Build Your Own PaaS With Waypoint

What even is a Platform? And how should you think about building one? HashiCorp Waypoint is a tool with some simple but powerful ways to address those questions.

»The Legacy of DevOps and Shift-Left

Developers have had a lot of tasks and tooling that was traditionally the domain of operations and security foisted on them in the name of overzealous “Shift-left” and DevOps cross-functional movements (although there are many senior developers who have absorbed this all and don't want to give up control of all these facets either, that's OK). This has led to tool-sprawl and very complex workflows and CI/CD pipelines. HashiCorp Waypoint is designed to abstract away some of that complexity and alleviate cognitive load on developers.

»A Tool Meant for Building Platform for Developer Self-Service

When Mitchell Hashimoto and his team at HashiCorp began designing a new tool that would become Waypoint, they were addressing the trends that would lead to the emphasis on Platform Teams and internal platforms (a form of custom PaaS) across the world's IT teams. Developer experience (sometimes buzzworded as "DevEx"), was the focus.

How do the people who work with and expose infrastructure (Sysadmins, Ops, DevOps, SRE, Platform engineering) help developers not have to worry about the tooling and pipelines that move code toward deployment? Especially for junior developers or developers that don't have all the expertise and don't need to know all the lower layers of build, release, and deploy tech (we know some senior developers will want to be more cross-functional, that's fine).

Waypoint was the answer they came up with. It abstracts all of the tools and steps of the build, deploy, and release process into a single command: `waypoint up`. It helps you build your own internal Heroku-like PaaS experience for developers (Heroku was a popular general PaaS service that was loved for its amazing ease of use in the early 2010s). And it can grab logs and use an exec command to drill in deeper to deployments.

»What is a PaaS? What is an Internal Platform?

In this talk, HashiCorp's Gerald Yerden steps back and asks some basic questions about how we think about application delivery and what exactly we mean when we say "PaaS"? The answer is: the IT world is still sorting it out. But the emerging idea of the Platform team is real. Most of the largest enterprises are currently building and thinking about internal PaaS offerings.

The first goal is not to worry so much about the definition, but to ask your developers what they need. Treat the developer as the customer. Instead of letting rough, janky internal platforms emerge in your organization by accident, build them with planning and purpose.

»Demo: How a Waypoint-Built PaaS Might Look

At 16:30 in the video, Yerden will demonstrate a simple use case for HashiCorp Waypoint to show you how much it abstracts and how the basic PaaS workflow might look.

For more ideas about how to use Waypoint, read about and watch: How Can You Use Waypoint Today?

For a real use case at Citrix, watch: Building a PaaS with Waypoint

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