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DevOps / Platform Engineering

Platform Engineering Not Working Out? You’re Doing It Wrong.

In this episode of The New Stack Makers, Purnima Padmanabhan of VMware shares how platform engineering, if adopted holistically, can create a “golden path” that makes businesses move faster.
Jul 27th, 2023 6:57am by
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As organizations seek to move faster to anticipate and serve customer needs, they often make one of three mistakes, according to Purnima Padmanabhan, a senior vice president at VMware.

Mistake No. 1: customers equate application modernization with simply moving to the cloud. “And a lot of times lift and shift of applications happen, and so they’re not getting the benefits out of it,” said Padmanabhan, who is also VMware’s general manager for modern apps and cloud management business.

Mistake No. 2: A lack of automation, especially with regard to operations, as development scales. “So you start building modern apps, let’s say, and you’re building code very fast. But your infrastructure team is not up and running. They’re still doing Jira tickets … they’ve got like a million different configurations for infrastructures code, they can’t respond to that speed.”

Mistake No. 3: Adding too much complexity by adopting new technologies, or procedures like GitOps. “There are some tasks that I just want it to be simple,” she said. “I don’t want to have to write code for everything.” Bottom line: making things more complicated slows developers down.

In this episode of The New Stack Makers, Padmanabhan spoke to host Heather Joslyn, features editor of TNS, about platform engineering and how it helps create a “golden path” that speeds up not just development but overall agility for businesses.

The conversation was sponsored by VMware Tanzu.

A ‘Holistic’ Approach

Platform engineering has emerged as not only a way to speed up development but also reduce toil for operations engineers and architects, our podcast guest said.

However, she added, “People don’t know exactly how to get it done right. So that notion of platform engineering is evolving.”

The problem is that organizations are not thinking about platform engineering in a holistic way. “They may invest in a Kubernetes platform separately,” Padmanabhan said. “They may have a CI/CD pipeline and a GitOps environment separately, they may have some kind of patterns for Infrastructure as Code, but not for the application. So these often are done in pieces, but not fully connected.”

To adopt platform engineering successfully — to truly pave a “golden path” for developers — means a shift in mindset. It’s not “yet another IT function, which is doing a bunch of tasks and jobs for the development teams,” she said. The platform team members need to take on a “platform as a product” mindset.

“They are delivering an app dev platform, but it is not a one-time delivery,” Padmanabhan said. “Like you would think of a product or a service, you don’t just deliver the service.  You make sure the [service-level agreement] is continuously met, you’re constantly updating it, you’re building features, you’re building velocity. That is what they have to do.”

Listen to the full episode on the benefits of the “golden path” for entire organizations, and how to start a platform engineering team.

Free ebook: Platform Engineering: What you need to know now

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma.
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