The Port State of Platform Engineering in two surveys

When I look at recent platform engineering surveys, the results are positive: people see the value in platforms and platform groups. I’d say this is because platforms are helping speed up the app release cycle by automating a lot of the infrastructure work app developers would otherwise need to do, baking in/automating security and compliance, and, to a lesser extent, standardizing how apps are built, run, managed, and optimized.

Below are my notes one of the many, recent surveys.

The Port survey

Source: “2024 State of Internal Developer Portals,” Port, survey conducted October, 2023, published Dec 2023.

Major Take-Aways: The Internal Developer Portal (IDP) definition isn’t widely known yet, with only 54% of respondents following the survey’s definition. Backstage is the most commonly used stack, at 25%, followed by other commercial portals. The primary goal of IDPs is to increase developer productivity, reducing deployment time is a distant second. Respondents do a lot of DIY work and reporting for developer metrics.

Further Details:

  1. Demographics. N: 100 full-time employees from the US and Western Europe with 150 or more developers. Geographies: 50% of respondents were from the US, and the remaining 50% from Western EuropeIndustries: 30% were from “tech,” 21% from insurance (!), 11% manufacturing, and then spread out below that. Company size: 89% of respondents were from companies of 500 or fewer developers.

  2. The answers are from a management point of view: 99% of respondents were “management” or “executives.”

  3. The survey was done in October, 2023. In a brand new category like developer portals, that’s a long elapsed time between then and now.

  4. The definition of developer portal isn’t widely known yet: “only 53% use what we define as a portal, while 35% use spreadsheets with microservice data and 12% use a self-service platform that isn’t a portal (e.g. CI)”

  5. People use developer portals to improve developer productivity, mostly (?) by removing waste and toil. In contrast, only 25% of respondents used “reduced time to deployment” as a measure of IDP success.

  6. After that, there’s interest in making “ops” related stuff better: “easing DevOps fatigue,” security, compliance, and making Kubernetes easier.

  7. What portals do people use? Backstage is the most common at 25%, and other commercial options at 17%.

Developer Metrics

When it comes to measuring that developer productivity, most people are DIY’ing it with surveys or custom reports: “Surveys (43%) and custom reports (31%) are the most common ways of measuring productivity, signifying a focus on either self-reported productivity or custom measures of productivity instead of frameworks such as the DevEx framework (15%), DORA metrics (5%) and SPACE (5%).”

The mix here is a little odd: DORA metrics and SPACE are actual metrics, not tools or techniques for gathering metrics. You could be measuring them in your surveys and custom reports.

Nonetheless, you can probably conclude from this that selling metrics software/services/solutions to enterprises is tough. Once DIY stacks are in place in development and ops, unseating them is difficult. They’re often “good enough,” can be customized, and cost zero.1

It continues to baffle me that anyone thinks DIY stacks are a good idea. It is a terrible idea for most organizations.


Also, see my notes on the 2024 Puppet platform engineering survey.

My Work: Tanzu, Tanzu, Tanzu!

This month we’ve been doing a “what’s up with Tanzu” media-blitz. You maybe recall this excellent overview I was involved in. Here are some other recent article and videos:

“WHEN DID YOU EVEN EAT?!” Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, s2e1.

Relative to your interests

  • Most developers have adopted [D]ev[O]ps, survey says - I’ll have to look at this more, but: “29% of developers used continuous integration to automatically build and test.” This means that 71% of respondents are not automating their builds and tests. // “Grady Booch first proposed the term CI in his 1991 method, although he did not advocate integrating several times a day. Extreme programming (XP) adopted the concept of CI [circa 1989] and did advocate integrating more than once per day – perhaps as many as tens of times per day.” // 35+ years later, here we are at 71%. WTF? Something is weird here, or just 🤦.

  • Lessons after a half-billion GPT tokens - In nerd-space, the deflation of AI expectations has begun, finally, after a year or so of usage. This is good! We can finally just get to realistic work. Let’s get those insights on accounts receivable.

  • Real-world gen AI use cases from industry leaders - Speaking of everyday enterprise AI uses…

  • AI isn’t useless. But is it worth it? - “they do a poor job of much of what people try to do with them, they can’t do the things their creators claim they one day might, and many of the things they are well suited to do may not be altogether that beneficial.” // I’ve lost the links to all the Tweets-n-shit on this sentiment, but I’m more or less like this: most of the time I try house AI to create, it would have just been faster and easier to do it myself. AI is great of search and for learning (I spent an hour figuring out NPV and discount rateing as applied to non-economic thinking everyday life - ChatGPT was great at this!). AI is not good at creating…if you’re already an expert.

  • Summaries of Airport Books - YES.

  • The cloud is benefiting IT, but not business - “The central promise of cloud computing was to usher in a new era of agility, cost savings, and innovation for businesses. However, according to the McKinsey survey, only one-third of European companies actively monitor non-IT outcomes after migrating to the cloud, which suggests a less optimistic picture. Moreover, 71% of companies measured the impact of cloud adoption solely through the prism of IT operational improvements rather than core business benefits.” And: “Only 32% report new revenue generation despite having invested hundreds of millions of dollars in cloud computing.” N=“50 European cloud leaders.” // So, backward-looking FUD, sure <double hand-guns agreement>. But also: as opposed to what? Should we still be updating Windows NT servers with a binder full of CD-ROMs?

  • Tech Time Capsule: Early 1990s Clip Art Captured an Era - Good stuff.

  • Do software companies actually have good margins? - ’In other words, software development costs are COGS. Not literally; not according to the accountants. But in practice, if you can only sell SaaS software—and retain customers—by promising a steady stream of new releases, how are the expenses associated with developing those releases functionally any different than the money you spend on servers and support agents?’ // Counter-point: yeah, but their free cash flow is the best.

You get a ham and cheese sandwich! And you get a ham and cheese sandwich! Etc.!


  • “Management avoids firing people with paper trails.” Corporate Camouflage

  • Domestic refactoring: re-arrange and clean the spice shelf. Move the pile of pills and bottles away from the bread. Stop buying so much bread. Use the wine fridge as the overflow fridge. Get rid of unused pans. Buy snacks you like. Save less leftovers: you’ll just throw away moldy goop weeks later.

  • From the people who funded crypto, may I present: AI!

  • Kids are less civil around their parents. They are different people w/r/t “don’t be crazy” around other people.

  • Unless you’re working on the strategy, the planning, the ideation…don’t pay attention to the business sausage making. Just eat the sausage, or sell it.

  • “is Santa effective?”

  • One thing Noah Kalina a is doing is using his purposefully crafted awareness of being filmed as part of the “art.” He doesn’t always do it intentionally while filming, but he ends up using it as found footage in editing. This is especially, blatantly true in the ring-billed gulls on Seneca lake video.

  • “If you have a barrel of water and this cantrip, you have a solution to most problems.” Here.

  • “I wrote the first line in a loony bin in Massachusetts in August 2018. And the last line on Thompson Street in NYC last night.” Here.

  • I did my annual thing of trying to use Obsidian. It feels so nice, but it is so much work…? Also, the syncing via iCloud is not good. I can’t get into the vibe. (See you never year!)

Towards the end of Netherlands tulip season, 2024.

🪵 Logoff

I am thinking I should make a regular bit out of taking notes on surveys…?

Also, I made a list of things I like this morning. I found myself also typing up “things I no longer like,” which seems like a good follow-up.

Related: there’s not much, but I’m lazily figuring out how to use my weblog more.

Suggested Musical Outro.


Sure, you can show that time spent on maintaining those DIY stacks is time and attention (thus, money) wasted if you could just buy that tool off the shelf. That's a tough sell, though.,, @cote,,