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Site Reliability Engineering | Approach to Achieve DevOps Objectives

Parveen Bhandari | 27 October 2022

What is SRE?

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a discipline that includes aspects of software engineering and implements them to IT operation obstacles. Its 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.
Typically a core group of professionals who have a wide array of skills. Source: Forbes
It 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. As team is answerable for the provision, latency, performance, efficiency, modification management, monitoring, emergency response, and capacity planning of their service(s).

Origin of Site Reliability Engineering

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 its operations tasks to understand the package in production better. That team eventually became Google's contemporary team. The task of it is common in digital enterprises and gaining momentum in traditional IT teams. Part systems administrator, part second-tier support, and part developer, it require a personality that is by nature inquisitive, always getting new skills, asking queries, and solving problems by embracing new tools and automation. Following its Best Practices became the paradigm to manage Google's large-scale systems and facilitate the continual introduction of recent options.
A practice that applies both software development skills and mindset to IT operations. Click to explore about our, Site Reliability Engineering

What are its important aspects?

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 it 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 it aims to resolve issues between groups, the expectation is that each of the its 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.

What are the 8 key principles of Site Reliability Engineering?

    • The first principle is to recruit programmers. Systems Administrators and Developers frequently fill the Site Reliability Engineer role at Google. Nonetheless, an primary responsibility is to produce code. In fact, "what happens when one employs a developer to perform operations?" is one of the main concepts of it. Hopefully, the programmer will try to automate their way out of a position. Human resources should grow linearly to manage the different systems and troubleshoot the increased surface area of additional features as a compute cluster progressively as software expands by adding more features and accommodating more users.
      However, instead of hiring more and more engineers to handle linear development, a greater focus on automation is a viable option. A computing cluster can expand linearly while the engineering group remains small if a small number of engineers can concentrate most of their time on automating manual activities and auto-remediation of faults.
      As a result, the fundamental concept of it is to employ excellent coders and let them leave whenever they choose. It is also critical that they be allowed to go without repercussions. Allow the engineer to return to a more conventional development role of adding features to a product if the manual effort continues to be burdensome and automation is getting a lot of attention.
    • The second concept of site reliability engineering is to employ your SREs and developers from the same pool of candidates and treat them equally as developers. Rather than adding functionality, the developer is aiming to improve the system's stability. A developer's rotating assignment as it in Mission Control is typical at Google. They can stay if they enjoy the work; if not, they can return to traditional development. It's also critical that there's no distinction between it and its developers.
The process of creating automated workflows in the runbook with scripts, commands, tools, and API. Click to explore about our, Automation Runbook for Site Reliability Engineering
  • As a result, the third principle of it is that the dev team gets around 5% of the operations work, plus all overflow. The development staff is always up to date on what's happening in the field. When a development team incorporates features that cause system instability, the software product generates a vast number of incidents in a short period — the team may return a product (or software) to the development team and declare it unfit for SRE support. In other words, if the product is not ready for production, the developers who designed it must assume full-time support.
  • The fourth concept of site reliability engineering is to limit the operating load of the SRE to 50% of the total load (usually 30 percent). In other words, it should spend at least half of their time automating and enhancing dependability. One way Google enforces this is by limiting the number of issues an work on during any given shift. An issue that causes an interruption (or an alarm) usually takes six hours to resolve. The problem is usually solved in minutes, but the entire procedure takes around six hours. The method involves a postmortem document and a it postmortem review, with its operational load capped at 50%. (usually 30 percent). In other words, it should spend at least half of their time automating and enhancing dependability. One way Google enforces this is by limiting the number of issues may work on during any given shift. An issue that causes an interruption (or an alarm) usually takes six hours to resolve. Of course, the problem is usually resolved in minutes, but the resolution process and a set of action items are recorded in a ticketing system. As a result, it can only tackle two operational difficulties in a 12-hour shift. They will be sent to the development teams if there are any additional problems.
  • The fifth principle states that an on-call team should include a minimum of 8 engineers for a single site (or 6 engineers for each location) and handle no more than two incidents every shift. The rationale for a minimum of 8 engineers is that each engineer works a 12-hour shift two weeks out of every month. Having a sufficient number of engineers on the team ensures a manageable workload and reduces burnout.
    Postmortems are unbiased and concentrate on procedure and technology. According to the core notion, the sixth concept of site reliability engineering states that when things go wrong, the problem is the system, the process, the environment, and the technology stack. Of doubt, there may have been some human mistake, but the situation's speedy resolution was undoubtedly due to the its team's exceptional talent. Nonetheless, the focus is on how to improve things. Thus, the strategy, structure, and processes are all prioritized. Could we improve our monitoring, alerting, and tooling? What can we do to prevent this from happening again?
  • An team should, in theory, not have to deal with the same issues repeatedly. A postmortem yields a list of action items for improving and altering the system. There should also be enough time in the timetable to complete these tasks. One its cliché is to perform it manually the first time and then automate it the second time. Its primary responsibility is to work on automation to enhance the system. As they tries to work itself out of a task, the cluster can expand, and additional features can be added without increasing the team's size.
  • The seventh principle is that each service should have a defined Service Level Objective (SLO) against which performance should be measured. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an agreement between a client and a service provider. SLOs are agreed-upon metrics for evaluating the performance of a service provider. Service Level Indicators (SLIs) make up SLOs (SLI). An SLI is more than a graph on your dashboard that you may use to track your progress. When you link a threshold to an SLI and issue an alert, however, the alert should be related to your SLO. Typically, we assess a service's availability, and the SLO is a limit on how much unavailability may be allowed. Is it your goal to have your service up and running 99.9% of the time?
    SLOs will differ amongst services, and the SLO should guide your actions. You will only deploy a modification to 10 percent of the cluster's systems. Allow it to run for a few hours, increase the percentage by 10%, and so on. In other words, your deployments will be highly cautious. If, on the other hand, a service is not mission-critical and your SLO is merely 99 percent uptime, you may afford to be less cautious and cautious in your deployment. It's vital to remember that "availability" has many different meanings, but SLOs should be observable, intelligible, and meaningful. An SLO's purpose is to direct behavior and set safeguards in place.
  • The eighth concept is to base your launch criteria on SLO finances. The greatest method to ensure a system remains stable is to avoid making any changes. Of course, we want to keep adding features to the program, and increasing utilization necessitates that we upgrade the cluster regularly. However, your SLOs should direct you on how much change to implement and when to do so. The concept of a "budget" is comparable to a bank account. A bank account with a zero balance cannot be withdrawn from.
    Similarly, if your SLO is being exceeded, you must cease introducing change. Google, I think, employs a monthly SLO. So, if a service has a 99.9% availability rate, it has a monthly unavailability budget of 43 minutes and 50 seconds. So, as long as you have the funds, deploy additional features. When you're nearing the end of a month's budget, you'll have to hold off on adding new features and making changes until your budget is renewed. You can ensure quality and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction by having an SLO budget and allowing it to guide your behavior.

A debian repository available for the installation of opencast on a Linux machine. Click to explore about our, Challenges and Solutions

What is SLA and SLO?

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 them 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

It offers way more benefits to an organization than one may interpret. Some of these benefits are listed below:
  1. It 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. It lessens the foreseeable risks inherent to the performance of the tools and the health hazards.
  4. It 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. It helps to achieve production goals quickly and more efficiently.
  7. It increases the marketing of products and guarantees.

An automated network in a service model which can operate reliably not compromising scalability, rate of change and performance. Click to explore about our, Network Reliability Engineering

SRE vs DevOps

It 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.

Indeed. Both Site Reliability Engineering 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 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, it additionally thrive on a stable production setting. However, one among the team's goals is to boost performance and operational potency.
  2. DevOps Culture is all concerning the "What" must be done. Site Reliability Engineering 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  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. Site Reliability Engineering is one of the engineering specializations. 2. DevOps is a role.
3. It 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.

What is the role of an SRE Engineer?

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

Building Software to Assist Operations

Its 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.

Fixing Support Escalation Issues

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

Improve On-call Rotations and Processes

More times than not, site reliability engineers can take on-call responsibilities. At most organizations, its role can have a lot of say in how the team can improve system reliability by optimizing on-call processes. Site Reliability Engineering 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.

Documenting Tribal Knowledge

In both staging and production, its 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. Its 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.

Conducting Post-incident Reviews

Without profound post-incident reviews, you have no other way to identify what’s working and what’s not. Site Reliability Engineering 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.
Maintain the reliability of applications and servers and automate the tasks to reduce manual work. Click to explore about our, Managed Challenges and its Solutions


Site Reliability Engineering is a practice that applies both software development skills and mindset to IT operations. The goal of Site Reliability Engineering 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 it is booming in the modern era. So what are you waiting for now!