Updated January 19, 2023
By: Biswajit Mohapatra
The day-to-day responsibilities of IT development and operations team are continuously evolving. Once upon a time there were separate development and operation teams in an organization operating in silos. Thereafter, came DevOps to build, deploy, run and manage systems together, breaking the silos. This was a great improvement. However, there were still many unanswered questions. How do we balance change velocity vs. stability, reliability, and other operational attributes? How do we improve performance of the system? How do we avoid incidence response burnout?
The Rise of SRE
All of these questions gave rise to the advent of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) with an increased focus on performance engineering, demand forecasting, capacity management, change management, incidence management, setting up service level indicator (SLI), objective (SLO) and agreement (SLA), risk budgeting, proactive monitoring and tracking.
- SRE is a specialized discipline that integrates software engineering practices and principles with infrastructure and ongoing operations of systems.
- SRE is what happens when a software engineer is put to address operational challenges as mentioned above.
- The main objective of SRE is to create scalable software systems by handling operations like a software engineering problem, upfront designing reliable service architectures and automating system administration tasks.
- SRE is a set of practices focused on reducing silos by shared ownership, planning for failures using error budgets, small batch changes with focus on stability, automation of manual tasks and introducing culture of measurement, monitoring and tracking.
- The fundamental goal of SRE is aimed at depicting a prescriptive approach to plan, build, implement, measure and achieve DevOps objectives with focus on reliability and automation at every opportunity.
In the digital world, stability and resiliency are key to sustaining competitiveness
As the world becomes more interconnected and instrumented, organizations are looking for new ways of improving stability and resiliency of services and products. This is making organizations focus on Site Reliability Engineer as a role with depth and breadth of understanding on how services and products work, why they fail, what needs to be done to improve, how they can be designed better and monitored better.
The job of a Site Reliability Engineer is that of a champion
Site Reliability Engineers are change agents within organizations who champion reliability best practices, design resilient systems, implement processes, methods tools and self-service solutions. Site Reliability Engineers work with design, build and DevOps squads to establish elastic architecture, bridge application and platform design from operation point of view. The scope of SRE covers several critical areas of cloud platform architecture such as orchestrated automation, responsive operation, optimized performance, Just-in-Time scaling, modernized environment and predictive event management.
Get ready, set and go on your SRE journey
Organizations planning to embrace SRE should take a staged approach, obtain stakeholder buy-in, establish a squad-based delivery team, identify scope, define processes, methods, and tools for integrated delivery pipeline and finally iterate and evolve along the way in a factory delivery model. SRE is poised for effective galvanization of strategy, business, technology, and cost to deliver value-driven results and outcomes. The mission is to delineate fast and flexible software engineering practices and principles to bring together the whole end-to-end digital reinvention journey for organizations effectively.
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