What is Platform Engineering

What is platform engineering?

IT teams, developers, department heads and CTOs need to ensure that applications and digital products are brought to market quickly, efficiently and securely and are always available. However, the conditions for this are often not in place. Compliance and security guidelines, as well as long and complicated processes, make it difficult for IT teams to achieve these goals. But this does not have to be the case and can be solved with the help of a Developer Self-Service, Internal Developer Platform or the more sophisticated platform engineering.

Vereinfachter Vergleich von Platform Engineering vs Internal Developer Platform vs Developer Self-Service.

Platform Engineering vs. Internal Developer Platform vs. Developer Self-Service

What is Platform Engineering?

Platform engineering is a new trend that aims to modernise the delivery of enterprise software. Platform engineering implements reusable tools and self-service capabilities with automated infrastructure workflows that improve developer experience and productivity. Initial platform building efforts often start with internal developer platforms (IDPs).

Platform engineering helps make the creation and delivery of software faster and easier by providing standardised tools, workflows and technical foundations. It is like a well-organised toolset and workshop for software developers to do their work more efficiently and without unnecessary obstacles.

Webinar - Platform Engineering: AWS Account Erstellung mit Developer Self-Service (Jira Service Management)

What is platform engineering used for?

The ideal development platform for one company may be completely unsuitable for another. Even within the same company, different development teams may have completely different requirements.

The main goal of a technology platform is to increase developer productivity. At company level, such platforms promote consistency and efficiency. For developers, they make it much easier to deal with delivery pipelines and low-level infrastructure.

What is an Internal Developer Platform (IDP)?

Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs), also known as Developer Self-Service Platforms, are systems that are set up within organisations to speed up and simplify the software development process. They provide developers with a centralised, standardised and automated environment in which they can write, test, deploy and manage code.

IDPs offer a range of tools, functions and processes. The goal is to provide developers with a smooth self-service experience that offers the right features to help developers and others produce valuable software with as little effort as possible.

How does Platform Engineering differ from Internal Developer Platform?

Platform engineering is the overarching area that deals with the creation and management of software platforms. As part of platform engineering, integrated development platforms (IDPs) are developed as specific tools or platforms. These offer developers self-service and automation functions.

What is a Developer Self-Service?

Developer Self-Service is a concept that enables developers to create and manage the resources and environments they need themselves, without having to wait for support from operations teams or other departments. This increases efficiency, reduces waiting times and increases productivity through independent working and faster access to resources. This means that developers don’t have to wait for others to get what they need and can get their work done faster.

How do IDPs help with this?

Think of internal developer platforms (IDPs) as a well-organised supermarket where everything is easy to find. IDPs provide all the necessary tools and services so that developers can complete their tasks without any major detours. They are, so to speak, the place where self-service takes place.

The transition to platform engineering

When a company moves from IDPs to Platform Engineering, it’s like making the leap from a small local shop to a large purchasing centre. Platform Engineering offers a wider range of services and greater automation. It helps companies to further optimise and scale their development processes.

By switching to Platform Engineering, companies can make their development processes more efficient, improve collaboration and ultimately bring better products to market faster. The first step with IDPs and Developer Self-Service lays the foundation to achieve this higher level of efficiency and automation.

Challenges that can be solved with platform engineering

Scalability & Standardisation

The number of IT projects and teams can increase rapidly in growing, but also large and well-established companies. Traditional development practices can make it difficult to scale the development environment and keep everyone homogeneous. As IT projects and applications continue to grow, there are differences in setup and configuration, security and compliance standards, as well as an overview of which users have access to what.

Platform engineering enables greater scalability by introducing automation and standardised processes that make it easier to deal with a growing number of projects and application developments.

Efficiency and productivity

Delays in the development and creation of infrastructure can be caused by manual processes and dependencies between teams, increasing the time to market. Platform Engineering helps overcome these challenges by providing self-service capabilities and automation that enable teams to work faster and more independently.

Security & Compliance

Security concerns are central to any development process. Through platform engineering, we standardise and integrate security and compliance standards upfront into the development process and IT infrastructure, enabling consistent security review and management.

Consistency and standardisation

Different teams and projects may use different tools and practices, which can lead to inconsistencies. Platform engineering promotes standardisation by providing a common platform with uniform tools and processes that can be used by all.

Innovation and experimentation

The ability to quickly test and iterate new ideas is critical to an organisation’s ability to innovate. Platform Engineering provides an environment that encourages experimentation and rapid iteration by providing the necessary infrastructure and tools in an efficient manner.

Cost control

By optimising and automating development processes, operating costs can be reduced. Platform Engineering provides the tools and practices to utilise resources efficiently, reducing the overall cost of development.

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Practical example: IDP and developer self-service with Jira Service Management and AWS

One way to get started with platform engineering is to use Jira Service Management as a developer self-service to set up AWS cloud infrastructure automatically and securely and provide templates for developers and cloud engineers in a wiki.

How does this work?

Developer Self-Service zur automatischen AWS Account Erstellung mit Jira Service management

Jira Service Management Developer Self-Service

With the help of Jira Service Management, one of our customers provides a self-service that enables developers to set up an AWS organisation account automatically and securely. This works with a simple portal and a service request form in which the user must enter information such as name, function, account type, security and technical manager and approving manager.

The account is then created on AWS in the backend using Python scripts in a build pipeline. All security and compliance-relevant standards are already integrated during setup and the JSM Self-Service is linked to the company’s Active Directory. Thanks to the deep integration with all of the company’s relevant systems, it is then possible to explicitly track who has access to what. This also makes it easier to check access and existing accounts retrospectively.

The result

The time required to create AWS organisation accounts is reduced to less than an hour (from several weeks) with the help of JSM, allowing IT teams to publish, test and update their products more quickly. In addition, an overview is created of which and how many accounts already exist and for which product, making it easier to control the costs of the cloud infrastructure on AWS.

Confluence Cloud as a knowledge database for IT teams

Of course, developer self-service is only a small part of platform engineering. IT teams need specific tools and apps that are tailored to their requirements.

One of these tools is a knowledge base in which IT teams, from developers to cloud engineers, can find relevant information such as templates that make their work easier and faster.

We have built a knowledge base with Confluence for our customer that provides various templates, courses, best practices and important information about processes. This knowledge database enables all relevant stakeholders to access important information and further training at any time.

Webinar – The first step in platform engineering with a developer self-service and JSM

Having discussed the challenges and solutions that platform engineering brings, it is important to put these concepts into practice and explore them further. A great opportunity to learn more about the practical application of platform engineering is an upcoming webinar. This webinar will have a special focus on automating AWS infrastructure creation using Jira Service Management and Developer Self-Service. Additionally, it will feature a live demo with our DevOps experts.

Webinar - Platform Engineering: AWS Account Erstellung mit Developer Self-Service (Jira Service Management)


The journey from internal developer platforms to platform engineering is a progressive step that helps companies optimise their development processes. By utilising a developer self-service and overcoming challenges in software development, platform engineering paves the way for more efficient and innovative development practices. With practical resources such as the webinar presented, interested parties can delve deeper into this topic. And also gain valuable insights into the effective implementation of platform engineering.

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