7 Key Methods to Build Scalable and Flexible Digital Products with Platform Engineering
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In modern technology, successful digital products and platforms are built on the bedrock of scalability and flexibility. Whether it’s a burgeoning startup or an established enterprise, adapting, growing, and handling increased loads without compromising performance is crucial. Platform engineering stands at the forefront of this paradigm, offering methodologies and frameworks that enable the creation of robust, scalable, and flexible systems capable of meeting evolving demands.
According to Gartner, platform engineering is revolutionizing the developer landscape, enhancing productivity through self-service features and automated infrastructure operations. Its rising popularity stems from the commitment to streamline developer experiences and turbocharge product teams’ ability to deliver customer value swiftly.
“Platform engineering emerged in response to the increasing complexity of modern software architectures. Today, non-expert end users are often asked to operate an assembly of complicated, arcane services,” says Paul Delory, VP Analyst at Gartner. “To help end users, and reduce friction for the valuable work they do, forward-thinking companies have begun to build operating platforms that sit between the end user and the backing services on which they rely.”
The Role of Platform Engineering
Platform engineering encapsulates the strategies, practices, and technologies employed to design, develop, and maintain the infrastructure and software platforms. Its core focus lies in crafting systems that scale seamlessly and remain adaptable to changing business needs. This approach involves building for the present, envisaging the future, and constructing systems that can evolve alongside it.
According to Gartner, by 2026, the adoption rate of platform engineering within major software engineering entities will reach 80%, with dedicated teams established to serve as internal providers of reusable services, components, and tools for application delivery. The primary aim of platform engineering lies in resolving the core challenge of collaboration between software developers and operators.
The US-based leading video-on-demand over-the-top (OTT) streaming service company Netflix demonstrates platform engineering’s pivotal role in enabling companies to construct and expand their platforms, ensuring dependable services and outstanding user experiences. Their highly scalable and robust platform facilitates seamless streaming for millions globally. Leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS), Netflix heavily invests in cloud infrastructure, dynamically scaling based on demand.
Understanding Scalability and Flexibility in Platform Engineering
Scalability and flexibility are the foundation of modern platform engineering, enabling systems to evolve and expand seamlessly. Scalability refers to a system’s ability to handle growing demands by efficiently accommodating increased workload or user base without compromising performance. It involves designing architectures that scale up or down based on fluctuating needs, ensuring consistent service delivery.
Flexibility, on the other hand, emphasizes adaptability and agility within the system. A flexible platform can easily integrate new features, technologies, or modifications without causing disruptions. It enables rapid innovation, empowering engineers to respond swiftly to market changes or user preferences. Together, scalability and flexibility form the cornerstone of robust platform engineering, fostering stability, innovation, and sustained growth in today’s dynamic technological landscape.Top of Form
Architecting for Scalability and Flexibility
When designing for scalability and flexibility, many strategies and approaches empower platforms to evolve and adapt to changing demands. Here are the key methods and frameworks in platform engineering that underpin this transformative process:
- Microservices Architecture
Breaking down monolithic structures into interconnected services offers multifaceted benefits. It allows each service to scale independently, isolates faults, and simplifies maintenance. This modular approach ensures better agility and scalability.
- Elasticity through Cloud Technologies
Leveraging the capabilities of cloud services offers unparalleled flexibility. The ability to dynamically scale resources based on fluctuating demand optimizes costs and performance. This elasticity is foundational in accommodating variable workloads.
- Containerization and Orchestration
Harnessing container technologies like Docker and orchestrators like Kubernetes revolutionize deployment, scaling, and management. It ensures consistent performance across diverse environments and simplifies the handling of complex systems.
- Automated Scalability
Implementing auto-scaling mechanisms introduces agility into systems, allowing them to adapt in real time. By responding to predefined triggers or metrics, systems can seamlessly adjust resources, maintaining optimal performance even during sudden surges in demand.
- API-First Approach
Developing versatile, well-documented APIs that easily integrate with external systems ensures future-proofing against technological shifts. This approach fosters adaptability and supports seamless integration into various ecosystems.
- Modular and Composable Design
Creating components or modules that are easily replaceable, upgradable, or extendable enhances adaptability. This design philosophy enables swift adjustments to changing requirements without compromising the core architecture.
- Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
Embracing CI/CD pipelines automates the software delivery, fostering rapid iteration and deployment. This agility in development and release cycles ensures systems remain flexible, accommodating changes swiftly and effectively.
Platform engineering, emphasizing scalability and flexibility, is a linchpin in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. By adopting scalable architectures, embracing flexible design principles, and leveraging cutting-edge technologies, organizations can build platforms capable of not just meeting but exceeding the demands of an ever-changing market. The key lies in not just engineering for the present needs but laying a foundation that can adapt and scale for the future, ensuring sustained success in an increasingly competitive environment.
At Cigniti, platform engineering is a cornerstone, driving innovation and excellence in our solutions. Our dedicated platform engineering teams are the architects behind robust, scalable, and adaptable systems that form the backbone of our offerings.
We prioritize cutting-edge methodologies, leveraging the latest technologies to build platforms that seamlessly integrate, scale effortlessly, and deliver unparalleled performance. With a focus on scalability, flexibility, and reliability, our platform engineering ethos ensures that our clients receive transformative solutions ready to overcome the challenges of dynamic landscapes.
Learn more about Cigniti’s Software Products & Platform Engineering.