The rising enthusiasm for platform engineering has resulted in forecasts that by 2026, platform teams will be established in 80% of software engineering firms. This projection is fueled by the adoption of internal developer platforms (IDPs), which enhance the efficiency of developers and the smooth release of projects. As organizations continue to recognize the benefits of IDPs, such as reduced time-to-market and improved collaboration among development teams, the demand for skilled platform engineers is anticipated to grow accordingly.
Additionally, by streamlining development processes and fostering a culture of innovation, these platform teams encompassing cross-functional experts are likely to drive significant advancements in the field of software engineering. During PlatformCon 2023, a reference architecture designed for building IDPs was introduced, providing a helpful standard for organizations that are creating and normalizing their internal platforms.
Reference Architecture for Building IDPs
This reference architecture offers a set of guidelines and best practices, enabling organizations to streamline the development and deployment of their IDPs in a more efficient manner. By following this standardized approach, businesses can enhance interoperability and reduce integration issues, ultimately improving both the end-user experience and overall organizational efficiency.
Platform engineering tackles the issues faced by developers while handling the intricate software life cycle. By centralizing and standardizing technology, infrastructure, and security protocols, platform engineering can decrease the workload of developers, improve governance, and increase deployment flexibility.
As a result, developers can focus more on creating innovative applications and features rather than being bogged down by complex technical requirements. Furthermore, platform engineering streamlines collaboration between different teams, ensuring efficient communication and smoother project management throughout the software development process.
Reference Architecture for AWS Environments
At McKinsey, senior DevOps engineer Mike Gatto presented a reference architecture for internal platforms specifically tailored to AWS environments, which consisted of five subgroups:
The five subgroups within the reference architecture included Infrastructure as Code, Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment, Monitoring and Logging, Security and Compliance, and Scalability and High Availability. Gatto emphasized the importance of considering these subgroups as essential building blocks in achieving a streamlined and secure AWS environment, while also highlighting the associated benefits such as increased efficiency, cost savings, and improved agility.
Five Key Subgroups
1. The developer control plane, responsible for code version management and workload descriptions.
The control plane provides a centralized location for developers to track software changes, manage deployments, and monitor system health. By streamlining these processes, the developer control plane significantly enhances the efficiency of software development and maintenance in modern enterprise environments.
2. Integration and delivery, comprising CI and CD pipelines, infrastructure management, and resource allocation.
Integration and delivery are crucial components for streamlining software development processes, promoting efficient collaboration among teams, and ensuring consistency across various environments. By utilizing continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) pipelines, organizations can automate their software development tasks, enabling faster release cycles, improved systems stability, and an optimized resource allocation strategy.
3. Monitoring and logging, which includes tools for tracking, analytics, and performance supervision.
Monitoring and logging are essential components of any digital infrastructure, as they provide valuable insights into how well a system is functioning and help identify potential issues before they escalate. By leveraging these tools, businesses can not only maintain optimal performance of their systems but also proactively address any vulnerabilities, ensuring a seamless user experience and long-term stability.
4. The security plane, which involves managing secrets, policies, and security assessments.
Proper implementation of the security plane is crucial in safeguarding an organization’s sensitive data, intellectual property, and customer information. By consistently updating and enforcing security protocols, businesses can proactively address potential vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of unauthorized access or breaches.
5. The resource plane, encompassing cluster administration, database utilities, networking, and messaging infrastructure.
In the resource plane, efficient management and allocation of resources is crucial for the seamless functioning of an application or system. This plane ensures that various components of a cluster, such as data storage, computation, communication, and coordination, work in harmony to deliver optimal performance.
Streamlining Processes and Collaboration
Gatto emphasized that distinguishing concerns of developers and platform teams results in more compliant deployments that better align with client objectives. This collaborative approach allows for a more efficient workflow, as developers can focus on creating innovative features while the platform team ensures robust and reliable infrastructure. Consequently, this streamlined process leads to the delivery of high-quality software that caters to the evolving needs of clients and adheres to industry standards.
Optimizing Software Development through IDP-driven Workflows
This example IDP reference architecture presents a useful foundation for companies aiming to optimize their software development processes and boost flexibility through platform engineering and IDP-driven workflows. By implementing this architecture, businesses can expect accelerated delivery of high-quality applications tailored to their specific requirements. Moreover, utilizing IDP principles ensures continuous improvement and adaptability in an ever-changing technological landscape, ultimately enabling companies to maintain a competitive edge in their respective industries.
What is platform engineering?
Platform engineering is an approach to software development that focuses on centralizing and standardizing technology, infrastructure, and security protocols. This reduces the workload of developers, improves governance, and increases deployment flexibility, allowing developers to focus on creating innovative applications and features.
What are Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs)?
IDPs are tools and systems designed to streamline development processes and foster a culture of innovation, enhancing the efficiency of developers and facilitating the smooth release of projects. IDPs help reduce time-to-market and improve collaboration among development teams.
What is the Reference Architecture for Building IDPs?
The reference architecture for building IDPs is a set of guidelines and best practices that enable organizations to develop and deploy their internal platforms in a more efficient manner. By following this standardized approach, companies can enhance interoperability, reduce integration issues, and improve both end-user experiences and overall organizational efficiency.
What are the five key subgroups of the Reference Architecture for AWS Environments?
The five key subgroups are: 1) Infrastructure as Code, 2) Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment, 3) Monitoring and Logging, 4) Security and Compliance, and 5) Scalability and High Availability. These subgroups serve as essential building blocks for achieving a streamlined and secure AWS environment.
How does platform engineering optimize software development through IDP-driven workflows?
Platform engineering and IDP-driven workflows optimize software development by streamlining processes and fostering collaboration between different teams, allowing developers to focus on creating innovative features while platform teams ensure robust and reliable infrastructure. This results in faster delivery of high-quality software that aligns with client objectives and adheres to industry standards.