Platform Engineering, Platform as a Product, PaaS


What is platform engineering? What is platform as a product? What is a platform? What is PaaS?

Well, that’s a good question…

That’s the word most people use when they mean “all the stuff you add on-top of infrastructure to help application developers.

Long ago, before cloud, “platforms” were called middleware and services, app servers. As public cloud evolved, this stack was called “PaaS” which quickly fell out of favor and still is not prefered, it seems. But, there was Heroku, which everyone wanted to rebuild…and still do!

For awhile, the idea went by the phrase “platform as a product,” a concept that focused on making developers more productive and using product management to build the platform.

In the past two years, the concept of an internal developer portal has taken off thanks to the interest in Spotify’s Backstage. But, sort of slipping back in the kubernetes (or Cloud Foundry for long-running platforms) under all of it. As of November 2022, it all seems to be going under the phrase “platform engineering.”

I just like to say “platform,” and I’d recommend you do the same.

(There’s also DevOps and SRE running around in all this platform talk.)

VMware’s Platforms

At VMware, we have two platforms:

  1. The Tanzu Application Service - based on Cloud Foundry, this was originally named Pivotal Cloud Foundry.
  2. The Tanzu Application Platform - a bunch of open source projects integrated, with customizations, configuration templates and runtime stuff, built on kubernetes. This platform also focuses a lot on the internal developer portal concept, not just the runtime part of a platform. See diagram below:
Tanzu Application Platform diagram

More Info

Anyhow, here are some links on the topic:,, @cote