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Platform Engineering: The Key to Building Long-Lasting Software Solutions
SID Global Solutions
25 April 2023
As software becomes more and more central to the functioning of modern organizations, the need for reliable and long-lasting software solutions has never been greater. Platform engineering is a key approach to building software that meets these needs, by providing a framework for creating scalable, maintainable, and sustainable software solutions. In this guide, we will explore the key concepts and best practices of platform engineering, and how they can be applied to create long-lasting software solutions.
What is Platform Engineering?
Platform engineering is an approach to software development that focuses on building a common set of tools, frameworks, and services that can be reused across multiple applications. This approach allows developers to create new applications faster, with fewer bugs, and with better maintainability. Platform engineering can also help to ensure that applications are more scalable, resilient, and secure.
At its core, platform engineering is about creating a set of standardized building blocks that can be used to quickly and easily build new applications. These building blocks can include everything from databases, message queues, and caching layers, to standardized APIs, libraries, and frameworks. By building these components once, and reusing them across multiple applications, platform engineering can help to reduce development costs, accelerate time to market, and improve software quality.
Key Concepts of Platform Engineering
To understand the key concepts of platform engineering, it’s helpful to think about the different layers of a software application stack. At the bottom of the stack are the infrastructure components, such as servers, storage, and networking. These components provide the foundation for the application, and must be reliable, scalable, and secure.
Above the infrastructure layer is the platform layer, which includes the common set of tools, frameworks, and services that are used by developers to build applications. This layer provides the building blocks that can be used to quickly create new applications, and ensures that those applications are built to a consistent standard.
Finally, at the top of the stack is the application layer, which includes the specific functionality and features that are unique to each application. This layer is where developers can add value to the organization by creating custom solutions that solve specific business problems.
Best Practices of Platform Engineering
To build long-lasting software solutions using platform engineering, there are a number of best practices that should be followed. These include:
- Standardization: Standardization is the cornerstone of platform engineering. By creating a standardized set of tools, frameworks, and services, developers can ensure that applications are built to a consistent standard, and that they can be easily maintained and scaled over time.
- Automation: Automation is key to ensuring that the platform is easy to use and maintain. By automating common tasks such as deployment, testing, and monitoring, developers can save time and reduce the risk of human error.
- Modularity: Modularity is important for ensuring that the platform is scalable and can be easily adapted to changing business needs. By breaking the platform down into smaller, modular components, developers can add new functionality and remove old functionality without disrupting the entire system.
- Documentation: Documentation is critical for ensuring that the platform is easy to use and maintain. By providing clear documentation on how to use the platform, developers can reduce the risk of errors and ensure that new developers can quickly get up to speed.
- Security: Security is a key concern for any software application, and it’s particularly important for a platform that will be used across multiple applications. By following best practices for security, such as encrypting data at rest and in transit, developers can ensure that the platform is secure and that applications built on top of it are also secure.
Platform engineering is a key approach to building long-lasting software solutions. By creating a standardized set of tools, frameworks, and services, and automating common tasks, platform engineering can help to reduce development costs, accelerate time to market, improve software quality, and ensure that applications are scalable, resilient, and secure. By following best practices such as standardization, automation, modularity, documentation, and security, organizations can create a platform that is easy to use and maintain, and that can be adapted to changing business needs over time.
One of the key benefits of platform engineering is that it can help to reduce technical debt. Technical debt is a term used to describe the costs associated with maintaining and upgrading software systems over time. As software systems become more complex, it can become increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain them. By creating a platform that is modular, standardized, and well-documented, organizations can reduce technical debt and ensure that their software systems remain maintainable and scalable over time.
Another benefit of platform engineering is that it can help to foster collaboration between developers. By providing a common set of tools, frameworks, and services, platform engineering can help developers to work together more effectively and to share knowledge and best practices. This can lead to faster development cycles, better software quality, and improved innovation.
By creating a standardized set of tools, frameworks, and services, and following best practices such as standardization, automation, modularity, documentation, and security, organizations can create a platform that is easy to use and maintain, and that can be adapted to changing business needs over time. With the rise of cloud computing, microservices architecture, and DevOps practices, platform engineering is becoming increasingly important for organizations that want to stay competitive and innovate quickly in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.