Sometimes Dragons

3 Takes on Golden Paths, DevX, and Platform Engineering

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These days it often feels like everything in the tech industry is overshadowed by generative AI. And yet, most of these technologies are in nascent and unreliable form, with many related developer tools currently adding to–rather than helping bridge–the fragmentation and plethora of choices that constitute the developer experience gap. Ergo, while most orgs undoubtedly have at least some folks asking “how many code assistants does it take to get code into production?” we continue to see the path to production paved by investments in developer productivity, automation, and modernization, often under the aegis of platform teams. Platform engineering, a related trend (and hyped hotness of 2022), brought golden paths, guardrails, and internal developer platforms (IDPs) to our common vocabulary. It has also done much to highlight the efforts of (and hopefully also bring raises and shiny new titles to) teams who have already spent years quietly doing the work of improving developer experience and engineering actual platforms.

Over the past few months RedMonk has had the chance to film a series of videos on the topic of platform engineering et al. with VMware–or, as of November 22 (when the Broadcom acquisition closed) “VMware by Broadcom”. Leveraging multiple video formats, three different RedMonk analysts, two vendor SMEs, one customer, and one ebike, the series provides three complementary takes on internal platforms, the professionals that build them, and their end goals regarding developer experience and productivity. While each video is worth a watch in its own right, together they present a nicely layered look at VMware’s take on platform engineering in 2023–a take that many folks on the VMware team (even with the uncertainty of the impending close of the Broadcom acquisition looming over them) steadily moved forward.

For your consideration:

Opinionated Infrastructure: Platform Engineering for Productivity. Golden Paths and Guardrails


James Governor walking on a sidewalk next to a cobblestone path that intersects with a road. In the background: various shops, bikes, bike racks, and a sign stating "Cyclists give way ahead"

James Governor explicates the concept of platform engineering, its purpose, and much of its attached vocabulary, all while leveraging metaphorically equivalent golden paths and guardrails to navigate a busy bike and pedestrian pathway in his native London. Show up for the platform engineering talk and ebikes, but stay for @monkchips at his Opinionated Infrastructure finest.

Watch the video of this conversation below or see the full transcript and related resources.



What is an Internal Developer Portal? How to Leverage Backstage Through the Tanzu Developer Portal

If you are into demos, What Is/How to is the format for you–and this particular episode from August 2023 boasts two demos. I first get to chat with Denise Martinez (Product Marketing Manager, VMware Tanzu) about the role developer portals play in internal developer platforms, as well as the role that Backstage, an open framework for building developer portals, has historically played in the Tanzu Application Platform (TAP). Andrei Zimin (at the time a Product Line Manager, VMware Tanzu; Zimin has since announced his departure from the org) then tags in to introduce and demo the advantages of the Tanzu Developer Portal.

Watch the video of this conversation below or see the full transcript and related resources.



A RedMonk Conversation: An Enterprise’s Journey to Building a Platform, with Discovery Limited

Rachel Stephens hosts this delightful fireside chat with Johan Marais, Senior Platform Service Manager of Discovery Limited, a South African company in the financial services space. More from Marais on his team:

I represent central IT or central technology services, depending on how you want to refer to it. I come from a traditional background where we provide the siloed functions as a central governance and I suppose IT technology stack to the business. We have 15 different businesses globally and we do all of the support essentially from South Africa. The team that I represent look after all the cloud services and platform services for the group globally. That includes all the public cloud providers we deal with. We’re in four of them today. The on-prem VSPA state containerization, infrastructure DevOps, and a few other things that go with it. But I suppose it’s a natural evolution as the team has grown from when IT started as a traditional VM shop to where we are today.

The conversation covers some of the challenges of serving 15 businesses across the globe, but also digs into the history of the central platform team’s efforts as it built its own platform on vanilla kubernetes as part of a consolidation play, made the move to VMware’s Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG), and then later adopted VMware’s Tanzu Application Platform (TAP). If you want confirmation that platforms were being engineered prior to the platform engineering craze, this one’s for you.

Watch the video of this conversation below or see the full transcript, related resources, and options for listening to this conversation as a podcast.



Disclosure: The videos discussed in this post were sponsored by VMware by Broadcom (but this post was not).

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