Big News! Split to be acquired by Harness. Read More

Comparing Platform Engineering and DevOps

Split - DevOps vs PlatformEng

In software development, two key players stand out: Platform Engineering and DevOps. These disciplines play a crucial role in driving efficient software deployment processes and enhancing the overall development cycle. But which one holds the upper hand when it comes to optimizing feature delivery?

In this blog post, we delve into the nuances of Platform Engineering and DevOps, shedding light on how they support software development, engage development teams, streamline IT operations, and facilitate continuous delivery. By exploring the distinct set of tools and practices each discipline brings to the table, we aim to clarify their roles in the software development landscape.

As you navigate through this exploration, you will gain a deeper understanding of the differences between Platform Engineering and DevOps, unraveling their unique contributions to improving feature deployment and release. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or new to the tech scene, grasping these fundamental distinctions can significantly impact your approach to software development.

Understanding Platform Engineering

What is Platform Engineering?

Platform Engineering is defined as the practice of designing, building, and maintaining internal developer platforms that streamline infrastructure management, provisioning, and deployment processes within an organization. For a more comprehensive definition, refer to our Glossary for additional insights.

Goals of Platform Engineering

At its core, Platform Engineering aims to establish stable and scalable infrastructure while prioritizing the enhancement of the developer experience. This is achieved through the implementation of self-service tools, automation, and practices such as infrastructure as code (IaC) to enable seamless development workflows. By fostering a culture of automation and self-service, platform teams empower developers to focus on delivering value through software engineering rather than grappling with the complexities of the underlying infrastructure.

How Platform Engineering Works: A Kubernetes Example

To illustrate the practical application of Platform Engineering, consider the widespread use of Kubernetes container orchestration. Kubernetes, known for its robustness in managing containerized applications, exemplifies the essence of platform engineering by providing a scalable and reliable infrastructure for deploying, scaling, and managing containerized workloads. Explore this insightful article on Kubernetes best practices for further enlightenment on how platform engineering principles can enhance existing processes.

In the realm of Platform Engineering, automation, observability, configuration management tools such as Terraform, Puppet, and the integration of APIs play pivotal roles in shaping a seamless and efficient development environment. By embracing these practices, organizations can elevate their infrastructure management capabilities and amplify the overall productivity of their development teams.

Core Responsibilities of Platform Engineers

Understanding the Unique Role

Platform Engineers shoulder a distinct set of responsibilities that distinguish them from other roles in the software development ecosystem. Their key focus lies in orchestrating seamless infrastructure management and empowering development teams through automation and self-service capabilities.

Key Responsibilities Include:

  • Designing and implementing internal developer platforms for efficient infrastructure provisioning.
  • Developing and maintaining automation workflows to streamline deployment processes.
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to ensure scalability and stability of infrastructure.
  • Leveraging tools like Kubernetes, Docker, and Terraform to manage containerized applications effectively.
  • Implementing best practices in configuration management and infrastructure as code (IaC).
  • Enhancing observability by integrating monitoring and logging solutions for proactive issue detection.
  • Providing support and guidance to development teams on utilizing platform tools effectively.
  • Continuously optimizing platform performance and scalability to meet evolving business needs.
  • Ensuring security and compliance standards are met within the platform environment.
  • Facilitating a culture of innovation and continuous improvement within the platform engineering domain.

By shouldering these critical responsibilities, Platform Engineers play a pivotal role in fostering a collaborative and productive development environment. Their unique blend of technical expertise, automation know-how, and infrastructure management skills enables organizations to achieve operational excellence and accelerate software delivery cycles.

Understanding DevOps

What is DevOps?

DevOps encapsulates a set of practices and cultural philosophies that aim to bridge the gap between software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). This collaborative approach emphasizes automation, continuous integration, and delivery to enable organizations to deliver high-quality software at speed. For an expanded definition, refer to our Glossary.

Evolution of DevOps

The roots of DevOps can be traced back to the growing need for tighter integration between development and operations teams to address the challenges of traditional siloed approaches. This paradigm shift towards collaboration and shared responsibility led to the emergence of DevOps practices that prioritize agility, efficiency, and innovation in software delivery.

Cultural Transformation and Continuous Delivery

DevOps culture emphasizes breaking down barriers between teams, fostering a spirit of collaboration, transparency, and shared ownership across the software development lifecycle. By embracing continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, organizations can automate testing, deployment, and monitoring processes, enabling rapid and reliable software releases.

Example: CI/CD in Action

A prime illustration of how CI/CD has become standard practice can be seen in the integration of services like Split’s data-driven feature flags. By incorporating DevOps principles into feature management processes, organizations can seamlessly integrate new functionalities, validate changes efficiently, and ensure smooth deployment without disruptions. Explore this insightful article to witness how feature management aligns with DevOps practices for enhanced software delivery.

Key Practices in DevOps

Unveiling DevOps Methodology

DevOps methodology thrives on a set of foundational practices and tools that underpin its success in driving collaboration, efficiency, and innovation across software development and operations. Let’s explore some of the core practices that define the essence of DevOps:

  • Automation: Automation lies at the heart of DevOps, enabling teams to streamline repetitive tasks, enhance consistency, and accelerate delivery cycles. By automating testing, deployment, and infrastructure provisioning processes, DevOps teams can achieve higher efficiency and reliability in software development.
  • Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD): CI/CD pipelines facilitate the seamless integration of code changes, automated testing, and continuous delivery of software increments. This iterative approach ensures that code changes are validated, integrated, and deployed swiftly, reducing time-to-market and enhancing software quality.
  • Orchestration: Orchestration tools play a crucial role in managing complex workflows, coordinating tasks, and orchestrating interactions between different components of the software delivery pipeline. By leveraging orchestration frameworks, DevOps teams can optimize resource utilization, scale applications efficiently, and ensure system reliability.
  • DevOps Toolchains: DevOps toolchains encompass a suite of tools spanning development, testing, deployment, and monitoring phases of the software lifecycle. These integrated toolsets empower teams to collaborate effectively, track progress, and automate key processes, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Site Reliability Engineering (SRE): SRE practices align closely with DevOps principles, focusing on ensuring system reliability, scalability, and performance. By adopting SRE methodologies, organizations can proactively manage incidents, optimize infrastructure, and maintain robust service levels to meet user expectations.
  • Open Source Tool Adoption: Embracing open-source DevOps tools and frameworks enables organizations to leverage community-driven innovation, cost-effective solutions, and flexibility in customizing toolchains to suit specific requirements. By harnessing the power of open source, DevOps teams can drive agility and resilience in their software delivery processes.

Comparing Platform Engineering and DevOps

Navigating the Software Delivery Landscape

In the realm of software delivery, Platform Engineering and DevOps stand as pillars of innovation, driving efficiency, scalability, and reliability in the development lifecycle. While both methodologies share the common goal of optimizing software delivery processes, they each bring a unique set of roles and practices to the table, shaping the way organizations approach infrastructure management, automation, and collaboration.

Similarities and Differences Unveiled

When comparing Platform Engineering and DevOps, it becomes evident that both disciplines play vital roles in enhancing the software development lifecycle. However, Platform Engineering focuses on designing internal developer platforms, streamlining infrastructure management, and fostering self-service capabilities, while DevOps emphasizes collaboration between development and operations teams, automation of processes, and continuous delivery practices.

Exploring the Nuances

Platform Engineering delves deep into creating stable, scalable infrastructure and enhancing developer experience through automation and tooling. On the other hand, DevOps orchestrates the integration of development and operations workflows, promoting cultural shifts towards collaborative practices, and optimizing software release lead times through CI/CD pipelines.

By dissecting the methodologies, stakeholders can reach a clearer understanding of how Platform Engineering and DevOps complement each other in bolstering software delivery capabilities.

Both Roles Enhance Software Delivery

Embracing Common Goals

  • Enhancing Software Delivery: Platform Engineering and DevOps share a common objective of improving software delivery processes by streamlining workflows, automating tasks, and fostering collaboration between teams.
  • Methodologies for Efficiency: Both roles leverage methodologies such as automation, continuous integration, and delivery to accelerate development cycles, reduce lead times, and ensure the rapid release of high-quality software.
  • Functions in Software Development: Platform Engineering focuses on designing robust infrastructure and developer platforms, while DevOps emphasizes the seamless integration of development and operations tasks to drive efficiency and reliability in software delivery.

Testing for Speed and Quality

To further enhance software delivery speeds, testing plays a pivotal role. Explore the significance of testing in accelerating software delivery through effective rollout strategies in this insightful article.

The Differences Between Platform Engineering and DevOps

Divergent Paths

Now let’s explore the differences.

Split - Comparing Platform Engineering and DevOps - 1

Use Cases: Platform Engineering vs. DevOps

  • Platform Engineering: Ideal for organizations seeking to establish robust infrastructure foundations, enhance developer productivity, and scale their internal platforms efficiently.
  • DevOps: Suited for companies aiming to streamline development workflows, improve software delivery lead times, and foster a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement across teams.

By understanding these distinctions, organizations can align their goals and requirements with the most suitable approach to drive operational excellence and innovation in their software development endeavors.

Implementing Platform Engineering and DevOps Together

Harmonizing Workflow Dynamics

Integrating Platform Engineering and DevOps can yield synergistic benefits that enhance productivity, streamline processes, and foster a culture of innovation. By aligning these disciplines, organizations can navigate the software development lifecycle more effectively, address bottlenecks, and drive continuous improvement.

Tips for Successful Integration

  • Collaborative Mindset: Encourage collaboration between the DevOps engineer and the platform engineering team to leverage expertise and insights for holistic infrastructure management.
  • Cultural Alignment: Promote a cultural shift towards shared ownership, transparency, and accountability to unify efforts and drive efficiencies across development and operations workflows.
  • Implementing Best Practices: Integrate best practices from both disciplines to optimize workflows, automate tasks, and enhance scalability while delivering high-quality software solutions.

Enhanced Outcomes and Reduced Lead Times

The integration of Platform Engineering and DevOps paves the way for reduced lead times, improved outcomes, and enhanced operational efficiency. By combining the strengths of infrastructure design, automation, and collaborative practices, organizations can achieve faster deployment cycles, improved system reliability, and accelerated innovation.

Practical Example: AWS as a Provider

Consider a scenario where an organization leverages Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a provider, utilizing Platform Engineering principles to design scalable infrastructure while implementing DevOps practices to automate deployment pipelines, monitor performance metrics, and ensure seamless software releases. This seamless integration exemplifies the power of combining Platform Engineering and DevOps to drive operational excellence and deliver value to end-users efficiently.

Building a Future-Ready Development Environment

The synergy between Platform Engineering and DevOps stands as a cornerstone for organizations striving to achieve operational excellence, accelerate innovation, and drive sustainable growth. At Split, we are committed to empowering DevOps teams, operations teams, and developers alike to navigate the complexities of the modern software development process with ease and efficiency, helping them release feature features that matter fast with feature management and experimentation solutions.

Revisiting the Nexus of Platform Engineering and DevOps

As we reflect on the key similarities and differences between Platform Engineering and DevOps, it becomes clear that these disciplines converge to optimize the software development lifecycle. While Platform Engineering focuses on infrastructure design and self-service capabilities, DevOps emphasizes automation, continuous delivery, and the reduction of cognitive load to enhance productivity and software quality.

Split: Your Partner in Software Delivery Excellence

At Split, we understand the challenges faced by teams striving to improve delivery speed and quality. Our feature management and experimentation solution is designed to empower you with the tools and capabilities needed to streamline your software delivery process, automate repetitive tasks, and foster a culture of collaboration and innovation. With Split, you can propel your organization towards future-ready development environments that drive success and exceed expectations.

Take the Next Step with Split

Are you ready to elevate your development environment and unlock new levels of efficiency and excellence? Explore how Split can help you do your work faster and better by delving into our Developer Hub. Take the next step towards achieving your goals and transforming your software delivery practices. Visit our Developer Hub today and embark on a journey towards accelerated innovation and unparalleled success.

Switch It On With Split

Split Feature Management & Experimentation by Harness® gives you the confidence to move fast without breaking things. Set up feature flags and safely deploy to production, controlling who sees which features and when. Connect every flag to contextual data, so you can know if your features are making things better or worse and act without hesitation. Effortlessly conduct feature experiments like A/B tests without slowing down. Whether you’re looking to increase your releases, to decrease your MTTR, or to ignite your dev team without burning them out–Split is a way to revolutionize the way the work gets done.  Switch on a free account today or Schedule a demo to learn more.

Get Split Certified

Split Arcade includes product explainer videos, clickable product tutorials, manipulatable code examples, and interactive challenges.

Want to Dive Deeper?

We have a lot to explore that can help you understand feature flags. Learn more about benefits, use cases, and real world applications that you can try.

Create Impact With Everything You Build

We’re excited to accompany you on your journey as you build faster, release safer, and launch impactful products.