Platform Engineering as the Key to Efficient Software Deployment - Benefits, Use Cases, Tools, and more

Written by Louis-Victor Jadavji, Co-founder of Taloflow
Reviewed on November 13th, 2023

Introduction to Platform Engineering

In today's rapidly advancing technological landscape where digital solutions are the backbone of businesses across many industries, platform engineering has emerged as a pivotal discipline that bridges the gap between innovation and execution. Platform engineering revolves around the strategic design and implementation of a cohesive ecosystem of tools, frameworks, and practices that streamline the software development process. By providing developers with a set of tools and technologies, platform engineering accelerates development lifecycle, fosters a culture of collaboration between platform and development teams, and increases productivity and efficiency. 

Ever since DevOps came into existence it has become the standard option that most engineering organizations use for automating development and IT operations. There is also an increasing trend of adopting practices like GitOps, container virtualization, infrastructure as code, augmented FinOps etc. The trend of adopting these practices in a modern cloud native setup increases the complexity in the developer ecosystem and leads to cognitive load on the already burdened developers in the organization.

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What is platform engineering?

Platform engineering is one of the biggest trends in software engineering practices today. By definition, platform engineering is a techno-cultural discipline where infrastructure or platform teams build shared tools and services which allow software developers in the organization to develop, deploy, maintain and operate cloud infrastructure in a self-service manner. Platform teams take a customer-driven mindset and treat developers as their customers. They provide self-service tooling to improve developer productivity, increase velocity and reduce errors and downtime.

Platform engineering is about the platform team building an Internal Developer Platform (IDP) to assist the developers in their day to day operations. An Internal Developer Platform typically encompasses a variety of tools that streamline and enhance the software development process within an organization. The related tools include:

  • Version control and code review platforms like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, etc.
  • GitOps tools like ArgoCD
  • CI tools like Jenkins
  • IaC tools like Terraform, Ansible, etc.
  • Infrastructure Control Planes
  • Kubernetes Control Planes
  • Databases and Storage
  • Container registries
  • Internal Developer Portals like Humanitec, Backstage, etc.
  • Security tools
  • Monitoring and observability tools

The integration of these tools, among others, helps developers in the organization deliver results faster and with increased efficiency.

Grid of platform engineering tools

It’s key to note that an Internal Developer Platform and an Internal Developer Portal are not the same. You can learn more about the differences in our post on Internal Developer Platforms.

Platform engineering vs DevOps

There are big distinctions between Platform Engineering and DevOps, but sometimes we can confuse the two because the former emerged somewhat from the latter. Below we go over the key differences between the two practices.

Platform Engineering

  • Building and maintaining internal developer platforms, tools, and services for application development and deployment.
  • Primarily focuses on creating and managing the underlying platform that developers use for application deployment and management.
  • Creates tools and automation to provide a standardized and efficient environment for development and deployment.
  • Works closely with development teams to understand their requirements and provide appropriate platforms and tools.
  • Supports continuous integration and continuous delivery by providing the necessary infrastructure and tools.
  • Requires expertise in creating and managing platforms, infrastructure, and services.
  • Aims to provide developers with a standardized, efficient, and scalable environment for application development.


  • Collaborative culture and practices that emphasize efficient collaboration between development and operations teams.
  • Encompasses processes, practices, and cultural changes aimed at improving the entire software delivery lifecycle.
  • Utilizes automation tools to streamline deployment, monitoring, testing, and infrastructure provisioning.
  • Collaborates with development and operations teams to break down silos and ensure smooth software delivery.
  • Embraces continuous integration, continuous delivery, and automation practices to achieve faster and reliable releases.
  • Involves a blend of development, operations, and communication skills to facilitate collaboration and automation.
  • Aims to improve collaboration, reduce deployment friction, increase deployment frequency, and enhance system reliability.

Platform engineering’s potential impact on productivity

One of the main prerogatives of software engineering and platform leaders is to improve developer productivity. Below we cover how platform engineering supports various aspects of your developer organization.

Platform engineering and software development

The whole platform engineering notion is to provide tools and technologies for effective and efficient delivery by software developers. Platform engineering will definitely help in improving developer experience by standardizing and automating tasks in the software delivery lifecycle. It has the potential to reduce delivery friction, access friction, and cognitive friction for the developers in the organization.

Platform engineering and cloud computing

Cloud computing is enhanced when platform engineering practices are present in the organization. Platform engineering practices will influence how organizations design, deploy, manage, and optimize their cloud-based infrastructures and services. Most of the work of platform engineers relates to serverless computing, automated provisioning, programmable infrastructures, Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) and more.

Platform engineering and data analysis

Platform engineering practices help support the underlying data infrastructure and help in coming up with tools for data engineers, data analysts, data scientists, and ML engineers. This involves hiring a data platform engineer whose main job is improving the user experience of a self-service data platform used by cross-functional teams. 

Platform engineering and automation

The foundational aspect of platform engineering is automation. Automation will help the platforms developed by platform engineers to rapidly scale and support the growing user base in the organization. Automation will help with configuration management, infrastructure standardization, self-service provisioning, and a couple of other areas as well. 

Platform engineering and artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence can be used to improve Platform engineering practice in an organization. AI can be used to monitor the performance of the platform and identify issues in real time. Chatbots and virtual assistants can be used to answer frequent questions asked by the developers about the platform. AI can be used to predict resource usage and allocate resources accordingly.

Platform engineering and cybersecurity

Platform engineering has a significant impact on cybersecurity by influencing how organizations design, implement, and maintain secure technology platforms and infrastructures. Platform engineers would increasingly integrate security tools in their internal developer portals to improve integrity and secure the infrastructure.

How to start platform engineering teams 

Platform engineering teams can reduce the cognitive load on developers by providing self-service tools that also improve developer experience. However, starting and scaling a platform team can be challenging as it requires a shift in mindset to a platform-as-a-product approach. It also requires executive buy-in which is very difficult considering the cost involved in such initiatives. Starting a platform engineering practice within an organization involves careful planning, clear communication, and strategic execution. 

One of the very first things to be done in the organization is to identify the pain points and challenges faced by development teams in your organization. What inefficiencies or bottlenecks are they experiencing that a platform could address? Then define clear goals for the platform engineering practice. This should be done by identifying a platform owner who sets the strategic direction and roadmap. Platform owners are essentially people who have strong technical experience but who also possess business acumen. They have the right mix of understanding of the technical aspects of software delivery as well as good communication skills so they can be vocal about the benefits associated with platform teams. 

Once you are done with building out a plan, present the idea of a platform engineering practice to key stakeholders and executives. Clearly articulate the benefits it will bring to the organization such as improved efficiency, reduced development costs, and faster time-to-market. Once there is buy-in from the executive team, platform owners must work with developers, architects, and other stakeholders to build a reference architecture for the platform engineering practice in the organization. 

Once the budgetary allocation has been made for building a platform team, start with hiring platform engineers. Platform engineers’ main responsibility is building and managing an internal developer platform. They collaborate with developers and management to ensure that the infrastructure is reliable, scalable, and capable of handling the needs of the applications over time. Platform engineers manage, design, and implement the infrastructure to support the smooth functioning of an application. Their core responsibilities revolves around the following things:

  • Designing and implementing the infrastructure
  • Monitoring the infrastructure 
  • Automating the infrastructure deployment 
  • Focusing on security and compliance standardization
  • Identifying areas for process and efficiency improvement

The platform engineer's role within a platform team is multifaceted and essential for creating a stable, efficient, and developer-friendly environment that supports the organization's software development goals. Platform engineers contribute to the overall success of the organization by enabling faster, more reliable, and scalable software delivery. 

The combination of a platform owner and platform engineers will help maximize value from their work and will help in building platform engineering initiatives in the organization.

How has Taloflow evaluated platform engineering vendors

Taloflow has taken an approach of identifying different use cases for platform teams and has tried to identify the product features that would be most needed for fulfilling these use cases. These product features are split across different dimensions like compliance, security, developer experience, monitoring and observability, scalability and performance, integration, infrastructure provisioning, automation and orchestration, analytics and insights, and pricing. 

Platform engineering use cases 

At Taloflow we identified seven different use cases that might be relevant for organizations starting their platform engineering journey. These are all primarily inspired by real companies and the real use cases they have.

  1. Service catalog - A service catalog is essential for enhancing collaboration, promoting reuse, and streamlining the consumption of services and APIs. It offers a comprehensive, organized overview of platform services, enabling users to discover, understand, and utilize these services efficiently.
  2. Platform orchestration - Platform orchestration is indispensable for maintaining scalability, reliability, and efficiency within complex platform architectures. It automates deployment and management tasks, diminishes manual labor, and ensures consistent operations across the platform. As a vital use case in platform engineering, platform orchestration manages and coordinates the deployment, scaling, and lifecycle of services and applications on the platform.
  3. Platform-as-a-Product - The concept of "Platform-as-a-Product" focuses on considering the platform itself as a product, delivering value to its users. It involves applying product management principles to the platform's development and management. Adopting this mindset enables platform engineering teams to create platforms that provide value, drive innovation, and cultivate a thriving ecosystem. This approach ensures the platform aligns with user needs, is user-friendly, and evolves with changing needs and technological advances.
  4. Internal Developer Portal - An internal developer portal, often referred to as an internal API portal or developer hub, acts as a central resource for developers within an organization. It provides a self-service environment for developers to discover and utilize internal APIs, tools, documentation, and resources for application and integration development. This portal centralizes knowledge and resources, encourages best practices, and nurtures a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.
  5. GitOps workflow automation - In the context of platform engineering, automation is pivotal for efficiently implementing the GitOps workflow. Integrating automation into the GitOps workflow allows organizations to achieve quicker, more reliable deployments, reduce human errors, ensure environment consistency, and enhance overall efficiency and scalability of their platform operations.
  6. Container visualization - Container visualization tools in platform engineering provide a graphical depiction of the container cluster and its resources. These tools allow platform engineers to gain insights into the cluster's health, resource allocation, and application deployments, making it simpler to understand and manage the complex interactions within a container environment. By visualizing the container environment, platform engineers can make informed decisions as well as  effectively operate and maintain their platforms.

Platform engineering tools

Grid of platform engineering tools

There are many vendors within the platform engineering space. It’s a really big tent. Some of these include: 

  • Ambassador Telepresence - Ambassador Labs' Telepresence connects your local developer environment, network, and file system to any remote Kubernetes cluster (i.e., local-to-remote dev environments), so you can test remotely with the same ease of testing in your local environment. Pairing Telepresence with the GitOps-friendly Ambassador Cloud lets you view and manage Kubernetes-based services across the entire software development lifecycle. Ambassador's Edge Stack API gateway can also improve overall platform visibility and traffic management.
  • Configure8 - Configure8 is an internal developer portal that organizes information about your applications, services, environments, and development tools. The platform's centerpiece is the universal catalog, which displays the services, environments, and resources that power your applications and maps their dependencies across your cloud-based and on-premise infrastructure. Configure8 also supplies scorecards to enable organizational standards for measuring and understanding software development metrics, self-service action capabilities wrapped in a no-code interface, and robust cloud cost management features.
  • CrossPlane - CrossPlane is an open-source and cloud-native framework for building control planes without code. It is highly extensible with a highly configurable front-end while also working with many popular cloud-native tools. CrossPlane allows users to define an application's desired state through reusable and version-controlled configurations based on packages, providers, managed resources, and composite resources.
  • Cycloid - Cycloid offers an easy-to-use self-service portal with a cloud cost estimator, which lets developers build, test, deploy, and interact with infrastructure autonomously while focusing on sustainable business practices. Cycloid's features include pipelines, infrastructure views, and automation KPIs, as well as a self-service catalog of "stacks" replicated from manually-deployed infrastructure.
  • Humanitec - Humanitec helps organizations build their internal developer platforms and achieve golden paths for developers with three principal solutions: the Platform Orchestrator, Score, and Drivers. Together, these tools help organizations convert their traditional or legacy CI/CD infrastructure into one based on modern platform-centric tooling oriented towards maximizing developer productivity.
  • Kratix - Kratix is an open-source framework to support platform teams by delivering a curated Kubernetes-native platform-as-a-product. The Kratix platform comprises three main elements: Platform APIs, a general interface for platform consumers; Promises, which are YAML documents that establish the contract between the platform and its users; and Clusters, a registry of Kratix Worker Clusters. Kratix provides a flexible solution for building secure, up-to-date platforms. 
  • Port - Port is a no-code platform, empowering platform engineers to construct comprehensive internal developer portals that enhance the developer experience and accelerate delivery. Its highly extensible architecture revolves around four principal elements: Software Catalog, Self-service Actions, Scorecards, and Workflow Automation. Additionally, Port presents a dynamic inventorying architecture that supports CI/CD flows, clusters, dev environments, pipelines, and deployments.
  • Backstage - Backstage, an open-source platform, revolutionizes the management of developer services and infrastructure. It showcases a unified front-end, consolidating services, documentation, and infrastructure tooling in a standardized format. Backstage houses five critical features: the Software Catalog, a scaffolder, Techdocs, Backstage Search, and Backstage Kubernetes. Backstage promotes an organized and practical approach to infrastructure management.
  • Mia Platform - Mia-Platform is an Internal Developer Platform (IDP) designed to optimize the delivery and lifecycle management of cloud-native applications. It provides an all-encompassing suite of services, including built-in CI/CD, microservices development and orchestration, and API management. Mia-Platform adopts a multi-Git provider approach, fully compatible with all Kubernetes providers, ensuring versatility and adaptability in the ever-evolving cloud landscape.
  • Env0 - Env0 is an advanced Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) automation platform dedicated to simplifying the management of cloud-native and multi-cloud environments. It leverages the power of popular IaC tools such as Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, or Google Cloud Deployment Manager, enabling users to define their infrastructure configurations as code. Env0 supports self-service environments, offers cost management tools, and extends customizable workflows.
  • Spacelift - SpaceLift is a platform designed for Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) management and CI/CD processes, making cloud stack automation and orchestration seamless. The platform is compatible with popular IaC tools like Terraform, CloudFormation, Ansible, Kubernetes, and others. SpaceLift includes features to automatically deploy stacks, detect drift to keep infrastructure in its intended state by highlighting inconsistencies, and present a consolidated view of the infrastructure's health.
  • Atlantis - Atlantis, an open-source platform, is an innovative multi-cloud solution to enhance and automate Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) deployment. Critical features of Atlantis include automated plan and apply functions, policy-driven controls, the flexibility to configure different Terraform configurations for distinct branches or environments, support for multiple Terraform versions, and support for the isolated execution of Terraform commands. 
  • VMware Tanzu - Tanzu is VMware's suite for building, running, and managing modern, cloud-native applications. The products in the Tanzu suite collectively facilitate efficient application development, providing a runtime for microservices, automating container creation and management, and supporting multi-cloud Kubernetes operations. Tanzu's Cartographer conventions allow operations teams to define cross-cutting behaviors in a manner directly relevant to developers' intents. 
  • Dell Apex - Dell's APEX is a subscription-based service specializing in hardware provisioning and monitoring for hybrid cloud environments. APEX offers integrated support for Azure Cloud, RedHat OpenShift, and VMware alongside other services, including data storage, backup, analytics, and container services. As part of Dell's endeavor to streamline multi-cloud experiences, APEX is a cornerstone of its multi-cloud strategy.
  • DuploCloud - DuploCloud is a low-code/no-code automation platform designed to streamline infrastructure provisioning, enhance observability, and enforce built-in security and compliance measures. It provides an application-centric abstraction layer over the cloud provider, enabling users to deploy applications without in-depth DevOps knowledge. DuploCloud also includes a feature-rich IDE with debugging tools, syntax highlighting, and smart code completion, providing an excellent coding experience.
  • HashiCorp - The HashiCorp Cloud Platform offers a range of services focused on infrastructure automation and management, security, multi-cloud service networking, and application deployment workflows. HashiCorp aims to standardize developer access across multi-cloud environments and automate workflows, connecting all its services through the HashiCorp Virtual Network (HVN). HashiCorp's popular open-source offering, Terraform, delivers Infrastructure-as-Code by transforming cloud APIs into declarative configuration files.
  • Calico - Calico by Tigera is a cloud-native application protection platform offering observability features for containers and Kubernetes. It offers features for egress access controls, visibility, and troubleshooting, enterprise security controls, firewall extensions to Kubernetes, self-service security policies, and micro-segmentation. Its enterprise edition offers a dynamic service graph, showcasing a graphical representation of microservices and deployments and comprehensive features for full-stack observability.
  • KOP from Rafay - The Kubernetes Operations Platform (KOP) from Rafay provides automation capabilities for developers and operations personnel to manage Kubernetes clusters seamlessly. Key features of Rafay include drift detection, cluster multitenancy management, automated Kubernetes cluster provisioning, and a Backstage plugin for building an Internal Developer Portal. It also offers cluster blueprints for templating and enforcing configurations across Kubernetes clusters, facilitating consistent management and efficient operation.

To wrap up, platform engineering is becoming a cornerstone in today's pursuit of greater developer efficiency, team collaboration, and system scalability and agility. The diversity of vendors in this space offers a rich tapestry of innovative solutions, allowing businesses to tailor their technological infrastructure to their unique needs. As you navigate the ever-evolving digital terrain, we invite you to learn more about the vendors and the use cases they suit best using our decision tool - sign up here.

Platform Engineering Conferences and Events


Organized by Humanitec, PlatformCon is a free virtual event for the platform engineering community and its growing significance in the cloud-native era​​​​. It attracts over 22,000 attendees globally, and the 2023 version of the conference featured 169 talks over two days. PlatformCon 2024 is scheduled for June 10-14 2023.


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