Wondering how to create a perfect reusable toolchain for all software delivery needs? This article brings you the must-have tools for platform engineering.
Keeping up with the production demands of your software development business can be challenging when you got only a few developers. However, you can transform your software development and delivery process using the platform engineering concept. It removes friction and bottleneck from the developers’ path and makes them more productive.
If you do not have an in-house platform engineer or the budget, no worries. This article will help you get started utilizing your own software development expertise and a few dev tools.
What Is Platform Engineering?
Platform engineering is a practice of standardizing the entire DevOps cycle with reusable software development tools, frameworks, and infrastructure. You can consider it as a production line machinery used in consumer goods factories. You simply make minor changes in the production machines and create different products in different batches.
With platform engineering, the same is true for software and mobile app development. You no longer need to overhaul the entire DevOps toolchain when developing a completely different app than the last project because you are using reusable and standardized toolchains compatible with various programming languages, containerization concepts, and testing tools.
Here is why every software development business must set up its own platform engineering toolchain:
It creates a stable and scalable foundation for software development.
To integrate various services and applications, you need platform engineering tools.
Platform engineering ensures the reliability and security of the entire DevOps platform.
It reduces the cognitive load of developers so they can focus on the actual program.
Platform engineering promotes innovation and smooth operations through collaboration.
You can deliver more software and mobile apps using fewer developers, QA engineers, and testers.
What to Look For in a Platform Engineering Toolchain?
Find below how to pick the best dev tools for your platform engineering needs:
The tools you pick should come with easy integration via coding, no-code, and APIs. So, if you need to add specialized software to the tech stack, you can easily integrate it with the existing toolchain.
Security is an indispensable feature when it comes to choosing software development applications.
Also, all the dev tools must come with scaling options. When your software development needs increase, you can scale up the tools.
If possible, choose open-source tools that you can customize anytime according to business logic changes in your apps in the future.
The tools you choose must also provide extensive developer documentation.
Not to mention, these tools should be used globally by various DevOps teams and host an extensive community support platform.
Avoid dev tools that come with an extensive learning curve. If the project needs it, then provide adequate training to the DevOps team.
Now that you got a glimpse into the basics of platform engineering, it is time to learn the dev tools you must include in it.
If a developer team is working on a distributed software architecture, choosing Atlassian Compass will let your team collaborate in a single platform. It is not only easy to use, its endless flexibility enables you to offer the perfect developer experience to the team.
This platform lets you track your technical architecture and the collaborating team with the component overview, task dependencies, and component activity. It also offers a scoreboard for DevOps health where you can check if the best practices for security, compliance, and reliability are maintained.
Here, teams can also perform CheckOps to find out operational problems and build action items to resolve these. Integrating your existing tools, you can extend and customize your Compass experience. Additional features include criteria weighting, global scorecard view, team announcement, and defining component data.
Qovery is a modern platform where engineering teams can automate their cloud infrastructure without any cloud-related knowledge or effort. It supports efficient cloud infrastructure deployment through automation and lets you get rid of manual Ops work.
Whether you need it for app development, Ops, or QA, this solution can automate infrastructure asset provisioning. DevOps teams can gain more control over their infrastructure through tool and workflow integration.
Here, best practices, regulations, and compliances can be maintained with custom policies and governance controls. You can integrate 125 tools with Qovery to continue using your existing solutions for CI/CD, security, and monitoring, such as AWS, GitHub, and Slack. It also supports migration from Heroku to AWS within half an hour.
Backstage is a popular developer portal platform that is also open source. The out-of-the-box Backstage deployment includes the following modules: a Software Catalog, many high-quality Software Templates, TechDocs for software documentation, an app store for plugins, and Backstage Search as a search engine.
Try using it to experience how It restores order to your infrastructure and enables product teams to ship high-quality code quickly. Also, you no longer need to micromanage the dev teams because Backstage standardization frees them from infrastructure complexity. Devs can put themselves into auto-pilot mode when connected to a centralized dev portal.
The database is the backbone of any software or app. This is the pool of data from which an app serves the end user. If you are developing many computer and mobile applications, you must follow database DevOps for its development. Bytebase is a popular database DevOps tool you can check out for free.
Record database schema modification history with VCS integration
Role-based database access and governance
Disaster recovery with data rollback
Bytebase is a must-have for your platform engineering tech stack if your project includes these use cases:
Automating database change
Manage multiple databases in it for online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP)
Enforce access control using approvals, anonymization, etc.
Enforcing business policies in database schemas
Need to share customer or third-party database with a client or external collaborator? Find here the best data masking tools.
Due to the flat architecture of Kubernetes, you can not share resources within the Namespaces of a specific Tenant. Hence, cluster administration usually provides a dedicated cluster for each developer, project team, and business department. As your organization grows with many software delivery orders, the numbers of clusters also increase. This creates cluster sprawl, and it is not good for DevOps.
Meet Capsule, a smart management tool for Kubernetes Namespaces using Namespace abstraction on the same cluster and tenant. Capsule Controller manages Namespaces in such a way that users can create as many Namespaces as they need in the same tenant by sharing resources. Then, the Capsule Policy Engine isolates each tenant from the other to enforce tenant autonomy.
Using Kestra, you can seamlessly create and deploy data pipelines workflow and database orchestration. Here, you do not have to be a coding expert for complex data processing. You may use YAML language or its low-code editor to create and manage workflows for better productivity.
Its flexible scheduling lets you manage and orchestrate all kinds of data workflows. It also eliminates production bottlenecks with reliable automation. The solution also comes with an extensive plugin library from where you can choose third-party systems and services.
Developers can use its comprehensive UI to execute and monitor the tasks from here. It is also ideal for scalable data operations where you need to define, schedule, execute, and optimize your workflows in easy steps.
Svix offers an open-source, self-hosted webhook service for developers. It handles the deliverability and security of each API call made by the developers. This powerful webhook API offers a world-class webhook experience to the users.
While building your own webhooks will take a lot of time, knowledge, and effort, this platform offers you the same service with high security, reliability, and scalability. From Svix, you will also get the highest security and compliance with SOC 2 Type II, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, and others.
To deliver you the latest webhook service, Svix offers a customizable application portal, SDKs for your preferred language, and Signature verification libraries. Additionally, you get data retention for a minimum of 7 days, support for SLAs, retry scheduling, static source IPs, team management, Google Workspace SSO, and many more.
Cloudify helps you to create an autopilot software development environment by integrating cloud infrastructure, dev tools, and technologies. It automates the infrastructure through the environment-as-a-service framework.
Also, it enables continuous deployment and management of different private data centers, clouds, and Kubernetes services from a centralized control panel. Furthermore, Cloudify empowers the developers so they can self-service their own software development environments.
Harbor is a free-to-use container registry that secures artifacts with role-based access control and policies. It also ensures that container images have been scanned following a standardized method and that the container file is free from vulnerabilities.
Many software development companies like OVHcloud, TREND Micro, dynatrace, etc., have been using Harbor as a container registry for the following these features:
Vulnerability and security analysis of container image
Web UI as a graphical user interface and API for integration into own tools
Integrate identity policies and give role-based access to container images
Furthermore, Harbor signs the container images as trusted according to your organization’s policies.
Zipkin is a trusted tool for all your distributed tracing system needs. When you need to resolve latency issues in service architectures, Zipkin helps you to accumulate timing data. It can collect such data from the frontend to the backend and, subsequently, the databases.
Besides collecting time stamps of service performance from frontend to backend, Zipkin also lets you look up such data. The look-up works using a trace ID in the log file. If you do not have one, you can perform database queries like operation name, service name, duration, and tags.
When you need to create, launch, and manage cloud infrastructure for your DevOps project, look no further than Pulumi. It is an open-source IaC (Infrastructure-as-a-Code) platform for any programming language you use for software development.
You can also use natural language commands to instruct its built-in coding AI to write codes for any IaC programs for Pulumi IaC.
At the time of writing, Pulumi supports more than 120 packages like AWS Classic, Azure Native, Google Cloud Classic, Kubernetes, Alibaba Cloud, and more. The list is increasing as more cloud providers enter the market.
If you are looking for chaos engineering to test your distributed software under intentionally introduced faulty and failure scenarios, you can use Chaos Mesh. You deploy it on any cloud Kubernetes cluster using a single line code.
Some of its key features are:
You can subject the software to chaos engineering in its production environment without changing the core business logic.
An option to reverse the injected faults and failures is just like undoing edits in a document editor.
There is a dashboard to manage all the chaos engineering projects.
It does not need any special dependencies. You can also deploy it on local Kubernetes clusters created on kind and minikube.
Cutter is the graphical user interface version of Rizin.io. Rizin is a command line tool for software disassembly in reverse engineering projects. Hence, Rizin offers less convenience when it comes to complex software decompiling.
So, you can use Cutter on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computers to disassemble applications using advanced graphing, flowcharting, visualization, and freely positionable widgets.
Its key features include the following:
Native Ghidra’s decompiler
Remote and native debugging module
Python scripting engine
Python plugins to extend Cutter’s functionalities
According to the developer, you can best utilize Cutter in projects like malware analysis, crypto algorithm analysis, and workflow automation analysis.
Now you know how to set up a successful platform engineering toolchain using the above dev tools. All the above dev tools come with a basic free plan. Also, some of these are open source and available on GitHub. It should not be any challenge for you to subscribe to these software development tools to get started with multiple dev projects.
Software development starts with an integrated development environment (IDE). So, find the best IDE for programmers.