9 min read
Eyal Katz

The Essential Guide to Internal Developer Platforms

Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs) bridge the gap between Platform Engineering and developers, offering a self-service interface streamlining development workflows. Discover more with Control Plane.

The Essential Guide to Internal Developer Platforms

Cloud services have transformed how we build and use applications, offering unparalleled flexibility, scalability, and cost savings. 

In fact, 85% of leading tech companies have adopted the multi-cloud concept and deployed their applications on two or more IaaS providers.  

However, this can be a major headache for developers because each cloud provider has individual tools and interfaces. This complexity makes efficient work more challenging, often leading to mistakes and slower development.

That’s where Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs) come in. They simplify the management of applications across different cloud services by providing a unified and streamlined platform. 

What is an Internal Developer Platform?

An Internal Developer Platform (IDP) is a specialized software platform that acts as a centralized environment where developers can build, deploy, and manage applications more efficiently.

IDPs provide a unified interface that abstracts away the complexities of various cloud service providers, making it easier for developers to work across different platforms without succumbing to vendor lock-in. Additionally, IDPs enhance workflow efficiency, reduce errors, and accelerate the delivery of software applications by providing a single-pane-of-glass view, cost reduction tools, and extensive integration capabilities.

What problems do Internal Developer Platforms solve, and how?

IDPs address several critical challenges in modern application development and deployment, offering the following benefits:

Cost reduction

Overprovisioning resources and inefficiently configuring workloads lead to unreasonably high costs that require labor for continuous optimization. 

How IDPs solve the problem:

  • By automating tasks like code integration, testing, and deployment, IDPs reduce the need for intensive manual processes.
  • For example, a company using an IDP can automate its deployment pipelines, reducing the time and personnel required to push new updates, thus cutting operational costs.
  • With the Control Plane IDP platform, you can achieve a 60-80% reduction in cloud compute costs. Control Plane intelligently allocates container resources so you never pay for unused CPI or RAM. The Control Plane platform continuously optimizes your runtime cost so that you only pay for what you need.

Quick time to market

Waiting to hire specialized engineers who are expensive and difficult to recruit slows your time to market and negatively impacts your ability to scale at speed. Moreover, maintaining proprietary IDPs takes resources away from functionality building and introduces bottlenecks in the software development lifecycle. 

How IDPs solve the problem:

  • IDPs can manage Kubernetes and other container orchestration systems, speeding up the deployment and scaling of applications.
  • The efficiency of IDPs allows companies to release new features or products faster, gaining a competitive edge.
  • You never over-provision, making your engineering team lean and mean, accelerating your time to market, and eliminating the need to hire more team members. 

High availability and low latency

A K8s cluster is only as reliable as the underlying data center. Each major cloud provider is subject to regional and availability zone failures and many other forms of downtime. Often, users are on the other side of a country or the world from the application, resulting in high latency caused by data traveling long distances.

How IDPs solve the problem:

  • IDPs can distribute application loads across multiple servers or regions through effective load balancing and resource management.
  • If a server fails, the IDP can reroute traffic to other servers, minimizing downtime.
  • For example, with Control Plane, engineers have the flexibility to select any combination of locations you require to attain 99.999% availability and ultra-low latency. 

Security and Compliance

In an ever-growing sea of vulnerabilities, developers are not security experts and will inadvertently stumble on security mistakes and omissions. It is easy to misconfigure a K8s cluster or workload, thus risking your organization. 

How IDPs solve the problem:


The different cloud providers expose different APIs (e.g. EKS in AWS, AKS in Azure, GKE in GCP) that effectively lock you in. Provisioning, upgrading, and monitoring clusters have vastly different interfaces, making it difficult to switch providers.

How IDPs solve the problem:

  • IDPs offer flexibility in integrating with various tools and technologies so that you can mix and match any combination of backing services.
  • IDPs accommodate individual preferences, helping you avoid the technical debt associated with proprietary stacks and alleviating the burden of maintaining and updating a complex, proprietary toolset. 
  • For example, IDPs integrate with different cloud providers and DevOps tools, allowing your business to choose the best tools for each task without being locked into a single vendor.

What are the key features of an Internal Developer Platform?

Unlocking the potential of IDPs involves understanding their key features:

Integration with existing tools

  • Seamlessly integrate with tools like GitHub, GitLab, and CI/CD pipelines.
  • For instance, IDPs can automatically trigger a deployment process in Jenkins or CircleCI when a developer pushes code to a Git repository.

Application and infrastructure management

  • IDPs follow GitOps best practices for effortless application and infrastructure changes.
  • For example, integrating Terraform for infrastructure as code (IaC) into the IDP can streamline updates and rollbacks.

Developer self-service capabilities

  • IDPs facilitate self-service access to tools, resources, and services through user-friendly interfaces.
  • Streamlined workflows ease onboarding for new employees, fostering collaboration within teams.

Collaboration and governance features

  • IDPs enhance security through role-based access controls (RBAC), ensuring different access levels for developers, QA testers, and operations teams.
  • Connect tools like Splunk or ELK stack to collect audit trails and logs to maintain transparency, accountability, and compliance throughout development.

How can you access an Internal Developer Platform?

Let’s discuss several ways you can access and use an IDP. 

1. Build your own

Building your own IDP puts you in control of the entire development experience. This approach involves creating a centralized platform tailored to your organizational needs. But, it requires expertise in diverse technologies and development practices.


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  • Creating a proprietary IDP from scratch using in-house development resources.


  • Customization based on specific organizational requirements.
  • Complete ownership and control over the development process.


  • Requires a significant investment of time, effort, and resources.
  • Demands expertise in various technologies and development practices.

2. Open source solutions

Open-source IDPs are pre-built platforms available to the public with an accessible source code. These solutions offer a balanced approach, providing a compelling middle ground that balances community support with customization possibilities. However, it’s crucial to note that they may pose challenges in seamless integration with existing tools and infrastructure.


  • Jenkins X – Open-source CI/CD platform.
  • ArgoCD – Open-source GitOps continuous delivery tool. Here’s a sample YAML file to define an application in ArgoCD:
apiVersion: argoproj.io/v1alpha1
kind: Application
  name: my-app
  project: default
    repoURL: <repository_url>
    targetRevision: HEAD
    server: 'https://kubernetes.default.svc'
    namespace: default


  • Support from a vast community of developers and documentation.
  • Avoid licensing fees associated with proprietary solutions.


  • It may not seamlessly integrate with existing tools and infrastructure.
  • Requires additional effort for customization to meet specific needs.

3. Hosted solutions

Hosted IDPs are platforms provided by third-party vendors or cloud providers as a service where you pay for usage. Choosing a hosted solution ensures a swift setup and deployment of your IDP, freeing your team from infrastructure concerns. However, customization may have limitations compared to a self-built solution, and there is a degree of dependency on the chosen provider.


  • AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodePipeline for automated builds and deployments.
  • GitHub Actions for CI/CD.


  • No need to worry about infrastructure management.
  • Rapid setup and deployment of the IDP.


  • There may be some limitations in customization compared to a self-built solution.
  • Reliance on the provider’s infrastructure and support.
  1. Self-hosted

Self-hosted IDPs are pre-built platforms you deploy and manage on your infrastructure. They grant you complete control over your data and ensure adherence to security compliance. For example, with Control Plane’s IDP, you can rapidly move SaaS applications to a production-grade, self-hosted SaaS environment within minutes.   


  • GitLab self-hosted instance for source code management and CI/CD.
  • Jenkins deployed on your own servers.
  • Control Plane’s IDP enables seamless and secure developer self-service and helps you optimize cloud costs


  • Full control over your data and security compliance.
  • Greater flexibility in deployment and customization.


  • Involves higher upfront costs for licensing and infrastructure.
  • Requires ongoing maintenance and infrastructure management.

Why IDP Solutions Stand Out in the Cloud Arena

There are various options to consider based on your organization’s needs, but you can quickly eliminate these complex comparisons if you opt for a tool like Control Plane.

Control Plane is a game changer in the IDP landscape, serving as both a workload manager and an IDP. With Control Plane, you can kickstart your projects in minutes and seamlessly transition your SaaS applications into a production-grade environment. The best part? You can choose from multiple hosting options, ensuring your applications run optimally across various cloud providers or on-premises infrastructure. Explore Control Plane today and revolutionize your development workflows.