Cloud enablement, Industry insights

Mastering platform services

Mastering platform services

Explore the fundamentals of platform engineering capabilities and why they are essential for building reliable and scalable platforms.

Understanding platform services – A foundation for reliable platforms 

Platform engineering is not just a buzzword; it’s a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a tech-savvy professional or just dipping your toes into the digital waters, understanding Platform service capabilities is crucial.

Platform engineering capabilities offer a cost-effective and flexible solution for businesses seeking to establish reliable and enduring performance without the burden of extensive resource allocation. Platform services comprise a dedicated team comprising both Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) and Platform Engineers (PEs), providing platform management as a service. In the grand scheme of modern software development, both roles serve pivotal functions. However, they each possess unique focuses and approaches, which we will dive into a little later on in this newsletter.

At its core, platform engineering focuses on ensuring your IT platforms run smoothly, reliably and efficiently. It’s the backbone of your digital operations, whether they’re in the cloud or on-premises.

But why should you care about it, especially if you’re not an IT expert?

Imagine your business as a car. You want it to run smoothly, right? Embedding SREs and Platform Engineers into your team is like having a crew of expert mechanics who ensure your car’s engine (your IT systems) performs optimally. They keep it running 24/7, make necessary improvements, and prevent breakdowns.

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SRE vs Platform engineering: Clarifying distinctions and synergies

Before we dive deeper, and especially in the dynamic realm of modern software development, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of SRE and Platform Engineering to avoid any confusion. Let’s unravel the intricacies and explore how they intersect and complement each other.

SREs: Mastering system reliability

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a specialised approach to managing the reliability, availability and performance of large-scale systems. SREs are the guardians of system stability, utilising software engineering practices to achieve these goals effectively. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Operations focus: SREs are primarily concerned with the operational aspects of systems. They work tirelessly to ensure that applications run smoothly, efficiently, and without interruptions.
  • Automation prowess: Automation is at the core of SRE practices. They write code to automate tasks, monitor system health, and respond to incidents with precision. This proactive approach minimises manual toil and maximises efficiency.
  • Incident management: SREs excel at incident management. When something goes awry, they lead incident response efforts, conduct blameless post-mortems, and implement preventive measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Platform engineering: Building the developer’s oasis

Platform engineering, on the other hand, is all about creating a robust foundation that empowers software engineering teams. The developed “Internal Developer Platform” encompasses a wide array of tools, APIs, services and knowledge, and their purpose is to provide self-service capabilities and support the entire application lifecycle:

  • Developer-centric: PEs focuses on the needs of software engineers, providing a toolkit that simplifies application development, deployment and management.
  • Productivity booster: By offering self-service capabilities, Platform Engineering enhances developer productivity and collaboration. Developers can focus on writing code rather than dealing with infrastructure complexities.
  • A holistic approach: PEs take into account various aspects of software development, including but not limited to, SRE concerns. PEs aim to provide a comprehensive ecosystem that meets the diverse needs of development teams, supporting the overall goals.

Platform Engineering as a service: Bridging the gap for holistic success

Platform Engineering as a service blends the strengths of both SRE and Platform Engineering. It assembles holistic teams equipped with the skill sets of both worlds. Here’s how it all comes together:

  • Platform team’s glue and capability: The Platform Engineering team serves as the glue that holds the development environment together. They provide the foundational tools and services needed for application development.
  • SRE’s reliability and improvement focus: SREs leverage the offerings of the Platform Team, customising them to meet the reliability and performance requirements of the systems. They actively contribute to defining what they need and what the platform should deliver.
  • SRE as stakeholders and contributors: SREs are not just consumers of the platform; they are stakeholders and contributors. They use the provided tools and services to monitor, measure, and identify areas for improvement. Feedback from SREs becomes an integral part of the platform’s ongoing enhancement.

“In simpler terms, the Platform Team provides the building blocks and capabilities, while SREs utilise and contribute to these resources to enhance reliability and performance. It’s a symbiotic relationship where SREs play a crucial role in both validating the platform’s capabilities and driving its ongoing improvement.”

Ricardo Pinto, principal lead and head of BBD’s Platform team
Check out the below diagram for a better understanding:
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This collaboration between SRE and Platform Engineering is what makes platform services a compelling approach. It ensures that platforms not only provide the necessary capabilities but also meet the rigorous standards of reliability and performance demanded by modern software applications.

Benefits to your business

Now that you have a clear understanding of the distinctions and collaborations between PEs and SREs, it’s time to explore the tangible benefits that this synergy can bring to your business. By harnessing the unique strengths of each role and fostering a harmonious partnership, your organisation can unlock a world of advantages that propel you towards digital excellence.

Let’s dive into the tangible benefits platform engineering can bring to your business:
  1. Consistency & reliability: It ensures your platform operations are consistent and reliable. Say goodbye to costly disruptions and downtime.
  2. Cost efficiency: Running an in-house team of SREs can be expensive. Platform Engineering services offer an affordable solution that aligns with your budget.
  3. Flexibility: Choose between fully managed or augmented services, tailoring the support to your unique needs.
  4. DevOps competency: Access expert DevOps skills that streamline your development and operations processes for faster delivery.
  5. Improved performance: Experience enhanced platform availability efficiency, and reduced deployment risks, resulting in happier customers.
  6. Access to specialists: Gain access to the expertise of SRE and PE professionals who focus on higher levels of application reliability and resiliency.
  7. Customer satisfaction: With improved performance and reliability, your customers will enjoy a better experience, leading to higher satisfaction and retention rates.
  8. Security & performance management: Leave security and performance management to Platform Engineering capabilities so you can focus on your core business.

BBD’s approach: Empowering your platform success

BBD’s Platform Engineering capabilities represent a paradigm shift in how businesses navigate the intricate world of IT infrastructure. At the core of our approach lies a specialised Platform Team, meticulously crafted to cater to your unique needs and challenges. We’ve curated a team of SREs and PEs with varying levels of expertise—senior, intermediate, and junior. This dynamic mix ensures you get the right expertise without breaking the bank. Our team works relentlessly to ensure your platforms remain rock-solid amidst changes and updates. If you share our passion for excellence, we’re always eager to welcome new talent to our team. Explore our current opportunities here.

Relieving the burden:

Our primary objective in establishing this dedicated platform team was to unburden organisations from the complexities of sourcing, managing, and retaining SREs and PEs. We understand that this task can be daunting, particularly for smaller companies or those looking to optimise costs.

With BBD, you gain access to a diverse team of SREs and PEs, ranging from senior experts to intermediate and junior professionals. This blend of expertise ensures that your platforms remain robust and resilient, without the steep cost of a full-time role.

Agile and cost-effective:

BBD’s approach is not just about delivering exceptional platforms; it’s about doing so in an agile and cost-effective manner. We prioritise affordability without compromising on quality. This agility allows organisations to allocate resources efficiently and focus on innovation, knowing that the management of their platforms is in expert hands. It’s a continuous cycle of innovation that keeps our clients at the forefront of their industries.

Detail-oriented excellence:

The true beauty of BBD’s solution lies in the meticulous attention to detail. We’ve designed our offering with our clients’ unique needs in mind. Whether you’re a large enterprise seeking to optimise your IT infrastructure or a smaller company looking to enhance your platform’s reliability without overwhelming costs, BBD’s Platform Team has you covered.

A collaborative approach:

Our Platform Team operates as a dynamic ecosystem, with each member playing a critical role. Intermediate and junior engineers focus on platform reliability and growth, actively contributing to the platform’s enhancement. Senior engineers provide on-demand support, offering guidance, design expertise, and mentoring as required. It’s a collaborative approach that ensures the seamless functioning of your IT platforms.

Platform innovation and managed services:

BBD’s Platform capabilities aren’t just about maintenance; it’s about innovation. We provide a holistic solution that combines platform development innovation with comprehensive managed services. With our team of professional SREs and PEs, you can trust that your platforms will not only perform optimally but also stay aligned with the latest industry standards and practices.

Join the revolution

In conclusion, Platform Engineering isn’t just a service; it’s a strategic move to ensure your business remains competitive, agile, and secure in the digital landscape. With BBD as your partner, you can harness the full potential of SREs and PEs, automate your operations, and future-proof your infrastructure.

Modernised platforms, with BBD at your side, are your gateway to consistent, reliable, and sustainable IT operations. Don’t let the complexities of platform management hold you back. Reach out to us today to start your journey toward mastering your platforms.

What’s next? We’re ready!