What is Platform Engineering?

If DevOps is an approach to software development that emphasizes collaboration between Development and Operations teams, then Platform Engineering operationalizes that approach by creating a centralized platform that has specific sets of tools and processes. It’s the discipline of designing and building toolchains and workflows that enable self-service capabilities for software engineering organizations in a cloud-native era. It focuses on the interconnectivity between components and how they affect the overall development process.

In my recent webinar “Platform Engineering: Just a fad -or- the remedy to modern development headaches?” I discuss the core tenets of platform engineering including where and how it makes sense to adopt this approach in your organization. Watch the webinar below.

But in case you missed it, here are some key takeaways, including how platform engineering can enhance your software development lifecycle (SDLC).

What are the key components of platform engineering?

The key components of Platform Engineering include designing a self-service workflow and creating a streamlined, automated platform that caters to software developers and development teams. This is the fundamental idea of using an Internal Development Platform to help with self-service. As a result, platform engineering can help alleviate the cognitive load faced by developers and enable organizations to operate more efficiently.

Platform engineering emphasizes designing the actual build environment and build system to be self-service, while focussing on delivering a platform for the software developers and the development teams. But for platform engineering to work, collaboration across teams is vital. You want to treat your internal customers like customers and constantly adjust the platform to meet the needs of the organization. By focusing on the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) and incorporating team feedback, platform engineering can lead to more effective and efficient software development processes. This process isn’t a one-time process but a constant evaluation and revaluation to make sure that it’s always evolving and meeting the team’s needs.

What are the best strategies for addressing distributed teams and hybrid environments in platform engineering?

Platform engineering can work with distributed teams by using replication and distribution techniques, which can help maintain consistency across organizations, regardless of their location. The key is to have a solid base foundation for platform engineering and to consolidate that information for easy access and collaboration between teams. By treating platform engineering as an evolving process, organizations can better adapt to the changing needs of their teams and maintain a more efficient and streamlined approach to software development.

What are the best practices for platform engineering adoption?

Here are a few best practices for adopting platform engineering at your organization:

  • Take into account the feedback of developers. Platform engineering and development should collaborate together, and platform engineers should seek input from developers to make sure the appropriate DevOps tools are acquired.
  • Don’t attempt to manage all aspects of the system; rather, find a balance and generate trust.
  • Foster a DevOps-friendly culture, one where work is enjoyable and communication is open.
  • View the platform as a product which must be marketed to developers, and dedicate resources to streamlining the experience associated with the platform.
  • Incorporate security tools into platform engineering, and organizations should evaluate their toolsets and make sure they’re adhering to security best practices. This includes assessing potential vulnerabilities, monitoring compliance, and automating security processes where possible.

By focusing on these best practices, platform engineering can create an environment where teams move quickly and effectively together, leading to a successful DevOps culture.

What are the platform engineering capabilities of JFrog?

JFrog Software Supply Chain Platform is excellent for platform engineering because it offers a comprehensive set of tools and features that are designed to help platform engineers build, manage, and deploy applications quickly and efficiently. The platform engineering capabilities of JFrog includes JFrog Artifactory, JFrog Xray, JFrog Distribution, JFrog Connect, and JFrog Pipelines:

  • Artifactory is a universal artifact manager that helps manage 85 to 90% of the software needed to complete a project. It also provides extra layers of security, accountability and auditability, as well as metadata to automate tasks.
  • Xray provides supply chain security with contextual analysis to determine which vulnerabilities are applicable and which are not.
  • Distribution helps take secure software components where needed for consumption whether internally or externally.
  • Connect, which is an IoT solution, allows users to deploy web services, updates to vehicles, and perform remote diagnostics.
  • Pipelines is a CI/CD orchestration tool that can be used on its own, or as an endpoint for other tools.
  • Finally, the JFrog Software Supply Chain platform is API-able, scalable, replication-friendly, and provides the ability to trace software throughout its lifecycle.

Overall, JFrog’s platform engineering capabilities bring an end-to-end SDLC solution to developers, providing the security, automation, and traceability needed to build and deploy software efficiently. It  also provides the ability to face issues quickly while being able to do so on a global scale.