Theory on platform engineering workflows

What do platform engineers want from a platform?

This section will help you understand what platform engineers want from an Internal Developer Platform (IDP), and what the dominant use cases for platform engineers are that we aim to solve. If you’d like to start with the first tutorial from a developer perspective head here. Or for tutorials from a platform engineer perspective, head here.

Platform engineers, infrastructure, and Ops people mostly want to get rid of repetitive tasks, but with peace of mind knowing that hordes of devs aren’t breaking stuff. Here’s what they are primarily looking for:

  1. Automation of repetitive tasks: They want to optimize default configs and add frequently used functionality to their platform. They don’t want to spend time manually reviewing or maintaining output from developers.
  2. High degree of flexibility: Platform engineers don’t want to be restricted in the way automations and configs are set. The platform should conform to the exact needs of their organization and their security practice.
  3. Driving standardization: The Internal Developer Platform setup should drive standardization of app and infrastructure config management, and enforce them as users consume them.

Most frequent use cases for platform engineers

Here are the most common platform engineer use cases in descending order of frequency:

  • Configure resources once, allow devs to reuse these resources across all their workloads to drive standardization.
  • Perform updates on resources in one place and enforce all consuming workloads to apply this update.
  • Implement automations and security relevant sign-offs across all areas of the platform.
  • Easily integrate legacy components into the organization specific “new world”.
  • Observe usage and decide where to further enhance the platform.

Next steps

Most use cases for platform engineers revolve around managing resources. Read up on this topic in our article on Resource management theory.