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Site Reliability Engineering | Approach to Achieve DevOps Objectives

Parveen Bhandari | 26 October 2020


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What is SRE?

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a discipline that includes aspects of software engineering and implements them to IT operation obstacles. SRE's approach to the present is to use a package engineering mentality to system administration topics. Pitch, organizations, need the correct information to measure their software's reliability throughout the CI/CD workflow.
SREs are typically a core group of professionals who have a wide array of skills. Source: Forbes
SRE is a discipline that includes aspects of software package engineering and applies them to infrastructure and operations issues. The most goals are to form ascendible and extremely reliable software package systems. An SRE team is answerable for the provision, latency, performance, efficiency, modification management, monitoring, emergency response, and capacity planning of their service(s).

Origin of SRE

In 2003, Benjamin Treynor was placed accountable for running a production team consisting of seven engineers. This production team aimed to form positive that Google websites were reliable and as serviceable as doable. Since Benjamin was a coder, he designed and managed the team within his approach if he worked as a web site reliability engineer. He did this by giving the team the task of paying their time on Site Reliability Engineering operations tasks to understand the package in production better. That team eventually became Google's contemporary SRE team. The task of SRE is common in digital enterprises and gaining momentum in traditional IT teams. Part systems administrator, part second-tier support, and part developer, SREs require a personality that is by nature inquisitive, always getting new skills, asking queries, and solving problems by embracing new tools and automation. Following SRE Best Practices became the paradigm to manage Google's large-scale systems and facilitate the continual introduction of recent options.

Important Aspects of SRE

Site reliability engineers collaborate with alternative engineers, product owners, and customers to return targets and measures. You recognize once action ought to be taken once you've set a system's period and accessibility. Below mentioned are some important aspects of SRE to ponder:
  1. This is often done through Observability, Service-Level Indicators (SLIs), and Service Level Objectives (SLOs).
  2. An engineer ought to have a holistic understanding of the systems because of the connections between the systems.
  3. Site reliability engineers have the task of guaranteeing the first discovery of issues to cut back the failure cost.
  4. Since Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) aims to resolve issues between groups, the expectation is that each of the SRE groups and the development groups have a holistic read of libraries, front end, back end, storage, and alternative parts. And shared possession means anybody's team can't enviously own single parts.

Principles of SRE

SRE involves making a bridge between development and operations. No wonder SRE has some principles for its operation. Let's have a look below:
  1. The basic principle of SRE is that doing operations well could be a software issue. SRE ought to thus use software engineering approaches to resolve that issue.
  2. The second principle is to possess a written Service Level Objective (SLO) for every service and to monitor performance against it. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) may be a contract between a service supplier and a client. SLOs suggests that measuring the performance of a service supplier.
  3. SLOs are composed of Service Level Indicators (SLI). An SLI is simply one thing that you monitor— it’s a graph on your dashboard. But, after you attach a threshold to an SLI and generate an alert, this could be tied to your SLO.
  4. The SLO may be a threshold for away a lot of inaccessibility are tolerated. Is your objective to possess your service offered ninety-nine percent of the time? If thus, this implies that you tolerate ten minutes and five seconds of inaccessibility per week.
  5. Another principle of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is discovered, the tougher it’s to repair. SRE addresses this issue. “SREs are specifically charged with up undesirably late problems discovery, yielding benefits for the corporate as an entire.


Each service ought to have some service level objective (SLO), that is, a soft SLA that has no penalty, and no lawyers are going to be concerned if it's incomprehensible. The SLO of service can rely on what would be the impact if it becomes unapproachable. SLO ought to be outlined by business as they must have a concept of the worth of reputation or cash of downtime.

When you analyze service risk, you wish to assess the system's performance and track enhancements – and also, the focus is typically on unplanned downtime.

Availability = Uptime / (Uptime + Downtime)


Availability = Successful Requests / (Successful Requests + Failed Requests)

Unplanned downtime time is captured by the required level of service availability typically expressed in terms of the quantity of "nines" we'd prefer to provide: 99.9%, 99.99%, or 99.999% availability. The SLO could be a range that defines, however, huge some of the requests your permission to fail. It implies that's you set your SLO at 99.9%, your error budget is 0.01%. The error budget provides an objective metric that determines however unreliable the service is allowed to be inside one quarter. This metric removes the politics from negotiations between the SREs and, therefore, the product developers once deciding what quantity risk to permit. To know more, read how to adopt DevOps implementation strategy.

Site Reliability Engineering Benefits

SRE offers way more benefits to an organization than one may interpret. Some of these benefits are listed below:
  1. SRE accomplishes customer expectations on the functionality and valuable life of Performance Monitoring Tools.
  2. Exposure to systems in staging and production, both along with all technical teams.
  3. SRE lessens the foreseeable risks inherent to the performance of the tools and the health hazards.
  4. SRE increases the Reliability and Availability of the systems by reducing the failure rates and downtime.
  5. It prevents failures, avoid recurrences, and recover quickly and reset a failing system to reboot.
  6. SRE helps to achieve production goals quickly and more efficiently.
  7. It increases the marketing of products and guarantees.

SRE vs DevOps

SRE shares many governing concepts with DevOps. Both domains depend on the culture of sharing, metrics, and automation. It helps a corporation achieve the appropriate level of reliability in its systems, services, and products.

SRE is typically thought of as a specific implementation of DevOps. 

Indeed. Both Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and DevOps are methodologies addressing organizations' desires for production operation management. However, the variations between the 2 doctrines are quite significant.
  1. Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a lot assured in keeping up a stable production setting and pushing for speedy changes and computer code updates. Not like the DevOps team, SREs additionally thrive on a stable production setting. However, one among the SRE team's goals is to boost performance and operational potency.
  2. DevOps Culture is all concerning the "What" must be done. SRE talks concerning "How" this could be done. It's concerning increasing the theoretical half to economic advancement, with the correct work strategies, tools, etc. It's conjointly concerning sharing the responsibility between everybody and obtaining everybody in synchronizing with constant goal and vision.
Whereas DevOps raise issues and dispatch them to Dev to unravel, the SRE approach seeks out issues and solve a number of them themselves. Learn more about their differences below with us.
SRE DevOps
1. Focus on creating an ultra-scalable and highly reliable software system 1. Focus is on automated deployment process on production and staging environment.
2. SRE is one of the engineering specializations. 2. DevOps is a role.
3. SRE encourages quick movement by reducing the cost of failure. 3. DevOps implements gradual change.
4. Post Mortems 4. Environment builds
5. Monitoring, Alerting, Events 5. Configures management
6. Capacity planning 6. Infrastructure as code
7. RELIABILITY is the primary focus. 7. DELIVERY SPEED is the primary focus.

Role of an SRE Engineer

Following are the roles and responsibilities of a site reliability engineer when operating SRE in an organization:

1. Building Software to Assist Operations

The SRE team has the responsibility of building and implementing services to make IT and to support them better at their jobs. So this could be anything. For example, it can be adjustments to monitoring and alerting to code changes in production.

2. Fixing Support Escalation Issues

A site reliability engineer spends time fixing support escalation cases. As SRE operations mature, systems will become more reliable, and there will be fewer critical incidents in production, which lead to fewer support escalations.

3. Improve On-call Rotations and Processes

More times than not, site reliability engineers can take on-call responsibilities. At most organizations, the SRE role can have a lot of say in how the team can improve system reliability by optimizing on-call processes. SRE teams help add automation and context to alerts, leading to a better real-time collaborative response from on-call responders. In addition to this, site reliability engineers can update runbooks, tools, and documentation, which will help prepare on-call teams for future incidents.

4. Documenting Tribal Knowledge

In both staging and production, SRE teams and all technical teams gain exposure to systems. They indulge in software development, bolster, IT operations, and on-call duties, which means building up a great amount of historical knowledge over time. The SRE team can be tasked with documenting much of what they know. Constantly maintaining documentation and runbooks can ensure that they can get that information whenever teams need any information.

5. Conducting Post-incident Reviews

Without profound post-incident reviews, you have no other way to identify what’s working and what’s not. SRE teams should ensure that software developers and IT professionals conduct post-incident reviews, document their findings, and take action on their learnings. After that, site reliability engineers are often tasked with building or optimizing some part of the SDLC or incident lifecycle to bolster their service reliability.


Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a practice that applies both software development skills and mindset to IT operations. The goal of SRE is to improve the reliability of high-scale systems, and this is done through automation and continuous integration and delivery. SRE involves using software engineering techniques that include algorithms, data structures, performance, and programming languages to achieve highly reliable web applications. No wonder SRE is booming in the modern era. So what are you waiting for now!