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Jan Schenk (he/him) for Postman

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What Is PlatformOps?

In the continued expansion of DevOps, DevSecOps, DataOps, MLOps, and other operationally centered shifts in how we deliver software, we are seeing increased activity amongst Postman users in the area that we call PlatformOps (platform operations). PlatformOps allows enterprise organizations to realize more productivity, quality, and governance across their API operations. How? PlatformOps leverages the infrastructure that already exists behind our source control and CI/CD solutions but also taps into the API gateway and other common areas of the API lifecycle. The result is more platform-wide configuration, optimization, and automation within reach of any development team—just by leveraging the APIs that exist behind our operational infrastructure.

Building on DevOps

The DevOps evolution in the technology sector has combined software development and IT operations to shorten the software development lifecycle and enable teams to continuously deliver high-quality software. DevSecOps applies these same principles to the area of security, DataOps applies them to our data operations, and MLOps applies them to the world of machine learning (ML).

Now, PlatformOps is just expanding this philosophy across the entire API lifecycle, acknowledging that APIs are dependent on the existing software development lifecycle (SLDC), the API gateway (more likely multiple API gateways), as well as every other stop along today’s modern API lifecycle.

Gartner describes the role of API platform operator as someone: “ Responsible for managing and running the API management solution. They need metrics and monitoring on the health of the platform itself, and will be responsible for creating and managing integrations with other infrastructure systems such as identity providers, log management, and enterprise monitoring.”

DevOps has shown us the importance of leveling the playing field when it comes to software development and IT, and if we’ve learned anything from the microservices movement, we need to extend this reality to the API gateway. However, with the continued commodification of not just the API gateway, but also API management, our portal, documentation, analytics, logging, and other essentials for API management are increasingly being spread across multiple service providers. The combination of a multi-gateway reality on the ground within the enterprise combined with the commodification and expansion of essential aspects of our API operations has shifted API management. Today, API management requires a more API-driven platform approach that stitches together everything we need to get business done.

PlatformOps collections

Postman Collections have become a standardized machine-readable format for defining API integrations and elements of the API lifecycle, like documentation, mock servers, and testing. Collections provide a portable, shareable, but also executable unit of value when it comes to producing and consuming APIs, and since modern API infrastructure also has APIs, collections provide an excellent unit of value when it comes to configuring, monitoring, automating, and observing our API operations. Depending on which area of API operations you are looking to apply PlatformOps, your collections might look something like these three areas.

Source control

PlatformOps collections in service of DevOps at the source control layer of your operations might look like these solutions:

CircleCI GitHub GitLab TeamCity
Artifacts Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman
Environments Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman

The above approach allows you to manage the artifacts and environments at scale across your operations using source control APIs.

CI/CD

PlatformOps collections in service of DevOps at the CI/CD layer of your operations might look something like these solutions:

CircleCI GitHub GitLab TeamCity
Inspect Job Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman
Runners Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman

The above approach provides you with the individual capabilities you need to configure, optimize, and automate your API-deliver pipelines.

Gateway

Once you move beyond just DevOps and squarely into the world of PlatformOps, your collections start to look like these solutions:

AWS API Gateway Azure API Management Kong Tyke
Key Management Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman
Caching Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman
Rate Limiting Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman Run in Postman

The above collections give you the integrations you need to stay ahead of what is happening across a multi-gateway landscape.

Establishing your API platform

The word “platform” is thrown around a lot by tech companies when describing a single set (or suite) of digital resources. An “API platform” is about connecting together all of the digital resources and capabilities you depend on into a single platform for your business to operate on. GitHub, GitLab, AWS, and Azure are all platforms, but an API platform connects all of these platforms together to meet the specific needs of your operations.

An API platform leverages your existing infrastructure and software development lifecycle (SLDC), API gateway infrastructure, APM, as well as any other third-party SaaS services you might use to fill in the cracks of your operations. PlatformOps is about leveraging all of this existing investment, but then defining all of your essential infrastructure resources and capabilities using PlatformOps collections that are fine or coarse grain, depending on your needs.

Hopefully this provides you with a taste test of what PlatformOps can look like. The possibilities here are only limited by the infrastructures you have in place and the scope of the APIs they provide. Postman continues to work with infrastructure providers to provide native platform integrations and suites of PlatformOps integrations that help increase velocity and productivity across API teams without compromising quality when investing in platform governance. This allows teams to more consistently define, document, configure, optimize, and observe API operations. Ultimately, your current API infrastructure also has APIs—so you can accomplish so much more by augmenting existing development workflows and tools with simple executable units of value defined as PlatformOps collections.

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