What is SRE (Site Reliability Engineering)

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a discipline that combines aspects of operations, development, and systems engineering to meet business goals.

Digital Quality
8 min
Digital Quality
What is SRE (Site Reliability Engineering)

Site reliability engineers - or SREs - use software engineering principles to automate many of the tasks that have traditionally been handled by systems administrators. SREs are an integral part of a team responsible for monitoring and maintaining a website or web service, and for triaging and handling incidents when something goes wrong.

Understanding SRE

SRE is software engineering for IT operations, applying software development and testing practices to building and managing highly reliable, scalable, and resilient production service systems. 

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a discipline that combines aspects of operations, development, and systems engineering.

Its origins are in reliability engineering and process control. 

The end goal is maximally effective automation - to build services that run with maximum uptime, security, scalability, and performance.

Building on the tremendous strides of software engineering in recent years, Google SRE is a revolutionary new approach to systems management.

As companies increasingly rely on complex, high-availability systems to deliver their online services, it's critically important that these systems run smoothly at all times. 

We can say that site reliability engineering is the art of building and operating reliable systems that aim to sustainably meet business objectives.

Approach of SRE

At its core, SRE does not focus on specific technologies or products, but rather on the discipline of managing and operating complex systems.

Site Reliability Engineering is a new way to look at operations. It melds software development and systems engineering skills with production and operations disciplines like reliability, availability, and capacity planning.

SRE is a software-driven approach to IT service delivery with a focus on 24/7 production operations that's been developed over the past decade at Google and other companies.

SRE uses automation and measurement to drive reliability and operational efficiency, supported by technical leadership in areas such as systems architecture and security.

Through years of research, Google has developed a set of site reliability engineering (SRE) practices that make web-scale services more reliable—by orders of magnitude. Hence, it improves the reliability of software and hardware systems customers rely on every day. 

As we scale our infrastructure to support a growing and more global user base, we're transforming our infrastructure management. 

Because SREs are embedded in product teams themselves, they are responsible for defining clear ownership of reliability requirements, designing reliable systems, ensuring resource commitments to meet those requirements, and coordinating with other infrastructure teams to debug system outages. 

If you want to work on projects that reach or exceed the scale of Google's mission, Site Reliability Engineering is for you.

Learn also the benefits of SRE implementation.

SRE vs DevOps

DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) share some common principles. 

Both of them aim to automate the infrastructure and manual tasks, both aim to increase reliability and quality of services, lessen the need for human supervision, make it easier to deliver new features rapidly while maintaining high-quality releases across a diverse set of platforms.

Most importantly, both are founded on close collaboration between development and operations.

SRE is a hybrid role that blends software development and system engineering skills in order to work closely with developers to create services that seamlessly meet business goals.

Check the below IBM examples on SRE working in executing DevOps principles:

DevOps vs SRE practices

The development process is more focused on end-user experience and visibility, often allowing for continuous deployment.

A significant fraction of SRE work is about making sure that DevOps continues to work. SRE does this in a few different ways, by helping the development teams to avoid common pitfalls, and by working together with those same development teams until the pitfalls are no longer an issue.

Recommended reading: Why SRE is so important.

Top SRE books to not skip

SRE lately is a hot topic and the best way to stay informed and deepen the knowledge is by reading and keeping yourself up to date with the new developments and trends.

Hence, this knowledge you can find in the following choices we came up with.

Among many articles and other sources of information, the book "Site Reliability Engineering which is known as "The SRE Book" is a must-read.

This book provides a detailed and specific explanation of how Google implemented SRE over the years.

The second well-known SRE book is "The Site Reliability Workbook" known as The SRE Workbook. In this book, more expanded insights can be found on the "how" and "why" of SRE at Google and others, in addition to the "what" of it.

Last but not least, "Seeking SRE" is the book that will help you enrich your knowledge on how the SRE was implemented in other environments.

This is a must-read since it helps you get outside the box of Google implementation and understand how you can implement SRE in your projects.

Keep in mind, these books can help you strengthen or keep your principles strong, keep your knowledge up-to-date, and your stomach ready for anything.

Site Reliability Engineer duties

Site reliability engineers strive to keep complex software and services running smoothly. They work as part of the infrastructure engineering organization and report to the site engineering manager. 

Through their leadership and experience, they help operationalize software projects and create a culture that enables all of their team​s services to reliably serve end users.

Site reliability engineers work with the development team and IT operations to monitor the infrastructure and manage it for continuity. They are not concerned so much with features of the software, but the reliability of systems.

Site reliability engineers build and manage everything IT needs to run smoothly:

  • they design and develop software, 
  • manage data centers, 
  • interface with developers and end-users, 
  • monitor things like queues and indexes - all to ensure that the site is up and running 24x7.

Site reliability engineers are focused on; building, operating, and maintaining large distributed systems.

Adservio’s help

We can help you automate all application system controls, such as monitoring, management, and security tasks without the need for manual intervention. \

This automation relieves the operations staff of these routine tasks and allows them to focus on high-value activities.

As a result, SRE leads to improved performance, increased reliability and consistency, fewer outages, and greater flexibility in operations. 

Reach our team of professionals and get to know how your business can benefit from successfully implementing SRE.

Published on
January 12, 2022

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