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Unlocking the power of platform engineering: Why your team should embrace developer-first infrastructure


In the modern technical landscape, companies are always looking for ways to innovate faster and improve their development process. A rising trend that we’d put money behind is that of "developer-first infrastructure," which places the needs of developers at the forefront of IT concerns. In a developer-first organization, IT priorities – for workflow, services, platforms, and infrastructure – serve developer needs. Everything proceeds from the idea that developers should be unburdened from distractions, freed to be maximally productive, and enabled to innovate strategically.

A critical facet of developer-first infrastructure is what we’re calling “platform engineering,” an approach that can help teams unlock the power of reusable infrastructure and solve problems through platforms instead of services.

What is platform engineering?

Platform engineering is a term you’ve likely heard much about in the last few months. Some are even calling it “the new DevOps” because of the way it combines several different domains, including:

  • Base infrastructure automation (e.g., bare metal or cloud infrastructure management)

  • Core platform (e.g., Kubernetes)

  • Extended platform (e.g., Kubernetes with ingress, service mesh, etc.)

  • Platform operations services (e.g., cluster scaling, backups, disaster recovery, monitoring)

  • Platform application services (e.g., access control, security, application observability, resilience, autoscaling, etc.)

  • Developer workflow and artifacts curation for different software stacks and application design patterns

… along with developer self-service. The idea is to present developers with a reusable, modular, complete platform that multiple teams and projects can easily consume. Platform engineering takes yet another step towards centralizing cloud control planes – adding a new layer of abstraction focused on developer experience and enablement; minimizing complexity and distractions.

Platform engineering is considered “developer-first infrastructure” because it provides a pre-configured path to shipping and running applications quickly. Platform engineering helps free developers from the “you built it, you run it” mentality that has haunted the profession for so long –  which often distracts developers from coding because they are so deeply distracted with infrastructure. 

With platform engineering, companies can solve their problems easily and quickly, using tools and methods engineered by experts to solve specific issues in repeatable ways. Organizations that field their own platform engineering teams, and/or engage with third parties that provide ”platform-engineering-as-a-service” benefits by unburdening developers and focusing their attention on what matters for the business: building and improving applications.

Does that mean platform engineering is replacing DevOps?

Not quite. Nor should it. DevOps – and “shifting left” – put responsibility in the right place, and chart the way forward by emphasizing automation over what Google calls “toil.” But by defining the platform as “all the stuff that isn’t application features,” developer-first platform engineering standardizes affordances developers can then leverage to innovate strategically, while also delivering production code more efficiently. In effect, platform engineering enables productive DevOps, without burnout.

The best platform, in our opinion, is one that empowers developers and allows them to do more with their time. When developers can step into more responsibility and drive results for an organization, organizations will benefit from much-improved software and better teams. 

The Future of the Industry is developer-first platform engineering

The future of the industry is increasingly focused on platform engineering and developer-first infrastructure. Gartner's Hype Cycle predictions include platform engineering in its list of technologies that will have a significant impact in the near future. As more and more companies adopt DevOps, they realize that the key to success is not just in automating the pipeline, but in building the right platform to support it. The reality of DevOps is that it can be extremely burdensome for developers and operations, and platform engineering actually abstracts the entire DevOps process by allowing developers to just push code. 

Platform engineering also allows teams to innovate faster since they don't have to worry about the underlying infrastructure and operations. It also enables teams to collaborate and share more easily, which leads to better communication and more efficient use of resources. 

And with an impending recession and thousands of tech layoffs across the country, platform engineering can help teams do more with fewer people, improving the overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the development process.

Making developer-first platform engineering real

Getting to “just push your code” is a daunting proposition if you undertake the job without help. Given the right engineering skills, support, and remote management, however, turning your existing or preferred Kubernetes into a genuine, developer-first platform can be both a rapid and affordable proposition: done and dusted in roughly four weeks. It can deliver guaranteed results: such as faster developer onboarding, end to end security improvements, improved resilience of production applications, standardized observability, and 10x faster release cycles. Best of all, it can leave you with happy developers – free to focus on building applications vs. optimizing Kubernetes and maintaining development toolchains.

To learn more, reach out and talk to us about Mirantis Professional Services DevOps-as-a-Service – a unique system of solutions and managed services enabling:

  • Existing Kubernetes cluster optimization for security and performance

  • Provision of ‘missing pieces’ such as service mesh, backup, disaster recovery, and observability

  • Integration of end-to-end solutions for CI/CD and GitOps with security built in

  • Developer training

  • Ongoing proactive remote management, maintenance, and support

We know that your developers can’t produce when they have their hands tied with deploying, managing, and securing clusters: That’s why we take that hassle off of your engineers and pass it over to OUR platform team - and yours if you should choose to work with us

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