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Developer Platform Essentials for Streamlined DevOps

Explore the critical components of a high-performance developer platform that can help you simplify DevOps and accelerate delivery in the modern era. Learn about internal developer platforms, self-service capabilities, and the essentials of a developer platform.

Zan Faruqui
May 16, 2023

Most developers will agree that traditional DevOps workflows can feel clunky and disjointed, slowing down development velocity.

By leveraging a unified developer platform, tech teams can streamline workflows, enhance collaboration, and deploy code faster than ever before.

In this post, we'll explore the critical components of a high-performance developer platform that can help you simplify DevOps and accelerate delivery in the modern era.

Introduction to Streamlined DevOps via Developer Platforms

Developer platforms serve as a critical foundation for streamlining DevOps practices. By providing integrated tools and automation, developer platforms help unify development and operations workflows. This leads to increased efficiency, collaboration, and innovation for engineering teams.

Some of the key advantages of leveraging developer platforms for streamlined DevOps include:

In the sections below, we'll explore developer platform concepts more deeply, including examining the rise of self-service developer platforms.

The Concept and Impact of Internal Developer Platforms

Internal developer platforms play an integral role in modern software development. These platforms essentially serve as a custom software stack tailored to an organization's specific infrastructure, tooling, and processes.

Integrating directly with infrastructure like AWS and GCP, an internal developer platform unites all the critical ingredients for streamlined DevOps:

By centralizing these capabilities into a unified platform, development and operations become more connected. Teams can build and deploy faster without losing reliability.

Developers also gain more self-sufficiency by leveraging the platform's automation and infrastructure integrations. This leaves Ops teams able to focus less on routine tasks and more on value-added work.

Ultimately, internal developer platforms lead to streamlined DevOps by optimizing development velocity along with operational integrity. Organizations are able to innovate faster thanks to simplified infrastructure, deployments, and collaboration.

The Rise of Self-Service Developer Platforms

Modern developer platforms increasingly focus on self-service capabilities that directly empower developers. This means providing intuitive interfaces and automation tools allowing developers to easily provision the services they need without involving Ops teams.

For example, a self-service developer platform may enable developers to:

By shifting more control directly into developers' hands, teams reach new levels of agility. Developers don't need to wait for IT tickets and approvals; they can provision infrastructure themselves in minutes.

Likewise, self-service developer platforms reduce the support burden on operations teams. With built-in automation and guardrails managing governance and compliance, developers have the freedom to self-serve while preventing risk.

This balance of empowerment and governance is essential for scalable DevOps. Self-service developer platforms ultimately multiply an organization's velocity and output by removing friction from developers while maintaining operational integrity.

What is a developer platform?

An Internal Developer Platform provides a set of integrated tools, services and processes that empower development teams to build, deploy and operate applications efficiently. It aims to enhance developer experience by eliminating infrastructure complexities and automating manual workflows.

As opposed to disparate point solutions, a unified developer platform offers a centralized interface for developers to self-manage critical workflows like:

Ultimately, an internal developer platform minimizes operational overheads for developers by abstracting infrastructure complexities. Teams can then dedicate more time towards innovation and core product development.

By providing self-service capabilities and optimizing interdependent processes like builds, deployments and infrastructure management, a developer platform helps unify software delivery. This leads to quicker iteration cycles and continuous delivery pipelines.

For organizations aiming to empower developers, scale efficiently and accelerate time-to-market, an integrated developer experience platform is indispensable. The Coherence platform specifically tackles these challenges for companies leveraging AWS and GCP cloud.

What is a platform developer?

Platform development involves building the foundational software components that hardware and applications depend on to function properly. These central infrastructure elements, such as operating system kernels, firmware, and boot loaders, provide the underlying capabilities that enable developers to abstract away low-level complexities and focus on building innovative solutions on top of these robust platforms.

A platform developer contributes to this base layer of software frameworks, tools, services, and APIs needed for building complete software stacks. While application developers construct solutions focused on specific vertical domains and end-user experiences, platform engineers concentrate on creating modular, extensible, and scalable infrastructure that empowers those teams.

With the explosion of cloud-native architectures and containerized microservices, the platform layer has taken on increased strategic importance. Core platform services around security, data, compute, network, storage, and more require thoughtful architecture planning to balance scale, flexibility, governance, and developer productivity across ephemeral, distributed environments.

Platform developers bring together a depth of systems-level knowledge with a breadth of language and technology exposure. Architecting for resilience, availability, and simplicity demands both infrastructure ops capabilities as well as empathy for the application developer experience. This combination enables platform teams to build abstractions that hide complexity without limiting access and transparency.

What is an example of an internal developer platform?

Humanitec is a leading example of an internal developer platform that enables self-service infrastructure for developers.

Streamlining Workflows

Humanitec offers a unified dashboard for managing applications, environments, and configurations across development, testing, and production. This consolidates traditionally siloed workflows into an integrated platform that connects infrastructure automation, application deployment, and developer tooling. Developers can spin up on-demand environments, deploy updates, manage infrastructure configs, monitor builds, and more without leaving Humanitec.

Automating Infrastructure

At the core of Humanitec's developer platform is infrastructure automation. It handles all the underlying cloud provisioning, configuration management, and deployment orchestration to abstract that complexity away from developers. Teams simply define their desired infrastructure state through code, while Humanitec handles translating it into provisioned environments. This self-service infrastructure allows developers to focus on building applications rather than wrestling with infrastructure.

Empowering Developers

By streamlining tedious tasks like managing servers, platforms like Humanitec empower developers to be more productive and iterate faster. The self-service environments, automated deployments, and built-in collaboration tools create a frictionless developer experience that facilitates innovation. Developers regain agency over their development workflows.

In summary, Humanitec exemplifies a modern internal developer platform that uses infrastructure automation and a unified interface to remove DevOps bottlenecks. This increases developer velocity, facilitates collaboration, and enables organizations to build better products.

What is developer platform in Netflix?

The developer platform at Netflix empowers engineers to build rapidly and release frequently. As a pioneer in cloud-native development, Netflix created internal platforms and tools to manage the complexity of operating at scale.

Enabling Scale and Agility

Netflix's developer platform provides self-service access to infrastructure and services that automate provisioning, deployment, testing, and releases. Engineers can spin up development environments on demand, build efficiently, and ship code quickly and safely without ops bottlenecks. The platform enhances developer productivity and velocity.

Built on AWS, it offers a mix of proprietary and open source solutions tailored to Netflix's microservices architecture. The platform provides:

This internal developer platform enabled hypergrowth at Netflix by removing infrastructure barriers and empowering innovation at scale.

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Understanding the Essentials of a Developer Platform

Developer platforms provide the foundations for efficient software delivery by unifying tools, automating workflows, and streamlining collaboration. As development teams strive to ship quality code quickly, developer platforms help consolidate previously fragmented systems into an integrated hub. This allows developers to provision infrastructure, deploy applications, and manage the entire pipeline - all from a single, consistent interface.

What is Internal Developer Platform: A Deep Dive

An internal developer platform brings together the tools, services, and environments required to build, test, release, and operate applications. This includes:

By providing these capabilities on a common platform tailored to an organization's specific needs, developers gain the speed and flexibility necessary to ship innovations faster. No more waiting on other teams to provision infrastructure or set up new environments.

The Need for Consolidation

Without an internal developer platform, critical systems end up fragmented across separate tools and interfaces:

This leads to disconnected workflows, duplicated efforts, and limited visibility. Developer platforms consolidate these disparate pieces into a unified control plane. Now developers have a consistent way to manage all aspects of the development lifecycle.

Empowering Developers with Self-Service Operations

Modern developer platforms put control directly into the hands of developers by enabling self-service workflows. This allows teams to instantly provision the precise resources they need through an intuitive interface, rather than waiting on tickets and manual processes.

Key self-service capabilities include:

By shifting these operational responsibilities to developers, organizations can scale faster. Developers stay focused on shipping code rather than infrastructure management.

Built for the Cloud

Developer platforms provide cloud-native abstractions that simplify infrastructure complexities. Built on technologies like containers and infrastructure as code, they harness the flexibility of the cloud without lock-in.

Key cloud capabilities include:

This unlocks all the speed, scalability, and cost benefits of the cloud in a developer-friendly package.

Streamlining DevOps with Unified Workflows

By connecting previously disjointed systems, developer platforms create a consistent pipeline spanning infrastructure, deployment, testing, and release processes. The same automated workflows power multiple stages of the development lifecycle:

With unified DevOps workflows, developers spend less time on infrastructure and more time building. Simple abstractions handle backstage complexities, while organizations improve reliability through standardized pipelines. The result is faster innovation powered by automation and consistency.

Anatomy of a High-Performance Developer Platform

Developer platforms integrate infrastructure, environments, pipelines, and tools to streamline development workflows. By automating manual processes, centralizing configurations, and standardizing best practices, they empower teams to deliver quickly and efficiently.

Here we explore five essential elements that enable developer platforms to accelerate delivery while ensuring stability, security, and governance.

Infrastructure as Code: The Foundation

Infrastructure as code (IaC) allows teams to programmatically manage and provision cloud infrastructure. Developer platforms leverage IaC to provide:

By handling infrastructure through code rather than manual processes, teams can configure new environments in minutes instead of days. This accelerated timeline unblocks development and encourages experimentation.

Efficient Environment Management

Developer platforms centrally govern all environments across projects via:

With this oversight, platform owners can ensure consistency, compliance, and cost efficiency across all teams and pipelines utilizing the developer platform.

Secure Credential & Secret Management

To securely connect pipelines and infrastructure:

These measures limit exposure of sensitive data like service account keys while still enabling pipelines to access needed credentials.

Automated CI/CD Pipelines

CI/CD pipelines automatically build, test, and deploy application changes. Developer platforms centralize pipeline configurations as code for reuse across teams. This enables:

With pipelines as code, teams avoid manual misconfigurations and accelerate release cycles.

Fostering Collaboration with Integrated Tools

To connect teams across code, pipelines, and cloud resources, developer platforms embed popular developer tools like:

With context and conversations centralized rather than siloed in emails and tickets, developers stay aligned as they build, while platform owners maintain oversight.

Conclusion

Modern developer platforms unite fragmented systems to help teams configure infrastructure faster, develop with more autonomy, and deploy frequently and reliably. By codifying and automating environment, pipeline, and tooling workflows, they enable organizations to deliver innovation quicker without compromising governance, security, or productivity.

Key Benefits for Development Teams

Developer platforms yield measurable improvements in productivity, security, and innovation. By streamlining infrastructure provisioning, deployment, and app lifecycle management, these platforms empower developers and free them from mundane tasks. Let's explore some of the key benefits:

Faster Time-to-Market

Developer platforms drastically reduce the time required to set up environments and ship code changes. Features like self-service infrastructure, reusable pipelines, and one-click deployments remove friction from the development process. Teams can spin up disposable dev/test environments on-demand and deploy updates frequently without ops bottlenecks. This enables a fail-fast culture and quicker validation of ideas. Ultimately, accelerated release cycles translate to faster time-to-market and the ability to continuously deliver value to customers.

Enhanced Developer Productivity

By minimizing tedious and repetitive tasks, developer platforms boost developer productivity. Instead of worrying about infrastructure and pipelines, developers can focus their time on building. Platforms atomize operational responsibilities so teams aren't reliant on a few DevOps gurus. With self-service interfaces, any developer can provision resources or deploy code changes according to pre-defined guardrails. Declarative infrastructure-as-code further eliminates manual configuration. By leveraging abstractions and automation, developers waste less time on undifferentiated heavy lifting.

Securing Code through Centralized Compliance

Maintaining consistent security standards across dynamic cloud environments can be challenging. Developer platforms enable centralized policy definition and controls to mitigate risk. Instead of ad-hoc scripting, teams codify and reuse infrastructure configurations as code templates checked into shared source control. Config drift and improper access controls are reduced through automated scanning and policy enforcement guardrails. Platforms also facilitate secrets management via integrations with tools like HashiCorp Vault. With standardized policies and controls, organizations reinforce secure development habits and ensure compliance at scale.

Enabling Rapid Prototyping and Experimentation

Developer platforms democratize access to cloud resources for testing theories and exploring new ideas. Streamlined environment provisioning lowers the activation energy for experimentation. Ephemeral sandbox environments can be created on-demand without long lead procurement cycles. Teams are unblocked to try new technologies, share spikes and proofs of concept, and fail fast. This culture of innovation enables the rapid prototyping of new features and accelerates learning. Low risk experimentation ultimately results in better and more informed product decisions.

Gaining Insights with Centralized Monitoring

Holistic logging, tracing and monitoring are integral to understanding system health and code quality. Developer platforms centralize the collection and visualization of key metrics across all environments. Teams gain transparency into deployments, catch errors faster, and pinpoint optimization opportunities. Historical monitoring data powers advanced analytics for capacity planning and cost management. By aggregating telemetry data in one place, developers save time correlating cross-system events. Instead of piecing together disparate logs, they can focus on analyzing the signals to build better software.

Adopting and Evolving Your Internal Developer Platform

Adopting an internal developer platform can streamline workflows, enhance collaboration, and increase deployment efficiency for engineering teams. However, launching and scaling an effective platform requires deliberate planning and continued evolution.

Securing Executive Sponsorship

Gaining leadership support is essential for securing initial funding and resources to build an internal developer platform. Developer platform initiatives with executive backing also gain credibility across the organization, making adoption smoother.

When pitching the concept, focus on the potential benefits:

Paint a clear picture of how an internal developer platform and self-service model empowers engineers to focus on core product development rather than undifferentiated heavy lifting.

Analyzing the Current State of Development Practices

Before determining the initial platform capabilities, conduct an assessment of existing workflows. Gather feedback from developers across teams via surveys and interviews on current pain points. Identify the most frequent infrastructure, environment, and pipeline needs. Also analyze where manual intervention slows progress.

This current state analysis highlights the biggest opportunities for automation and self-service. It also helps shape an MVP feature set that delivers quick wins.

Developing an MVP Roadmap

With executive backing and a clear picture of existing gaps, define an initial roadmap. Outline the first platform capabilities to build based on high value propositions and faster time-to-value.

Good developer platform MVP candidates include:

Focus on addressing 80% of common needs out-of-the-box while allowing customization. Deliver these quick wins first before expanding features.

Adopting a User-centric Design Philosophy

To drive adoption, incorporate user feedback throughout the developer platform's evolution. Usability testing uncovers pain points in the UX/UI early. Session recordings reveal frustration triggers. Surveys indicate which new capabilities to prioritize.

This user-centric design flow better meets developers' needs and preferences, making their workflows more intuitive. As a result, platform engagement goes up.

Tracking Platform Usage and Adoption Metrics

Leverage data to guide the platform roadmap. Track usage metrics around adoption, activity levels, and feature consumption. Review which services see low or decreasing utilization. Correlate adoption rates with team productivity levels.

These insights shine light on enhancements that would make the biggest impact. They also help identify needs unique to certain engineering teams. This metrics-driven approach enables data-backed investment decisions around the developer platform.

Crafting the Future of DevOps with Developer Platforms

Developer platforms have emerged as pivotal for streamlining complex cloud infrastructure workflows and DevOps processes. By providing solutions for automated preview environments, CI/CD pipelines, infrastructure as code, and cloud-based developer environments, these platforms enable greater collaboration, increased deployment frequency, and efficiencies for development teams. With their expansive capabilities, developer platforms are truly transformative - shaping not just current DevOps practices, but charting an innovative path for the future.

Accelerating Delivery with Streamlined Developer Experiences

Developer platforms offer a self-service model that empowers development teams to spin up on-demand environments and deployment pipelines tailored to their workflows. This eliminates delays from waiting on central IT teams and manual approvals at each stage. With customizable automated pipelines, code can seamlessly flow from development to testing and finally production deployment with built-in approvals, delivering higher velocity releases.

Collaboration also improves dramatically. Developer platforms centralize workflows with tools for code editing, repository management, and testing - providing a unified experience for all developers regardless of location or tech stack. Real-time communication and transparency across teams ensures alignment. This streamlined, integrated developer experience fuels greater productivity and innovation.

Overall, these platforms unlock tremendous efficiencies at every phase of delivery - accelerating releases while retaining oversight and compliance. The improvements in velocity, quality, and collaboration propel DevOps practices to new heights.

Envisioning the Evolution of Internal Developer Platforms

Developer platforms have seen remarkable growth recently as the market embraces their potential. Yet they remain at the forefront of innovation with much room left to evolve. As platforms mature, we can expect even greater customizability to support more diverse tech stacks, cloud providers, and organizational structures. Integrations will also expand to incorporate adjacent systems like data platforms, API gateways, and security tools for end-to-end coordination.

Equally pivotal are advances in intelligence and automation - with ML algorithms optimizing resource allocation and providing smart recommendations tailored to each developer's needs. Automation will handle increasingly complex tasks, freeing developers to focus on writing business logic. These platforms will transform into versatile assistants that amplify human abilities.

Ultimately, developer platforms are still in their infancy. As they continue to mature, integrate deeply with adjacent systems, and incorporate AI/ML, their capabilities will dramatically augment to redefine DevOps. This new breed of intelligent platforms will become indispensable partners that help development teams and businesses punch above their weight. The future remains full of possibilities.


       

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