver high-quality applications, even if they don’t possess all the necessary knowledge.