What is an internal developer platform? PaaS done your way


As cloud computing, containerization, devops, and microservice architectures have established themselves as the building blocks for modern application development, the need for a simple way to manage those resources for internal software developer teams has become more and more important.

At many elite engineering organizations—think Google, Netflix, and Amazon—internal developer platforms (IDPs) ease the operations load on their devops teams, while abstracting away unnecessary decisions for software developers.

Just as former president Barack Obama only ever wore grey or blue suits to ease his cognitive load, developers working with a good internal developer platform can worry just about their code, a Git repository, and pushing to a platform that takes care of the underlying infrastructure.

What is an internal developer platform (IDP)?

Internal developer platforms are like snowflakes, in that no two are the same. Each platform varies from organization to organization depending on their stack, culture, code base, and tool set—which makes finding an agreed-upon definition somewhat difficult.

As Evan Bottcher, head of engineering at ThoughtWorks, wrote, “Words are hard, it seems. ‘Platform’ is just about the most ambiguous term we could use for an approach that is super important for increasing delivery speed and efficiency at scale.”

Bottcher’s own definition—although he prefers the term “digital platform” to “internal platform”—is “a foundation of self-service APIs, tools, services, knowledge, and support that are arranged as a compelling internal product.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.





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