Streamlining Software Development: DevOps vs. Platform Engineering

Understanding the key differences between Platform Engineering and DevOps is essential as platform engineering's popularity grows. While DevOps integrates development and operations, platform engineering offers a standardized foundation.

a month ago   •   6 min read

By Jeff Nabors
Table of contents

Understanding the differences between Platform Engineering and DevOps has become a hot topic, and the popularity of platform engineering is only rising.

DevOps aims to bridge the gap between software development and IT operations by focusing on continuous delivery and collaboration. On the other hand, platform engineering elevates this synergy by providing a robust, standardized foundation for development and deployment.

Platform engineering is a growing trend, and it’s only going to grow more. Recent market evaluations estimate that it reached a market value of $5.1 billion by the end of 2023 and will reach $55 billion by 2033.

In this article, we’ll explain both of these ideologies, how they differ, and how you can use them in your organization.

What is DevOps?

Developer Operations (aka DevOps) is a set of practices, philosophies, and cultural ideas that aim to improve collaboration between development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams, enhancing the speed and efficiency of the entire software development lifecycle. It focuses on automating and integrating the processes between software development and IT operations to build, test, and release code faster, more reliably, and with better quality.

In general, DevOps aims to speed up and support the development process with:

  • Continuous Integration - Automating the integration of code changes from multiple contributors into a single software project. This allows for earlier error detection, which improves the quality of the software and reduces the time to release.
  • Continuous Development - Automating the delivery of code changes after the integration stage, ensuring that software can be released to production at any time without risk.
  • Automated Testing - Implementing automated testing frameworks, like Selenium or Appium, to ensure code is reliable and
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC) - Managing and provisioning infrastructure through code instead of manual processes to build, test, and deploy code. This helps improve deployment speed while also boosting consistency.

What is Platform Engineering?

In contrast, Platform Engineering is a discipline and practice of designing, building, and managing a shared platform that can serve as a foundation for software development and operations. This platform typically provides a standardized set of tools, services, and infrastructure components that both developers and operations teams can use to develop, deploy, and manage applications more efficiently and securely.

Overall, the goal of platform engineering is to create a self-service environment that can enable developers to focus on delivering without the burden of complexities when it comes to development and deployment. It does so using features such as:

  • Self-Service - It offers developers automated tools and processes that allow them to provision resources, deploy applications, and manage their lifecycle without needing direct intervention from DevOps or platform engineers.
  • Standardization and Best Practices - They establish standardized development environments, deployment procedures, and operational practices aligned with your organization’s security, compliance, and performance requirements.
  • Automation and Scalability - It implements automation in provisioning infrastructure, deploying applications, and scaling resources to ensure the platform can handle varying loads and simplify operational tasks.

Platform Engineering vs. DevOps: What’s the Difference?

There is a lot of overlap when it comes to Platform Engineering vs. DevOps. Some may think that platform engineering falls under the same umbrella as DevOps, while others may feel they’re two different sides of the same coin. But how does each approach handle these areas differently?

Automation and Tooling

DevOps focuses on automating the software delivery pipeline with CI/CD and infrastructure management. It facilitates rapid development, testing, and deployment within these pipelines and uses tools that integrate development and operations workflows into the same pipeline.

Platform engineering aims to provide a robust, self-service platform that automates not only the deployment but also the provisioning of infrastructure and operational capabilities. The tools they use are more focused on enabling developers to independently manage their lifecycle needs with minimal intervention from operations teams.

Collaboration and Culture

DevOps promotes a culture between developers and operations, breaking down silos to enhance communication and streamline workflows. This extends to all individuals who are involved in the development, deployment, and maintenance of software. It’s a fundamental shift to break down barriers between departments and align all teams toward common goals.

Platform engineers also foster collaboration by creating standardized tools and platforms for both Dev and Ops teams to use. They focus more on providing the means for teams to collaborate efficiently through their platform rather than directly influencing cultural shifts.

Infrastructure and Environment Management

DevOps takes an IaC approach, emphasizing the dynamic provisioning and management of environments to support scalable and flexible development practices. It views infrastructure through the lens of operational efficiency and developer needs.

Platform engineering focuses on building and managing a centralized platform that completely abstracts infrastructure complexities. They provide a consistent, scalable, and secure environment that developers can leverage without needing deep infrastructure expertise. By providing a robust, scalable, and efficient platform, Platform Engineering enables DevOps teams to accelerate development cycles, improve deployment reliability, and enhance operational efficiency.

Monitoring and Reliability

DevOps integrates monitoring tools and practices into the development and operational workflows to ensure system reliability and fast incident response. They monitor the performance and health of applications and infrastructure to quickly identify and address issues. It involves a continuous feedback loop where operational insights lead to better development practices.

Platform engineering incorporates monitoring and reliability into the platform, offering built-in tools and services for application performance monitoring, log management, and alerting. The approach is to make these capabilities easily accessible to developers as a core part of the platform.

Security and Compliance

DevOps, mainly through DevSecOps, integrates security practices early into the development lifecycle with a shift-left approach, emphasizing shared responsibilities among developer and operational teams for security and compliance.

Platform engineering integrates security and compliance into the platform, providing frameworks and tools that automatically ensure applications are developed and deployed in compliance with organizational and regulatory standards. Embedding security into the platform architecture and lifecycle processes ensures applications are developed, deployed, and operated to meet all requirements. For a deeper understanding of why this focus on security is crucial, especially in API development, you can read more about the importance of API security. This ensures that all applications are developed, deployed, and operated to meet stringent requirements, providing a secure and reliable framework for developers.

Benefits of Integrating Platform Engineering with DevOps

Integrating platform engineering within your existing DevOps practices can bring a plethora of benefits that enhance the efficiency, reliability, and agility of software development and operational processes. Some of these benefits include:

  • Boosting Developer Productivity - It automates and standardizes processes, allowing developers to focus on coding and innovation.
  • Ensures Standardization and Compliance - Platform engineering establishes consistent environments and workflows, enhancing security and adherence to regulations.
  • Increases Operational Efficiency - It can simplify infrastructure management, monitoring, and scaling through automation, improving application availability and performance.
  • Accelerates Time to Market - You can facilitate rapid deployment cycles with continuous integration and delivery, shortening the development timeline.
  • Optimizes Costs - It reduces operational expenses through efficient resource utilization and automation of manual tasks.
  • Supports Scalability and Reliability - Using platform engineering can build an infrastructure capable of handling demand surges and recovering from failures, ensuring service continuity.
  • Promotes Collaboration and Culture - It encourages teamwork across development, operations, and security, fostering a unified approach to innovation and problem-solving.

Discover how Treblle can enhance your platform engineering efforts by streamlining API management, monitoring, and collaboration to improve overall system performance and developer interactions.

Try Treblle for Free!

How Treblle Works for Platform Engineers

Treblle is designed to make the lives of platform engineers, developers, and teams easier by offering a suite of features aimed at improving the monitoring, management, and optimization of APIs. We offer platform engineers a comprehensive package of tools to help teams create, manage, observe, and improve APIs throughout their lifecycles, such as:

  • Real-Time API Monitoring and Insights allow platform engineers to work alongside DevOps to observe and monitor endpoints, tracking response times, and identifying slow or failing requests.
  • Automatic API Documentation generates accurate and up-to-date documentation for your APIs, improving the developer experience and creating a smoother onboarding process for new developers.
  • Error Detection and Diagnostics are provided by the Treblle platform, including detailed information such as headers, body, request and response data, allowing platform engineers to quickly understand and resolve issues on the fly.
  • Collaboration and Integration with your team and your existing platform, giving you a full suite of tools for managing your APIs and integrating them with your existing workflows and tools, including Slack and Github.

Final Thoughts

It’s going to be hard to separate Platform Engineering from DevOps. The former is still an emerging field, while the latter has been an industry staple for over a decade. Both offer incredible support for your developer teams, boosting efficiency and reliability and smoother development and deployments.

We believe that DevOps is an essential part of any well-functioning organization. It simply offers too many benefits to ignore. However, platform engineering builds atop that already existing philosophy by allowing your developers to work independently, focusing on delivering quality code within a standardized platform. Adopting platform engineering is a great idea, but it shouldn’t be a driving force without an existing DevOps team.

Spread the word

Keep reading