Platform operations is more than a way for enterprise IT to streamline the handoff between development and operations—it’s the necessary evolution of infrastructure engineering.

Enterprise IT operations teams have a scalability problem: Traditional infrastructure can’t keep up with the demands of a digital business.

Adopting platform operations as a practice can bring the agility to infrastructure that the modern enterprise needs to meet accelerating demands of applications, development teams, and customers.

To understand the solution platform operations provides, we should examine ITOps’ pressure to scale and automate.

All Roads Lead to Automation

DevOps

When agile techniques first took hold in IT organizations, development teams were mostly the first to adopt and change how they worked. Developers soon worked so fast that QA and operations struggled to keep up.

DevOps came about as a way to resolve the ensuing bottlenecks and unite once-siloed departments.

The key to a DevOps methodology is automation at every stage of the development life cycle, including code generation, continuous integration, environment provisioning and configuration, continuous delivery, and monitoring. ITOps began implementing infrastructure as code (IaC), continuous integration, configuration management, and test automation.

Hyperscalers

At the same time, you have the proliferation of hyperscalers like AWS, Azure, and GCP. These hyperscalers provide ready-built user interfaces that act as service catalogs to many services they provide, creating sprawl.

Before ubiquitous workload migrations to the cloud, it was common for one operations engineer to manage up to a few hundred virtual machines (depending on the organization).

But that provisioning and configuration process can’t scale to meet today’s demands for elastic self-service environments. For example, what in the past would have been one virtual machine to provision and configure in today’s environment could easily equal four or five microservices or containers.

The same business that once required 1,000 virtual machines could now have tens of thousands of microservices or containers. But a company can’t hire hundreds of engineers to add operators at that scale.

Due to the speed of development teams and infrastructure technology changes, automation is the only way to keep pace.

Rise of Platforms

Automation platforms arrived on the scene to help IT operations scale to meet demand. In general, there are three types of platforms for consideration:

  • Cloud management
  • Configuration management
  • Monitoring tools

Old Way vs. New Way

Before automation platforms, the process a developer might follow to get a new server configured might look something like this:

  1. The developer opens a ticket for a new server and waits.
  2. Infrastructure engineering manually builds and configures the server.
  3. The infrastructure engineer delivers the server and closes the ticket.

With the adoption of new platforms, the process looks like this:

  1. A developer plugs into the platform and builds their server, either through integration with their code pipeline or via a self-service catalog. There’s no waiting.
  2. The infrastructure engineer maintains the platform and adds value by creating more services within it.

Platform Operations in Practice

Defining Dev and Ops Roles

Gartner defines platform operations as “the team that delivers, maintains and improves a platform as a service (PaaS).”1 The users of this platform are developers who need to deploy their applications. Just as in the “new way” example, those maintaining or operating the platform would be the infrastructure engineers.

Platform Integrations and Benefits

With infrastructure engineers spending less time on manual processes, they have more time for innovation. And with developers filling on-demand requests, they can keep pace with new feature requests and bug fix demands.

EchoStor works with enterprises to integrate platforms and ensure their infrastructure can scale to meet future demands. Typically, we see integration achieve outcomes such as:

  • Infrastructure scalability
  • Rapid development
  • More closely aligned Dev and Ops teams

The Gartner 2021 CIO Agenda report predicts 2021 will be “a race to digital,” which means the rate at which enterprise development and infrastructure teams are expected to deliver will not be slowing down.2

Explore how we can help integrate the next-gen technologies into your environments.

1 Olliffe G, Using Platform Ops to Scale and Accelerate DevOps Adoption, Gartner Information Technology Research, July 30, 2020
2 Gartner Survey of Nearly 2,000 CIOs Reveals Top Performing Enterprises Are Prioritizing Digital Innovation During the Pandemic, Gartner Press Release, October 20, 2020

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