Spotify's Backstage.io

Backstage.io #

Claim: A platform for building developer portals

Focus: Backstage helps very large teams to document their infrastructure and services. It was originally developed for Spotify and is still very much tailored to their workflow and use-cases. Backstage’s main feature is their Software Catalog where teams can keep track of ownership and metadata of all software in their organisation. Backstage also allows you to create new components such as new microservices from templates. Strictly speaking, Backstage is not an Internal Developer Platform because it lacks operational features beyond documentation and base templating. That said, Backstage is a great add-on to any Internal Developer Platform and integrates well with several offerings.

Website: backstage.io

Docs: https://backstage.io/docs/overview/what-is-backstage

Core Component Support #

5 Core Components Support
Application Configuration Management -
Infrastructure Orchestration -
Environment Management -
Deployment Management -
Role Based Access Control

Backstage doesn’t support any of the standard components but adds and complements the component of “Documentation”.

Interfaces #

Interfaces Available
API
UI
CLI

Details #

Details
Does it require developers to have DevOps knowledge? No
Self-hosted: Yes
Orchestrator Kubernetes
Integration Concept API based
Setup time first app 24 hours
Source Open
Use Case Enterprise Setups
Total Cost of Ownership Maintaining backstage.io comes down to a cost of approximately 150.000 USD for every 20 developers.
Adoption Early but stable
-> Backstage

What is backstage.io? #

Backstage is a potential add-on to any Internal Developer Platform (IDP) and seamlessly integrates with several offerings. Backstage is an open-source project that enables developers to create their own service catalog to use in the Kubernetes universe.

Service catalogs centralize an overview of all services that are essential to an organization’s stakeholders.  Service catalogs like Backstage act as a digital registry that enables all company members to find and access the resources they need. Top tier service catalogs store a range of metadata, including documentation, info regarding ownership, programming language, source code, current version, and previous updates. The view offered by a service catalog is especially important to developers and project managers.

Backstage doesn’t require users to have DevOps knowledge, and the API-based system was designed for Kubernetes. It takes 24 hours to get the system ready to go, but after that, developers have access to a user-friendly service catalog.

The service catalog is still in its early stages of development, but it is stable and is being quickly adopted by many companies.

What is the mission and vision of Backstage.io? #

For developers, Backstage was created as a way to streamline building software components, especially microservices. Backstage works to make development quick, simple, and standardized. Additionally, it gives developers a central platform for all of their projects and documents.

Backstage’s ultimate goal is to “provide engineers with the best developer experience in the world.” Their vision states that developers shouldn’t have to be experts in every infrastructure tool on the market to be productive. They compare their platform to Kubernetes for developer experience and highlight their goal of launching Backstage to be the trusted standard toolbox on the user experience layer for the open source infrastructure landscape.

A brief history of Backstage.io #

Backstage is relatively new to the market as Spotify launched it in March 2020. The Spotify team initially created Backstage as their internal service catalog to solve their problems with data silos, internal inconsistencies, and lack of integration, automation, and overview.

After creating a platform that solved their internal problems, Spotify wanted to share their product with the rest of the world through an open-source version of Backstage.

When the team announced the release of the Backstage, their internal version was used by over 280 engineering teams at Spotify to manage over 2000 backend services, 300 websites, 4000 data pipelines, and 200 mobile features.

Because it was developed to solve a genuine problem for a team, Backstage was built with developers of all skill levels in mind. Spotify offered their open-source platform to the public after testing and tweaking the system to fit their needs. Now users have access to a free unified infrastructure with tooling, services, and documentation under one interface.

Core features of Backstage.io #

  • Software Catalog – makes services and their metadata discoverable.

  • Software Templates – enables developers to create new projects and standardize tooling with their organization’s preferred practices.

  • TechDocs – allows developers to create, maintain, find, and use technical documentation through a “docs like code” approach.

  • Open Source Plugins – constantly adding to the number of compatible plugins to make Backstage more compatible with other systems.

  • Discoverability – makes it easy to find documentation and the document’s creator or owner.

Backstage.io is a good add-on option for any Internal Developer Platform. It enables developers to build products faster and centralize their information.