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Platform Engineering vs DevOps | Cloud Foundry Is The OG Of Platform


Guest: Ram Iyengar (LinkedIn)
Organization: Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) (Twitter)

In this episode of TFiR: T3M, Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with Ram Iyengar, Chief Evangelist at the Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF), to talk about the market trends he is seeing, particularly in the platform engineering and DevOps space.

Current market trends:

  • More and more developers are becoming users that have their own platforms.
  • Developers and engineering teams are treating platforms as products.
  • Kubernetes, as a platform, is starting to mature; other platforms and infrastructure paradigms are looking at ways to grow and be made more useful.
  • Bare metal is coming back and becoming a thing right now in the infrastructure world.
  • There is a renewed focus on developer experience.
  • FinOps is gaining a lot of steam; some open-source foundations for FinOps are emerging.
  • Companies are starting to mature not just in terms of learning how to use new technology, but also in being able to estimate costs around it.

Platform engineering is about enabling other engineers to spend more time focused on the application and less time on writing code that pertains to infrastructure and other services.

Cloud Foundry (CF) has espoused two principles in the past 10 years: simplicity and stability. The CF push mentality means have your source code in front of you, point to a remote target instance, have very minimal cognitive overhead other than just saying CF push, give the app a name, and provide a manifest or sane defaults once.

Cloud Foundry users and those in the community carry the same twofold principle into the cloud-native world, i.e., deployment to Kubernetes should be simple, stable, and there shouldn’t be like a whole lot a developer has to individually figure out in order to make things work on Kubernetes.

It is going to be a little difficult for folks to keep tabs of what projects are coming in, what are incubating as well as what are graduating. The CNCF is already doing a good job in terms of its sandbox. There’s a nice funnel of which ones are graduating and are more stable, and they are the ones that the community decided to get around.

Is DevOps dead? “DevOps is dead” is a marketing term, more than anything else, and I don’t think it has any truth to it. DevOps, as a paradigm and as a discipline and as a form of culture, is definitely going to survive. It has given rise to this notion of platform engineering in many ways. DevOps, as a paradigm, has taught us discipline and resilience in terms of keeping releases frequent and becoming truly more agile.

Backstory: Around 30 years ago, the software engineering community said: “We started to write code, tossed it across the wall, and did our part. Now, it’s someone else’s problem.” The DevOps movement did some activity to reconcile this, but it was very little and very insufficient. They started shifting everything left and saying, “Oh, you cannot say that you are not responsible for anything in production. And so now you’re responsible for 15 more things.” The time the developer had, which was already low, to write code pertaining to the core application started to reduce further as the DevOps movement started to pick up. Platform engineering came along to do a lot more reconciliation: enable developer self-service, allow for observability, monitoring, and logging to be fair to the developer and enable them to figure out what’s wrong with their code on production. It is here to make the world truly more DevOps-convergent than DevOps has managed to do.

This summary was written by Camille Gregory.