Modern software teams are mired in complexity, underproducing in critical moments for the business. To deal with this issue and boost productivity, large tech enterprises have invested heavily in infrastructure—automating repeated, error-prone tasks and enabling developer service.

In other words, they’ve invested in internal developer platforms (IDPs). Today, we’ll explore what internal developer platforms are, why they are so helpful to modern tech companies, and offer a few real-life use cases.  

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What is an internal developer platform?

An internal developer platform is a set of self-service tools that development teams can harness to configure and deploy application infrastructure. SRE / DevOps teams leverage internal developer platforms to remove the need to constantly provision/manage resources devs need on a one off basis. With an internal developer platform, engineers can design apps in ways that suit their requirements and creative visions using golden paths defined by their DevOps or infrastructure team.

Read more about internal developer platforms here

What are the benefits of internal developer platforms?

While it may take a little time for your team to adjust to an internal developer platform, they come with a range of benefits, including:

  • Greater ownership throughout the pipeline: By integrating within your existing workflows, an internal developer platform will ensure the priorities of your development and operations teams align, ensuring greater and clearer ownership at every stage of the development process.
  • Faster release cycles: By cutting down the heavy administrative work of your operations team, an internal developer platform can help you create deployment pipelines ready for production in a matter of minutes.
  • Increased automation: internal developer platforms streamline the complexities of automation, helping to future-proof your organization.
  • Facilitates self-service developer experiences: With an internal developer platform, developers can enjoy the freedom that comes with self-service technology by allowing them to request resources, set deployment automation, and much more in one easy-to-access place.
  • Better security: Many businesses are realizing the security potential of internal developer platforms, as they reduce the need for developers to access production environments (and potentially make changes).

How do today’s tech companies use internal developer platforms?

Internal developer platforms have been crucial in unlocking productivity and boosting developer experience at big tech firms. They offer similar benefits to small and mid-size companies as well. Here are some of notable cases:

  • GitHub: Without GitHub’s homegrown internal developer platform, scaling engineering would have been impossible. The company’s infrastructure was previously a web of unstructured bash scripts, putting pressure on their SRE teams, especially as the teams grew.
  • Google: Google implemented an internal developer platform to reduce the burden on its operations team and offer more freedom to its development teams.
  • Netflix: The Netflix Cosmos platform provides a home for microservices adding a workflow layer on top so devs can define or flow rules and business logic in a programmatic way.
  • Riot Games: Console, Riot Games’ internal developer platform, deprecated the company’s tangled web of standalone tools, replacing it with a layer that provides unified context pre-set by DevOps teams.
  • Spotify: Backstage from Spotify has been essential for infrastructure teams to create golden paths for their engineers controlled by DevOps.
  • TwoSigma: The company invested in an internal developer platform five years ago when it found itself supporting legacy software and cloud apps running both on prem and in multiple clouds.
  • Twilio: Back in 2013, Twilio’s rapid development outscaled its deployment capability, hamstringing its productivity. Admiral, their developer platform, shaved days off the team’s delivery cycle while letting developers freely choose language and infrastructure needs.
  • Twitter: Twitter created an internal Engineering Effectiveness department almost a decade ago to enhance customer experiences and boost ad potential. Their resulting platform doubled developer productivity.
  • Walmart: The Walmart Cloud Native Platform allows developers to freely choose from a catalog of managed services, removing the need for them to understand the nuances between Azure or Walmart infrastructure.
  • Yelp: PaaSTA, Yelp’s homegrown internal developer platform, was crucial in unlocking the company’s deployment capabilities. Thanks to its modular nature, the DevOps team was able to replace underlying infrastructure components with minimal disruption to the dev teams they support (e.g. moving from Mesos to Kubernetes).

How can my team get started with an internal developer platform?

Over the past decade, the companies listed above invested millions of dollars, several years, and multiple dedicated teams to build their custom internal developer platforms. While the return on their investment has already materialized, the good news is that you can skip the investment period altogether and buy a customizable internal developer platform as a service.

A good place to start is WayScript. Our focus is on developer experience and our speciality is building a flexible yet powerful platform that your entire team will love. We're here to talk about your particular pain points and determine how your team can get started with your internal developer platform.

Reserve some time to chat with us here
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