A Wide Open Future for Platform Engineering: Why We Invested in Port
Today we are pleased to welcome Port to the Team8 family. Port has raised $18M in Series A funding for a total of $23M raised, with Team8 leading the round. Seed investor TLV Partners participated alongside angel investors Shlomo Kramer (founder of CheckPoint, Imperva, Cato), Yoav Landman (founder of JFrog), Aner Mazur (former CPO, Snyk) and Eyal Manor (former Google Cloud executive and Twilio Chief Product and Engineering).
Port is a leader in the thriving internal developer portal space, and is the most open and flexible one in the market. It’s also showing strong signs of being perceived as the standard platform engineering will coalesce around. We believe this market is on the cusp of rapid growth, and that Port is the right company to ride this growth and deliver immense value to developers and DevOps teams globally. We detail our thesis below.
The unstoppable march of the internal developer portal
Multiple trends have converged in recent years to create skyrocketing interest in platform engineering. The scope and scale of challenges that modern software is trying to solve are larger than ever before; while the explosion of cloud infrastructure means developers have endless ways to approach each problem (you can see this in CNCF’s cloud-native landscape mapping, which has gotten ridiculously crowded with tools).
Kubernetes, microservices, and multi-cloud architectures are creating a lot of new complexity that needs to be managed. It’s widely accepted that the traditional developer-DevOps interface failed to address this complexity, hindering developer productivity by creating bottlenecks and knowledge gaps around infrastructure management as well as a lot of friction, time to production delays and the dreaded “ticket-ops”. This has led to the emergence of platform engineering as a new paradigm that treats dev infrastructure as a product – with the aim of turning developers into self-sufficient customers who can manage their own resources and tooling.
At the heart of this approach is the internal developer portal: a centralized interface that hosts the software catalog, developer self-service, entity scorecards, and every other DevOps resource that developers need to stay productive. The value organizations see from developer portals is immense: it opens up bottlenecks, reduces friction, and can be a force multiplier for delivering high quality code across the software development lifecycle.
However, getting to that point is not easy. Backstage by Spotify, an open source project that established the internal developer portal, is notoriously difficult to implement and manage. Augmenting developer portals with additional resources and functionality, or customizing them to fit the specific ways in which a particular organization works, becomes its own heavy lift and requires dedicated engineering resources, distracting from the core mission.
This is where Port comes into the picture. Port’s internal developer portal is riding the crest of a growing wave of industry momentum, but the product isn’t just an iteration of what’s already out there. Port evolves the platform engineering space by introducing a slick developer experience that unlocks rapid value and adoption, and a commitment to openness that makes Port’s product uniquely tailored to the way software teams, and enterprises,want to work. Whatever platform engineers want to build for developers, they can just build using Port, no coding required and no heavy lifting.
Openness as a competitive advantage
Many old-school DevOps tools – including previous iterations of internal developer portals – are highly opinionated and closed in their approach, enforcing a set of ‘best practices’ that are difficult to stray from. But the most successful developer tooling of recent years has been different. Rather than trying to force dev teams to restructure their work around the software, these tools provide flexibility to accommodate existing ways of working. (Think of Slack’s customizable channels, broad integrations ecosystem, and accessible API that makes it easy to launch new plugins.)
Port is very much in line with the current trends in developer tooling. It is built from the ground up as an open, flexible tool that can be easily molded into whatever the organization needs it to be. This openness manifests in myriad ways in Port’s design, architecture, and go to market strategy:
- ‘Bring your own data model’ approach (Blueprints) allows platform engineers that are building the portal to bring an unlimited range of processes and resources into the portal – from CI/CD data, through vulnerabilities, alerts, incidents and more. This not only helps developers and reduces cognitive load but also drives better engineering quality by setting organizational standards in scorecards and golden paths.
- A pluggable, extensible architecture with dozens of built-in integrations and the ability to create your own. This extensibility has been further bolstered with Port’s recent release of its Ocean framework as an open-source project.
- Full control of the UI elements and the developer experience within the portal. One of the main ideas around platform engineering is platform-as-product and the ability to make the UI look as it should definitely promotes this ideal.
- An open, transparent roadmap that’s publicly available and continuously updated with feedback from Port’s large community of early adopters (more on this later).
Based on our own conversations with global DevOps leaders, we believe Port’s openness will be the killer feature that gives it an edge as this market heats up. Every organization is different, and development teams are proliferating across every industry. The specific ways these teams approach their mission are innumerable and impossible to predict in advance. The future belongs to open platforms that offer flexibility and customizability, and allow platform engineers to easily bring more data and third party app inside, without sacrificing quality or ease of use. Port fits beautifully into this vision.
Propelled forward through community adoption
In a field that’s been dominated (and often held back) by highly complex products, Port has managed the impressive feat of building a tool that’s growing through successful self-guided product use.
It’s easy to independently experiment and onboard to Port, which has led to an organically-formed movement and community which currently encompasses hundreds of enterprises. Platform engineers already view Port as the modern alternative for launching developer portals, and are adopting the tool because they can see for themselves that it solves one of their biggest challenges. This community continues to push Port’s templates, integrations and plugins, creating a positive flywheel that simplifies onboarding and customization for the users that follow.
For many platform engineers, successfully launching an internal developer platform is a career-defining move. Port’s ability to make this happen puts it in a prime position to capture the hearts and minds of the community.
Just the beginning
While interest in platform engineering is unprecedentedly high, we believe that it is nowhere near its peak. As software continues to ‘eat the world’, tooling will grow increasingly specialized and sophisticated; the interface between developers who ship features and platform engineers that provide the infrastructure to do so will have to evolve as well.
Today, developer portals are mostly only deployed within larger dev organizations, but Port is also reporting a healthy clip of smaller organizations with 50-70 developers that are reporting on the same challenges described above. Within the next five years, we believe that adoption will grow significantly, making internal developer portals the de-facto standard for every modern Dev organization. Port’s focus on openness, developer experience, and robust end-to-end capabilities ensure that it will be one of the main contenders in this emerging space. We look forward to taking part in their phenomenal journey.