You’d be hard pressed to find a company in this day and age without the need for a strong DevOps function, regardless of if their core product is software related or not. DevOps is a set of practices that combines engineering and operations to enable organizations to deliver custom software faster and more reliably. Custom software is needed at all levels of a modern business, whether it’s for financial compliance, product development, customer service, and more.
However, DevOps engineers increasingly face a range of challenges as they work to implement and maintain a DevOps process within an organization, which constrains their effectiveness. An emerging solution to these challenges are internal developer platforms (IDPs). In this article, we’ll highlight the key challenges DevOps engineers face, how internal developer platforms address them, and how you can apply these learnings for your own team.
While there are a myriad of issues facing DevOps engineers, there are six main categories of challenges:
Culture change: Adopting a new DevOps process often requires a significant shift in organizational culture, as it requires close collaboration and communication between development and operations teams. This can be a challenge for organizations that are used to operating in a more siloed manner.
Tooling and infrastructure: Implementing a DevOps process often requires the adoption of new tools and technologies, as well as the integration of existing tools and systems. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, particularly for organizations that have a large and complex IT infrastructure.
Collaboration and communication: DevOps requires close collaboration and communication between development and operations teams, which can be a challenge if these teams are used to operating in a more siloed manner.
Managing complexity: As software applications become more complex, it can be challenging for DevOps teams to manage and maintain them effectively. This can be particularly challenging in environments with a large number of microservices or distributed systems.
Security and compliance: Ensuring the security and compliance of software applications can be a challenge in a DevOps process, as the rapid pace of development and deployment can make it difficult to keep up with security best practices.
Managing change: In a DevOps process, changes to software applications are made and deployed on a frequent basis. This can be a challenge for organizations that are not used to such a rapid pace of change, and can require the development of processes and tools to manage and track changes effectively.
What Are Internal Developer Platforms?
An internal developer platform, also known as an "in-house developer platform", is a set of tools, resources, and services that are provided by an organization to its developers for the purpose of building and deploying software applications. These platforms are typically only available to employees of the organization and are used to build internal tools and automations.
An internal developer platform might include version control systems, continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) tools, and testing and deployment tools that are used by both developers and DevOps as part of the software development process. This can help to streamline the development process by providing a single point of access to tools and resources, and can also help to improve collaboration and communication.
How Internal Developer Platforms Solve DevOps Challenges
Internal developer platforms can help to solve many of the challenges that DevOps teams face in a number of ways:
Culture change: An internal developer platform is a centralized platform used across teams. This makes it significantly easier for DevOps teams to roll out new processes and changes without requiring explicit buy-in from each individual function of the organization.
Tooling and infrastructure: An internal developer platform helps simplify the integration and management of tools and frameworks because it is centralized. Any updates or new integrations are uniformly rolled out across the organization.
Collaboration and communication: An internal developer platform is a shared resource across teams, enabling tool sharing and the ability to adopt a consistent set of standards and best practices for software development within an organization with relatively low effort.
Managing complexity: Internal developer platforms cut down on tool and framework redundancy and give DevOps teams a birds eye view of all the underlying infrastructure in the organization. It gives them the overarching control needed to cut down on internal tooling complexity.
Security and compliance: An internal developer platform enables DevOps to implement security best practices across teams from one central location. This ensures all software applications are developed in a consistent and predictable manner, consistently following security and compliance protocols, thus improving the reliability and quality of the applications.
Managing change: An internal developer platform can provide tools and resources for managing and tracking changes to software applications, which can help to ensure that changes are made and deployed in a controlled and predictable manner.
Using an Internal Developer Platform for your Team
Overall, using an internal developer platform as part of a DevOps process can help organizations to deliver software faster and more reliably, while also improving collaboration and communication among developers and operations staff.
Until now, large tech firms with extra resources have been building internal developer platforms in house. But for smaller companies and companies with limited infrastructure and engineering resources to spare, platforms like WayScript are a great place to get started.