Undoubtedly, the cloud can be an everyday enabler of better business. However, it’s also become a springboard for an all-encompassing digital transformation. Within cloud computing, organizations can take advantage of standardized building blocks to avoid having to construct bespoke platforms and landing zones again and again. Incorporating commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and SaaS tooling now frees customers from having to fully manage environments themselves. Out-of-the-box functionalities abound and a wealth of insights into workload types allow for finer granularity of costs, among other metrics.
Because combining COTS and SaaS solutions requires a holistic view on the IT ecosystem, we’re seeing more and more requests for platform engineering skills in the cloud. In choosing to apply this engineering method, organizations can define a cloud baseline and presents all its technical possibilities in a ready-to-deploy platform. A single team centralizes and controls the cloud security, costs, and architectural principles while simultaneously developing features and driving innovation.
The result is a self-service capability that lets DevOps teams work more efficiently and consistently. In turn, new capabilities can be scaled quickly in a controlled, structured, and standardized way. When IT talent is scarce, smarter methods like this offset the demand for more workers and skills training. They also let organizations be more future-oriented, setting their sights on ways to improve their strategic business value over the long term.
We experienced this vividly ourselves when revamping our private cloud, sbp.cloud, launched this past May. Applying platform engineering to build and maintain our hybrid-ready cloud gives our engineers a consumable service that eases their everyday work. But it makes them happier too, affording more time to flex their creative muscles.
A mix-and-match approach
A cloud platform essentially serves as a base within the ecosystem of an enterprise. The first IT ecosystems were relatively small and prepared to accommodate several distinct roles needed to upkeep several distinct services. Nowadays, the ecosystems have grown larger and more complex, populated by an array of DevOps and other IT teams, SaaS providers, and stakeholders all in constant interaction with the outside world of regulators and auditors. But within this complexity, a mix-and-match approach to cloud service selection actually makes for tailormade resilience – hence, less risk and more simplicity.
More and more organizations are seeking the right multi-cloud strategy, incorporating multiple clouds from multiple suppliers, sometimes even on a small scale. Those that specifically choose a combination of private and public clouds in a hybrid setup are likely to experience high-level automation. This often raises productivity and cost-effectivity while having in place safeguards that bolster security and compliance. To illustrate, a hybrid cloud can accelerate the development of new applications by letting customers take advantage of services already offered by a hyperscaler. Or for improved budget management, workloads with high-cost requirements can be kept on-premises while the public cloud provides a playground for experimentation – concretely, this can take the form of hardware that is both powerful and affordable enough to run specialized techniques, such as AI. Within a ransomware remediation plan, short-term backups can be made on the public cloud and offsite backups elsewhere. Hybridity also brings benefits of the shared responsibility model that holds cloud suppliers accountable for some aspects of security.
In a way, our engineers have in fact been platform engineering since 2004, when we started deploying platforms. That term wasn’t in circulation then as it is currently, but it well captures the end-to-end approach we have always followed: ensuring organizations best use their business-enabling assets while enabling them to become self-sufficient. Back then our customers had no mature cloud to consider incorporating in an IT ecosystem. Nevertheless, they were just as ready to make smart choices to boost their business. And we were as ready then as we are now, helping them to boost their resilience and be baround to flourish in the cloud era and beyond.