What Is an Internal Developer Platform?
Learn whether your team needs an internal developer platform and how to start making one
We’ve come a long way from lone coders working line-by-line in Assembly, but cloud-native development has introduced its own new layers of complexity to the process. Depending on what kind of project your team works on, what size of team (or teams) you have, and what types of tooling and technology any given task may need, you may end up with enough complexity to substantially inflate the time developers spend on peripheral tasks rather than where they’re needed most.
That’s where an internal developer platform (IDP) comes in. Though an IDP isn’t necessarily the answer for every single organization, large tech companies that are looking for a flexible solution to keep their developers and operations specialists working in the sweet spot, all while being ready to scale up when and how they may need it, should know what goes into making one.
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What is an internal developer platform?
An internal developer platform is a set of standardized tools and technologies that enables developer self-service, offering convenient access to what they need to create and deploy compliant code in their day-to-day work. It’s worth noting that “internal developer platform” is an umbrella term that can encompass a variety of different platform engineering solutions from company to company, but is most commonly used in the context of cloud development, where they serve to facilitate interoperability between traditionally disparate services and protocols, leading to more efficient hybrid work environments. IDPs can serve as a force multiplier for developing and provisioning cloud-native applications as well as migrating existing applications to the cloud.
An effective internal developer platform ensures developers always have what they need to get their job done while freeing up the operations team to focus on systemic support rather than case management. Here some specific benefits that come from a well-implemented IDP:
- Removes bottlenecks: Providing developers with the tools they need to “self serve” their work at each stage of the development process means they won’t have to wait for tickets to clear on the platform side, or even worse, have to scramble to find who they need to talk to in order to get movement on a particular dependency.
- Accelerates onboarding: It’s difficult to appreciate just how many daily processes may rely on pre-established knowledge — what comes from whom, what services are needed, and the specific protocols that must be followed for deployments — until you try to introduce a new employee to them all. Furnishing developers with an IDP specifically built to enable your organization’s workflow can automate many, if not all, of those potential friction points, significantly reducing onboarding time and the cognitive load required to start working effectively.
- Scales with your organization: Building your own IDP means you’re always supplied with the tools you need, what technologies you must integrate with, and how many people you need to support in any particular capacity. While it may mean a substantial upfront investment as employees both create and become accustomed to the internal developer platform, these expenses could easily pay off over time.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of using an IDP and one tool that can effectively serve as an out-of-the-box solution for creating or migrating cloud-native applications, read our report based on a survey of 500 IT professionals:
Who should use an internal developer platform?
Whether or not you need to implement an internal developer platform will vary greatly based on the specifics of your business; in particular, the current size of your development team will be one of the most important determinants. If you’re running a startup that has just a handful of developers and no dedicated operations staff, it would likely be unwise to add the construction of a formal IDP to their workload.
However, IDPs can quickly become an indispensable investment for SMBs and enterprise-level organizations. This is especially true in environments where dozens or hundreds of developers may contribute to the same project, with each focusing on their own narrow slice of the overall vision. Companies involved with cloud application provisioning and development are also a natural fit for IDPs, since the increased complexity of working in cloud environments makes the baseline access and interoperability ensured by IDPs especially valuable.
A suitable IDP will ensure that each developer has the tools they need and their deployments are done in a compliant way that results in minimal downtime. As noted before, the automated layers of IDPs are a boon for rapidly onboarding new developers, and a useful tool for teams that are growing fast or plan to in the near future.
How IDPs Help Cloud Native Application Developers
As we’ve noted before, IDPs are an especially potent tool for developers working on cloud native applications, or in bringing existing applications to the cloud. Here are three ways an IDP effectively supports this kind of development.
Reducing hiring costs
Employing a single DevOps engineer costs a company $180K to $250K on average every year, and about one DevOps engineer is required for every 50 virtual machines or application stack of 10 microservices used by a company. This massive need for DevOps engineers in cloud development is largely driven by the fact that these workers spend much of their time writing “DIY” scripts to tie together point solutions and configurations. The infrastructure automation provided by an IDP significantly reduces this need, allowing developer resources to remain focused on the product itself rather than supporting its creation.
Building in compliance and security
Compliance with regulatory standards is a requirement for cloud services operating at scale, as is strict adherence to security protocols. Rather than starting with a blank slate, an IDP can integrate inherently secure and compliant controls from the beginning, reducing the time and expenses required for development down the line.
Reducing time to market
Cloud services are convenient and powerful for end users, but their reliance on multiple services and standards means their creation mandates a much higher degree of complexity than traditional software. At the same time, the market for cloud services has never been more competitive. Standing out with a successful product requires speedy development and deployment, and working with an effective IDP such as DuploCloud can lead to up to 10 times faster infrastructure automation for cloud-native application developers.
DuploCloud provides an integrated developer and DevOps platform for cloud-native applicationswith out-of-the-box security and compliance. Our no-code/low-code software platform is your DevSecOps expert, integrating popular cloud services and open source tools, including Prometheus, Grafana, Elasticsearch, ClamAV, Wazuh and others, while our patented rules-based engine speeds time-to-market by translating high-level application specifications into detailed and fully managed cloud configurations.
If you’d like to find out more about how DuploCloud can become your internal developer platform to enable faster and more effective work at every stage of your products’ life cycles, book a demo today.