Member post by Abhilash A, Product Marketing at Ozone

Today, Platform engineers find themselves at the forefront of transformative changes, steering the ship toward cloud-first and Kubernetes-centric architectures. The shift brings both opportunities and challenges, particularly when dealing with legacy pipelines that can impede progress. This blog explores the profound impact of Tekton and platforms like Ozone which are built on top of it, on the role of platform engineers and how it automates migrations to modern cutting-edge frameworks like Tekton seamless.

Who is a Platform Engineer?

In today’s rapidly changing technological environment, a Platform Engineer plays a vital function in expediting application delivery and optimizing business value. By combining automated infrastructure operations with self-service capabilities, they significantly enhance the developer experience. Platform engineers emerged to bridge the gap between non-expert end-users and complex services in response to the increasing complexity of modern software architectures.

What does a Platform Engineer do?

Platform Engineers are instrumental in creating and maintaining engineering platforms designed to cater to the diverse needs of software developers and beyond. This involves developing and curating internal developer portals (IDPs), providing a carefully selected set of tools and processes tailored for seamless consumption by development teams. Their goal is to create a frictionless, self-service developer experience, alleviating the cognitive load on developers and enhancing overall productivity. Platform Engineers are at the forefront of adopting new tools and technologies that simplify the process of building and maintaining platforms, making them key contributors to the DevOps community. Ultimately, their role is to enhance user experience, boost productivity, and foster consistency and efficiency across the organization.

Key Responsibilities of Platform Engineers:

1. Infrastructure Design and Implementation:

2. Monitoring Infrastructure Performance:

3. Automation of Development Lifecycle:

4. Updates and Maintenance:

5. Debugging and Issue Resolution:

Skills Needed for Platform Engineers

The Evolving Role of Platform Engineers

The role of platform engineers has evolved significantly, requiring a robust skill set to navigate the complexities of modern DevOps practices. Traditional workflows are often plagued by challenges such as slow processes, brittleness, unreliability, and high costs. We will look into how advanced solutions address these pain points, focusing on the Ozone Enterprise Tekton Platform.

The Downfall of Traditional DevOps Workflows

Traditional DevOps workflows are often characterized by their slow pace, fragility, unreliability, and high operational costs. Platform engineers face constant challenges in ensuring agility, maintaining quality and efficiency, ensuring availability and reliability, enhancing user experience, and addressing security and governance concerns. These challenges are particularly pronounced when dealing with legacy pipelines and heterogeneous environments.

Platform engineering: DevOps with a product mindset

Platform engineering can be thought of as the next step beyond DevOps. Although DevOps has helped many companies deliver software more quickly, some have encountered difficulties that have left them feeling helpless and frustrated. Platform engineering comes to aid in this context, with Its main objective being establishing specialized platform teams that construct Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs). These IDPs, which improve software delivery and increase operational scalability, have revolutionized the game for big names like Nike, Starbucks, and GitHub.

DevOps adoption brought cognitive overload due to cloud-native tech complexities and blurred role definitions, making developers responsible for excessive tasks, hindering productivity. Platform engineering introduces a product mindset, considering developers as customers and tailoring platforms to their needs, diverging from a one-size-fits-all approach. Successful platform engineers thrive on teamwork, making sure developers have a say in designing the platform to make things smoother and lighten the workload.

Platform engineering’s basic tenet is to provide developers with the resources they need to create apps using standard frameworks rather than starting from scratch. It’s all about fine-tuning and making the most of tools like Humanitec, Argo, and Backstage to give the team exactly what they need.

Platform engineering roles are still nascent, with under 23% holding explicit titles, indicating room for role customization and career shaping. Platform engineering, to put it simply, is an open book where you can design solutions that precisely match the particular requirements of a business. 

Challenges of Platform Engineers

Integration Complexity:

Managing and integrating various tools, services, and technologies within a platform can be difficult. One of the biggest challenges is ensuring smooth compatibility and interoperability between various components.

Scalability and Performance:

Scaling infrastructure while maintaining optimal performance becomes challenging as the platform grows and user demands rise. It is critical to make sure the platform can sustain increased loads and maintain reliable performance.

Security Concerns:

Platform engineers are responsible for handling system-wide security concerns. To defend against changing threats, this entails securing data, enforcing access controls, putting encryption into place, and keeping up with security best practices.

Automation and Orchestration:

Efficient management and platform-wide application deployment depend on the implementation of strong automation and orchestration procedures. It can be difficult to design and maintain automated workflows while keeping up with technological advancements.

Collaboration and Communication:

It is imperative to guarantee efficient communication and cooperation among diverse teams, such as development, operations, and security. Platform engineering initiatives must succeed in breaking down organizational silos and promoting a collaborative culture.

Tekton as a Potential for Platform Engineers

Without proper automation tools, platform engineering does not shine. The less time the developers spend on your Internal Developer Platform, the more productive they are.

How do you avoid manually requesting changes, manually doing the infrastructure-related changes and application deployments, tuning parameters, etc.? 

The answer is simple. The answer is automation! Traditional automation tools fail in (Cloud Native) Kubernetes World. But with a Kubernetes Native framework like Tekton, this becomes a possibility. 

Click here for more on what Tekton is, its advantages, and challenges.

As regards to challenges faced by platform engineers, here’s how a unified CI/CD platform with reusable Tekton pipelines can solve them:

  1. Providing a vast integration ecosystem while ensuring seamless interoperability and compatibility between tools. This helps avoid being vendor locked, giving the flexibility to choose tools that best fit existing enterprise workflows. 
  2. Being Kubernetes native, the reusable Tekton pipelines scale effortlessly without being a load on resources – they create and destroy themselves based on demand and negate the concept of runners as seen on other DevOps platforms which are resource-intensive
  3. Usually, many end-to-end CI/CD platforms embed security closely in every stage of DevOps. They offer native features like an in-built storage for secrets for dynamic secrets injection, private tunnel for private cluster management, granular RBAC, and more. 
  4. As all tools integrate on one platform, designing and maintaining automation becomes easier across the tool stack. 

Now that we’ve looked at what a platform engineer is, their responsibilities, the challenges they face, and how reusable Tekton pipelines solve these and help them become efficient, let us look at the major problem that acts as a roadblock to new-technology adoption – migrating existing resources. 

However, AI can be used to eliminate barriers to new technology migrations for platform engineers by automating pipeline migrations from legacy to Tekton

Diagram flow showing AI technology migrations for platform engineers by automating pipeline migrations from legacy to Tekton

Here’s a detailed blog on how Ozone leverages AI to ease migrations from existing pipelines to Tekton with pipeline generations based on prompts, and pipeline conversions. 

Conclusion: Embracing DevOps Excellence with Ozone

As organizations strive for DevOps excellence, platform engineers are at the forefront of adopting innovative solutions that address the shortcomings of traditional workflows. Ozone’s Enterprise Tekton Platform not only streamlines CI/CD pipeline workflows but also ensures that platform engineers can focus on strategic initiatives rather than routine toil. By embracing AI-driven features and advanced Tekton capabilities, platform engineers can propel their organizations into the future of DevOps with confidence.

Instead of spending indefinite time building your automation pipelines and integrating them with your IDP, you can use Ozone to integrate them readily with your IDP, for example, Backstage. Ozone has a Backstage plugin that you can readily use to run pipelines from your Backstage IDP. This reduces your platform implementation time from months to days.

Sign-up now for a free-for-life subscription to the Ozone platform with unlimited access to projects, users, builds, and pipelines!