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Sales and Marketing Foundations - This article is part of a series.
Welcome back to MeatyBytes.io, fellow tech enthusiasts and knowledge seekers! I’m Nick Miethe, your guide on this journey. My days are spent wrangling with OpenShift, and my nights are devoted to various hobbies ranging from tinkering with my homelab to woodworking. I’ve crafted this space to share my knowledge and insights, and to bring you a consistent flow of meaty bytes in the world of technology.
Today, we’re diving headfirst into the deep end of Platform Engineering, specifically the crucial role that case studies play in advancing this field. But why should you care about case studies? Aren’t they just academic exercises? In truth, they are so much more.
In an era where the importance of Platform Engineering is ever-growing, it is paramount to share and learn from each other’s experiences. The brilliant Luca Galante, a leading voice in Platform Engineering, wrote a recent post on the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)’s blog about Platform engineering trends in 2023, which emphasized the increasing need for case studies in 2023 as one of those trends. In this post, we’ll explore the role of case studies in the industry, discuss their importance for both platform engineers and decision-makers, and provide a guide on what makes an effective case study.
So, whether you’re an aspiring platform engineer looking for practical insights, an experienced professional seeking to contribute to the community knowledgebase, or a decision-maker looking for new resources to inform your choices, this post has something to offer you. Let’s dive right in and unearth the potential of case studies in driving Platform Engineering forward.
What Are Case Studies and Why Do They Matter? #
Case studies are in-depth explorations of specific instances where a company or team has implemented or engaged with a concept, tool, or strategy, such as OpenShift, DevOps practices, or hybrid cloud adoption. They provide detailed information about the context, challenges faced, solutions implemented, and the resulting impact, both in terms of business transformation and technical advantages.
For platform engineers, case studies serve as practical resources that offer insights into real-world applications of theoretical concepts, acting as a bridge between theory and practice. Case studies in Platform Engineering are not merely recounts of past events. Instead, they serve as a record of the evolution of technology, shaping the future of our industry. They offer vital insights into different problem-solving methodologies, innovative solutions, and cutting-edge techniques that can be instrumental for both novices and experienced professionals in the field. This is why understanding the role and value of case studies matters. They allow engineers to learn from the successes and mistakes of their peers, paving the way for more effective and efficient processes.
For decision-makers, case studies act as persuasive evidence of the value of certain tools, practices, or strategies. They provide hard facts and data about the real impact of business transformations, helping to guide strategic decision-making.
The Anatomy of a Good Case Study #
A good case study goes beyond just presenting the situation and the outcome—it should tell a story, engaging the reader and providing valuable insights along the way. This framework uses 5 sections to structure a case study: context, challenges, solution, outcome, and lessons learned. Here’s a breakdown of what makes an effective case study, using the very (not) real company MeatyMedia as an illustration:
The Context #
The context sets the stage for your case study, providing background information about the company or team, the existing systems and practices, and the problem or challenge at hand.
Let’s assume we’re looking at an enterprise-level company called “MeatyMedia.” MeatyMedia has a traditional on-premise IT infrastructure but is beginning to feel the constraints of this setup. They are looking to leverage the benefits of cloud computing but also want to keep certain sensitive operations on-premises.
“MeatyMedia, a leading enterprise in the software industry, was grappling with scalability and agility challenges with its traditional on-premise IT infrastructure. To harness the scalability of cloud computing while maintaining sensitive operations on-premise, they began considering a hybrid cloud approach.”
The Challenge #
The challenge is the heart of the case study. It presents the issues faced by the company or team, the hurdles they had to overcome, and the objectives they wanted to achieve.
MeatyMedia has chosen to adopt a hybrid cloud model but is unsure how to orchestrate the applications running on both on-premise servers and the cloud. They require a platform that will manage this complexity seamlessly.
“The major challenge MeatyMedia faced was orchestrating their applications running on both on-premise servers and the cloud — a necessary step for implementing a hybrid cloud model. They needed a robust, reliable platform that could operate across the hybrid cloud and provide a single-pane-of-glass, seamless solution.”
The Solution #
The solution describes the strategies, tools, or practices that were implemented to address the challenge. It details how the solution was carried out, the role of the platform engineering team, and any obstacles they encountered during implementation.
After careful consideration, MeatyMedia decides to adopt OpenShift as it is a Kubernetes-based platform designed to manage complex deployments across diverse infrastructures. Their platform engineering team sets about planning and executing the OpenShift deployment.
“MeatyMedia’s platform engineering team identified OpenShift as the ideal solution, thanks to its Kubernetes foundation, supported integrations, and capability to handle complex deployments across diverse infrastructures. With a clear plan in place, they begin deploying OpenShift for their hybrid cloud model.”
The Outcome #
The outcome presents the results of implementing the solution. It should provide quantifiable data to illustrate the impact of the solution on the business and technical aspects.
After the successful deployment of OpenShift, MeatyMedia experienced increased agility, scalability, and improved time-to-market for their products. The hybrid cloud model, facilitated by OpenShift, provided the right balance between on-premise control and cloud flexibility.
“With OpenShift facilitating their hybrid cloud model, MeatyMedia experienced a significant increase in scalability and agility, leading to improved time-to-market for their products. The balance between on-premise control and cloud flexibility was struck, marking a successful business transformation.”
The Lessons Learned #
The lessons learned summarize the key takeaways from the case study, offering insights for others to apply in similar situations.
The lessons learned from MeatyMedia’s case could involve the importance of thorough planning before deployment, the necessity of training for the platform engineering team on OpenShift, or the value of a gradual transition instead of a complete shift.
“The MeatyMedia case study emphasized the importance of thorough pre-deployment planning, adequate training for the platform engineering team on OpenShift, and the benefits of a gradual transition to a hybrid cloud model instead of a complete immediate shift.”
In an industry as dynamic and fast-paced as Platform Engineering, case studies serve as critical resources for knowledge sharing and collaborative learning. They bridge the gap between theory and practice, provide evidence-based insights for decision-making, and ultimately, shape the future of our field. As more organizations undergo business transformation, adopt fully-featured platforms like OpenShift, engage in DevOps practices, and transition to hybrid cloud environments, the need for case studies is only going to grow.
Crafting a compelling technical case study involves more than just stating the facts — it’s about painting a complete picture, from context to challenges, solution, outcome, and lessons learned. This framework provides a guide for dissecting and presenting your case study in a way that offers the most value to your readers. Whether it’s a deployment of OpenShift in a hybrid cloud environment, like MeatyMedia’s, or any other technical endeavor, this guide can help you share your experiences and contribute to the collective knowledge of the Platform Engineering community.
By understanding and leveraging the power of case studies, we can collectively navigate the complexities of business transformation and continuously innovate for success in Platform Engineering. Until next time!
Further Reading #
- Red Hat success stories
- Platform engineering trends in 2023
- DevOps Is Dead. Embrace Platform Engineering - The New Stack
- Why Gartner recommends Platform Engineering and building Internal Developer Platforms | Humanitec