The Coming Significance of Platform Engineering in Web Development

A cobbler is the person who will repair a shoe, although it is increasingly rare that anyone gets a pair of shoes repaired these days. In fact most shoes aren’t even made with any real possibility of reattaching a sole or anything similar. In the 21st century you can even say it’s more likely that someone will be putting those same energies into some type of digitally-built tool or resource and one that people will likely get a lot of mileage out of as compared to an inexpensive pair of sneakers. ‘Cobbling’ in that sense is putting together a collection of disparate tools and then making them works as well as can be expected when working with web development.

That’s our roundabout way of introducing platform engineering, which if you haven’t heard of it is likely to be the next big thing in development and a means of bringing technologies together with more functional compatibility for builds that come together with a) much more speed, and b) a whole lot more in the way of getting to a ‘finished’ product sooner. What this stands to be replacing is the way the different home-grown self service frameworks have – for the most part – shown themselves to be brittle, high maintenance, and often way to expensive when the entirety of everything is taken into account.

We’ll get into the meat of what more may be possible with this here, but it goes without saying that here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any other quality Canadian web hosting provider in seeing how this may be a very relevant technological development for the people who do the work behind the scenes that make our digital world what it is and made available with all it’s capable of doing. Interesting stuff for sure.

Engineering Made Common

More succinctly, platform engineering is the practice of building and operating a common platform made available for internal development teams for sharing and using with relation to software release acceleration. The belief is that it will bridge the gap between software and hardware and platform engineers will enable application developers to release more innovative software in less time with much more in the way of efficiency.

Not only if this super relevant for platform engineering, but it is potentially big for the hybrid cloud too. The aim is to have self-service as both a hallmark in DevOps maturity and a key platform engineering attribute that is proven for supporting developer-driven provisioning of both applications and any underlying infrastructure required along with it. The value in that should be self-evident, as today application teams working in hybrid and multi-cloud environments require different workflows, tools, and skillsets across different clouds

This means complexity, and often too much of it for things to get done right. The need is for getting to a final product asap, and the challenge shines a spotlight on the growing demand for a unified approach to platform engineering and developer self-service.

Ideal for Scaling DevOps Initiatives

There are estimates that upwards of 85% of enterprises will come up short with their efforts to scale DevOps initiatives if no type of self-service platform approach is made available for them by the end of next year (2023). To counter that the recommendation is that infrastructure and operations leaders begin appointing platform owners and establishing platform engineering teams. But the important point is that they be building in self-service infrastructure capabilities that are in line with developer needs at the same time.

Similar estimates that by 2025 75% of organisations with platform teams will provide self-service developer portals as means of improving developer experience and giving product innovation a real boost given how much more quickly results are seen and developers are given a better understanding of where the current development path is likely to take them.

Compelling Benefits

Accelerated software development is the big carrot at the end of the stick leading the investment into platform engineering development. By pursuing it with such enthusiasm it ensures application development teams bring that productivity to all aspects of the software delivery cycle. Ongoing examination of the entire software development life cycle from source code to test and development and along into provisioning and production operations is the best way to facilitate the right backside of the development equation.

From there what it promotes is much better processes and platforms that enable application developers to rapidly provision and release software. Teams will probably be using infrastructure automation and configuration management tools like Ansible, Chef, or Puppet. These tools are conducive to continuous automation that extends processes used in software development to infrastructure engineering.  Look for code (IaC) tools such as Terraform to work well for codifying task required for new resource application and continue playing key role in raising the growth of platform engineering and platform engineering teams.

Most notable at this time is Morpheus Data. It is a platform engineered for platform engineers and is set up explicitly to allow self service provisioning of application services into any private or public cloud.  When combined with Dell VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure you will see digital transformations sped up impressively and you’ll also be improving on your cloud visibility at the same time.

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