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DevOps Inspired The Way We Approach Platforms | Joe Duffy, Pulumi


Guest: Joe Duffy (LinkedIn)
Company: Pulumi (Twitter)

We are seeing a growing momentum for organizations to adopt platform engineering, seeing it as a way to ship faster by having a clear, consistent approach to developing across the organization. However, this raises the question of where this leaves DevOps.

In this episode of TFiR: T3M, Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with Joe Duffy, CEO and Founder of Pulumi, to dive into the topic of the state of platform engineering and how organizations are shifting towards this model. He also goes into detail about the differences between DevOps and platform engineering and whether this is the end of DevOps as we know it.

Key highlights of this video interview are:

Cultural shift in organizations:

  • Organizations, particularly innovative organizations, are applying a more engineering mindset and approach to their platforms and infrastructure.
  • Developers are being empowered more but with the right guardrails in place, since there may be areas that are more in the platform team’s area of expertise.

How is platform engineering developing?

  • As a new trend, platform engineering is sitting between operations and developers, acting like a center of excellence to put best practices in place for areas like cloud infrastructure or cloud engineering.
  • Platform engineering acts as a catalyst to empower the organization to ship faster with confidence while still taking care of compliance and cost controls.

Platform engineering Vs DevOps Vs SRE:

  • Platform engineering grew out of the DevOps movement, which aimed to apply engineering principles to how they were doing operations, and putting developers in the driver’s seat.
  • How teams do platform engineering varies considerably depending on the organization’s individual needs.
  • Some organizations which do not have a platform team may instead have an SRE who is embedded in the service team to ensure operational excellence.

What is the reality of cultural transformation?

  • There is an increased acceleration in companies looking to adopt a platform engineering model to better deal with the complexity of cloud for their applications and infrastructure.
  • Empowering developers to be more in control is putting pressure on teams to adopt platform engineering in order to self-serve the infrastructure.
  • It is not just new innovative companies looking to adopt platform engineering but also more traditional, Fortune 500 companies.

How can you define developer experience?

  • There is more focus on trying to see things from the developer’s perspective to find ways to help them become more productive and to make their life easier.
  • Developer experience varies depending on the type of developer whereas making it easier to pin up new microservices may be beneficial for back-end system engineers, developer experience for a full-stack engineer may focus on other areas.

Advice for organizations looking to embrace platform engineering:

  • Organizations should ask if it makes sense to centralize their expertise in a center of excellence, particularly if they are shipping containers and scaling them at a high velocity with reasonable levels of complexity across many environments and/or clouds.
  • Ask if the solution you created fits the problem you were trying to solve.
  • Understand that organizations need to evolve and adapt and even though it may not make sense to apply platform engineering right now, it may later on in the journey.

Is DevOps Dead?

  • No, DevOps is very much still alive and kicking. DevOps may evolve or the terms may be used differently in the future, nonetheless, it will continue for many decades to come.
  • We should be thankful for how DevOps inspired the way we approach platforms.

This summary was written by Emily Nicholls.