Top five container platform engineering books by Tecknuovo cloud partner, Aurimas Mickevicius

Mar 1, 2023
  • 4 min read

Our associate Aurimas Mickevicius is the Platform Lead on a critical project for one of our customers — a large government department. This is his debut blog as one of our associate cloud partners — a Community of Practice within our associate community.

What is Platform Engineering, and does it differ from DevOps or Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)? The tech community is aflame with debate on this topic, as seen here, here, and here. In a nutshell, a Platform Engineer is someone who builds or maintains an Internal Developer Platform (IDP), regardless of their job title. And a container IDP is just a collection of tools and services that developers use to create and release software using containers.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but there’s a world of books to explore for those who want to delve deeper into the topic and sharpen their expertise in the container platform engineering field. In this post, I’m sharing my top five book recommendations to teach you the fundamentals.

1. Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow by Matthew Skelton, Manuel Pais

"Team Topologies" is the ultimate playbook for designing effective team structures and communication channels to accelerate software delivery. The book describes four main team types: stream-aligned, enabling, complicated-subsystem, and platform. It explains key concepts like team cognitive load, Conway's Law, and continuous improvement — all essential for structuring teams.

The section on platforms is especially useful — it defines the key characteristics of an effective platform and explains the importance of treating it as a product. You’ll also find plenty of practical advice in this book. For example, there’s a section on how to build a multi-layer platform pattern, which Tecknuovo put to practice when successfully building an IDP for a major government customer.

2. Accelerate: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble, et al.

"Accelerate" is a great book that dives deep into the qualities of high-performing technology organisations. Drawing on extensive research and data analysis, it describes the key capabilities that lead to better software products, including IDPs.

3. Terraform — Up and Running: Writing Infrastructure as Code by Yevgeniy Brikman

Terraform is the most popular infrastructure automation tool for building platforms. "Terraform: Up & Running" is the book for Terraform users. It’s written by Yevgeniy Brikman who created Terragrunt, the popular Terraform cli wrapper. In his book, Brikman covers the basics of Terraform, its usage, and best practices for managing infrastructure on various cloud platforms including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure. You’ll also learn about advanced topics like modularisation and versioning, and explore examples of real-world use cases that illustrate concepts. Don’t worry if you don’t use Terragrunt — you can skip over the sections of the book that cover it and still glean plenty of value from this read.

4. Kubernetes in Action by Marko Lukša

Kubernetes is a hugely popular technology for building IDPs that orchestrate containerised workloads. “Kubernetes in Action” dives deep into the main concepts underpinning Kubernetes concepts, and explains with excellent clarity (and diagrams) how Kubernetes internals work. This book was released in 2019, so it might be slightly outdated. But a new release is in the works for summer 2023 — I’m very much looking forward to reading it!

5. Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems by Betsy Beyer, Jennifer Petoff, Chris Jones, and Niall Richard Murphy

"Site Reliability Engineering" outlines Google's approach to building and operating highly reliable software systems, and is one of the most popular SRE books out there. It gives you practical guidance on topics like monitoring, incident response, and post-mortem analysis — which can all be applied to designing and operating an IDP.


While this list represents my personal top picks, it's worth noting that there are myriad of other books that could be better suited for your specific use case. There are excellent books on topics such as Data Platform Engineering or Serverless, for instance. If you’re looking for the essentials on containerised workloads and building great platforms however, the five books in this list will give you a more than solid foundation. Happy reading!

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