Site Reliability Engineering SRE explained

Site Reliability Engineering SRE explained

They create automated build triggers like git hook scripts that activate when new code is merged into the software repository to begin an automated build process. That build process includes automated unit and function tests and ultimately automated deployment. In the past they have monitored and measured their process and improved it based on the bottlenecks and inefficiencies they have found, without compromising output quality. In a way, site reliability engineering takes on the tasks that operations teams would handle in the past. However, operational problems are not solved manually but with an engineering mindset.

Who is a Site Reliability Engineer

They share a unified goal of releasing more often, without errors and downtime. The critical difference is that the SRE implements DevOps methodologies. In turn, the SRE defines how to implement DevOps practices and actively participates across the development and operations teams. Site reliability engineers are now able to oversee software and performance of the full technology stack. That means they can identify and resolve issues more easily and efficiently than the traditional development and operations team. The SRE role is ultimately responsible for maintaining systems’ uptime and reliability.


In all these situations, having effective, well-developed communication skills makes life much easier. For example, you can make sure there are no miscommunications while reporting incidents. Today, SRE and DevOps work together to bridge the gap between development and IT operations. DevOps implements agile software development practices to increase automation, reduce downtime, and scale beyond the traditional teams. Ideally, SREs are engineers who have software engineering experience as well as Unix systems administration and networking experience.

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The main purpose of SRE is developing software systems and automated solutions for operational aspects. Thus, SRE does the work traditionally done by operations but instead using engineers with software expertise to solve complex problems. Standardization and automation are at the heart of what an SRE does, especially as systems migrate to the cloud. Thus, they often have a background in software or system engineering Site Reliability Engineer or system administration with IT operations experience. Site reliability engineering has also been described as a specific implementation of DevOps, but it focuses specifically on building reliable systems, whereas DevOps is more broadly focused. Site reliability engineers use three metrics; SLIs, SLOs, and SLAs to monitor and measure the performance of IT systems and ultimately increase their reliability.

Site reliability engineering

We will start with a definition of what this type of engineering is before we move onto the role and responsibilities of a site reliability engineer. Cloud-native applications are composed of microservices, packaged and deployed in containers, and designed to run in any cloud environment. Gain greater visibility into service healthby tracking metrics, logs and traces across all services in the organization, and providing context for identifying root causes in the event of an incident.

Who is a Site Reliability Engineer

That’s because SREs routinely use automation to reduce human labor and increase reliability. Site reliability engineers, if we had to sum up their importance, are there to make sure that fast software development and delivery don’t lead to sub-standard software on release. But, they’re also responsible for maintaining systems and observability while leveraging automation to make these systems increasingly efficient. As a whole, site reliability engineers focus on maintaining reliability, while software engineers are responsible for designing software. Talking about site reliability engineer vs software engineer, there is some overlap between those roles, of course. The site reliability engineer role requires a deep understanding of both software development and systems administration.

Providing a bridge between development and operations

Instead of siloing this knowledge into the mind of one team or one person, site reliability engineers can be tasked with documenting much of what they know. Constant upkeep of documentation and runbooks can ensure that teams get the information they need right when they need it. Much of a site reliability engineer’s time is also spent building and deploying services that optimize the workflow for IT and support departments. This can also mean creating a tool from scratch that is able to level out the flaws in the existing software delivery or incident management.

Platform teams tend to focus on building the platform and while reliability is desirable that’s not their sole priority. Site reliability engineering, as a set of principles and practices, can be performed by anyone. SRE is similar to security engineering in the way that anyone is expected to contribute to good security practices, but a company may decide to eventually staff specialists for the job. Conversely, for securing internet systems, companies may hire security engineers and to define and ensure their reliability goals, companies may hire SREs as well. The field of site reliability engineering originated at Google with Ben Treynor Sloss, who founded a site reliability team after joining the company in 2003. In 2016, Google employed more than 1,000 site reliability engineers.

Cloud roadmap

Because everyone takes turns being on-call, supporting the entire system or service and knowing where code exists and what it does is vital to making good, quick, and clear-headed decisions in a crisis. Discover how to orchestrate various SRE roles and responsibilities to build a best-in-class Incident Management program. Experience with deploying, supporting and supervising new and existing services, platforms, and application stacks. Support services before they go live through activities such as system design consulting, developing software platforms and frameworks, capacity planning, and launch reviews. When responding to an incident, communication templates are invaluable.

  • Site reliability engineering, as a set of principles and practices, can be performed by anyone.
  • A site reliability engineer monitors and helps stabilize services in production.
  • That means the monthly error budget—the total amount of downtime allowable without contractual consequence for any given month—is about 4 minutes and 23 seconds.
  • That enables development teams to focus on delivering features, and operations teams can focus on managing infrastructure.

SRE and DevOps share the same core principles — keep a diversely skilled team involved in each phase of software development from design through operation, automate any repetitive tasks, use of engineering tools in operations. While DevOps is a cultural framework that applies to positions both within and outside of IT, SRE occurs specifically to support IT operations during software development and deployment in production. Reliability is not just about the infrastructure—it’s relevant every step of the way, from application quality through performance and on up to security. SREs care about every process from source code to deployment; that’s how they earn the reputation of being a true bridge from development to operations. Site reliability engineers sit at the crossroads of traditional IT and software development. Basically, SRE teams are made up of software engineers who build and implement software to improve the reliability of their systems.

PIRs typically involve representatives from all teams involved in the incident as well as any customers who were affected. The goal of a PIR is to identify systemic issues so that they can be fixed before they cause another outage. An SRE may also be responsible for optimizing the on-call rotation as well as the overall incident response process. For example, an SRE may work with other teams to set up alerts in a centralized logging tool so that critical errors can be detected and addressed quickly. Against all odds, the Waterfall methodology maintains a tight grip over countless numbers of software development teams. Thanks for the great explanation about the SRE role and its important value more advanced of the DevOps engineer.I have only one consideration to make, or anyway my personal opionion.