XenonStack Recommends

Continuous Security

Role of SRE in Production Services | The Advanced Guide

Parveen Bhandari | 09 June 2023

Role of SRE in Production Services

What is SRE?

Site Reliability Engineers (SRE) bridge the gap between development and operations by bringing a software engineering perspective to system administration concerns. This is the crux of what an SRE engineer does.

Before the DevOps movement, in 2003, the first team of software engineers at Google was entrusted with increasing the dependability, efficiency, and scalability of Google's already sizable websites. This was the birth of site reliability engineering (SRE). They created procedures that met Google's objectives so effectively that other major digital firms, including Netflix and Amazon, adopted them and added new procedures. Now that we understand What an SRE is let's switch our focus to how they work.

SRE enables engineers or operations teams who use software and automation to address issues and manage production systems, the jobs that historically have been performed by operations teams, frequently manually.

A discipline that includes aspects of software engineering and implements them to IT operation obstacles. Taken From Article, Site Reliability Engineering

Why SRE is important?

SRE is a valuable technique for developing highly scalable software systems. System administrators (sysadmins) who oversee tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of machines can more easily administer complex systems through code, which is more scalable and long-lasting. SRE assists teams in striking a balance between rolling out new features and guaranteeing user dependability. Standardization and automation are two crucial elements of the SRE in this context.

How SRE differs from other Support Engineers?

Ops can imply various things in various organizations. Hence, it's essential to remember that when answering this question. In a DevOps framework, SRE replaces SysOps, which deals with the dependable operation of the systems. On the other hand, Application Support deals with a platform's manual intervention when there are functional gaps or defects at the application level.

Either or both of these tasks, whether in a first or second-line capacity, may be covered by a production support role. SRE needs to be there to perform the role of application support. Still, they might (together with Development) be involved in platform architectural advancements to eliminate the need for future manual intervention and by creating efficient PIRs.

The Production Support role covers much of what an SRE would be in charge of. An SRE might address the problem differently depending on their skill set as Production Support Engineers. Bring in SRE specialists to collaborate with the current Product Support engineers. Their skill sets should include monitoring, automation, and DevOps working practices (effective teamwork, PIR process, and general SysOps abilities).

A buzz these days in the industry; it’s growing at a speed of light due to its potential to produce quality products at a lightning pace. Taken From Article, DevOps Automation Tools

Role of SRE in Production Services

The following is how the role of SRE is best suited to Production Services:

Error Budgets

An error budget is the maximum number of errors that can occur in your business before customers get dissatisfied. It can be compared to the users' pain threshold regarding a specific aspect of your service, such as availability, latency, etc. We must apply the SLI equation to determine the error budget.

SLI = [Good events / Valid events] x 100

The mistake budget is the remaining portion, up to a maximum of 100, after you specify an objective for each SLI, which is now the percentage's SLI.

Consider measuring your home page's accessibility as an example. The percentage of requests incorrectly answered out of all valid requests sent to the home page determines availability. The error budget is 0.1% if you set the availability goal at 99.9%. Users will be content to use the service for the foreseeable future even if you serve up to 0.1% of faults (ideally slightly less than 0.1%).

Define SLOs like a User

Use metrics essential to end users to assess availability and performance. SLOs, or Service Level Objectives, form the cornerstone of all site reliability engineering. With them, it is possible to prioritize development activity, create error budgets, or manage incidents promptly and effectively. SLOs should outline their measurement methodology and the circumstances under which they are valid.  

  • SLIs, or service level indicators: a precise numerical measurement of a particular aspect of the caliber of the services offered, such as throughput or latency.  
  • Service Level Objective(SLOs): A target value or range of values for a service level determined by SLI are known as service level objectives (SLOs).
  • Service Level Agreements(SLAs): A commercial agreement to compensate a consumer if the service does not meet expectations.Simply put, SLO + repercussions.

Monitoring Errors and Availability

SRE teams must monitor their systems to find performance issues and keep services available. Monitoring is necessary to ensure a system or application is operating as planned. This entails providing a service, achieving particular objectives, and realizing the effects of changes. Additionally, we want to be aware before the client.

Efficiently Planning Capacity

Organizations must prepare for both organic and inorganic growth, resulting from increased product acceptance or unexpected spikes in demand by introducing new features or other factors like marketing campaigns. You'll need to forecast the demand and schedule time for acquisition to be ready for these occasions.

Regular load testing and precise provisioning are critical components of capacity planning. You can test your system frequently to check how it performs under the typical stress of daily users. Additionally, increasing capacity in any way can be expensive, so it's essential to understand where you need more resources.

Change Management

Whether switching to a new binary push or a new configuration push, changes to a live system frequently result in disruptions at many firms. Every slightest modification affects the company. Therefore, consider the danger that each change poses. It needs to be watched over. They are considering the impact of the long-term changes by looking at the overall picture and not just how they might damage the system today.

It must be monitored by either the engineer carrying out the rollout stage or, preferably, a proven, reliable monitoring system to ensure nothing unexpected happens throughout the change. Roll back first and troubleshoot later if unexpected behavior is found to reduce Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR).

Blameless Postmortem

Building a more dependable system within businesses requires a blameless postmortem culture. Postmortems should be objective, with an emphasis on technology and process rather than on individuals.

Assume the individuals responsible for an occurrence are intelligent, had good intentions, and were making the best decisions they could based on the knowledge they had at the time. It is ineffective to blame an incident on a particular person or group. This environment makes People reluctant to take chances, be creative, or solve problems.

Toil Management

Automation is one of SRE's primary areas of interest. Toil wastes valuable engineering time, and SREs can free up that time by developing frameworks, procedures, and internal or custom tools to do away with it.

SRE team is responsible for resolving incidents, automating operational tasks, using the software to manage systems. Taken From Article, Managed SRE Challenges and Solutions


In this blog, we learned What an SRE is, their roles, and how they are used in production services and create automated solutions for operational aspects, including on-call monitoring, performance and capacity planning, and catastrophe response, SRE gradually developed into a full-fledged IT domain. Although supports other fundamental DevOps techniques like infrastructure automation and continuous delivery.