site reliability engineering

Site Reliability Engineering: Want to be an SRE? DevOps or SRE?

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) may be a discipline that comes with aspects of software engineering and applies them to infrastructure and operations problems. the most goals are to make scalable and highly reliable software systems. consistent with Ben Treynor, founding father of Google’s Site Reliability Team, SRE is “what happens when a programmer is tasked with what wont to be called operations.”

SRE Roles

A site reliability engineer (SRE) will spend up to 50% of their time doing “ops” related work like issues, on-call, and manual intervention. Since the software that an SRE oversees is predicted to be highly automatic and self-healing, the SRE should spend the opposite 50% of their time on development tasks like new features, scaling, or automation. the perfect site reliability engineer candidate is either a programmer with an honest administration background or a highly skilled supervisor with knowledge of coding and automation.

DevOrs and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)

Coined around 2008, DevOps is a philosophy of cross-team empathy and business alignment. it is also been related to a practice that encompasses automation of manual tasks, continuous integration, and continuous delivery. SRE and DevOps share equivalent foundational principles. SRE is viewed by many (as cited within the Google SRE book) as a “specific implementation of DevOps with some idiosyncratic extensions.” SREs, being developers themselves, will naturally bring solutions that help remove the barriers between development teams and operations teams.

DevOps defines 5 key pillars of success:

  • Reduce organizational silos
  • Accept failure as normal
  • Implement gradual changes
  • Leverage tooling and automation
  • Measure everything

SRE satisfies the DevOps pillars as follows.

  • Reduce organizational silos:
  • SRE shares ownership with developers to make a shared responsibility.
  • SREs use equivalent tools that developers use, and the other way around.

Accept failure as normal:

  • SREs, embrace risk.
  • SRE quantifies failure and availability during a prescriptive manner using Service Level Indicators (SLIs) and repair Level Objectives (SLOs).
  • SRE mandates blameless post mortems.

Implement gradual changes:

  • SRE encourages developers and merchandise owners to maneuver quickly by reducing the value of failure

Leverage tooling and automation:

  • SREs have the charter to automate menial tasks (called “toil”) away

Measure everything:

  • SRE defines prescriptive ways to live values
  • SRE fundamentally believes that systems operation may be a software problem

Google SRE Book

“Site reliability engineers create a bridge between development and operations by applying a software engineering mindset to system administration topics.”

How much do site reliability engineers make?

per year: $128,692
The average salary for a site reliability engineer is $128,692 per year in the United States and $10,000 cash bonus per year.
Site Reliability Engineering slary in uk
Site Reliability Engineer salary
sre salary in usa uk

What is site reliability engineering?

Are you trying to find a stimulating and competitive career that permits you to experience first-hand the complete power of DevOps—and even go a couple of steps beyond? A site reliability engineer role could be an excellent fit

Site reliability engineering (SRE) was born at Google in 2003, before the DevOps movement, when the primary team of software engineers was tasked to form Google’s already large-scale sites more reliable, efficient, and scalable. The practices they developed responded so well to Google’s needs that other big tech companies, like Amazon and Netflix, also adopted them and brought new practices to the table.

SRE eventually became a full-fledged IT domain, aimed toward developing automated solutions for operational aspects like on-call monitoring, performance and capacity planning, and disaster response. It complements beautifully other core DevOps practices, like continuous delivery and infrastructure automation.

“Site reliability engineers create a bridge between development and operations by applying a software engineering mindset to system administration topics.”

Google described its experience and findings during a book, “Site Reliability Engineering – How Google Runs Production Systems”, which is out there online for free of charge.

The book introduces powerful concepts like error budgets and repair level objectives, and it describes Google’s practices around automation, handling emergencies, and incidents.

troubleshooting and monitoring, managing risk, and building scalable systems. It also discusses aspects like organizing the SRE team and on-call duties.

What does a site reliability engineer do?

Ben Traynor, VP of engineering at Google and founding father of Google SRE, pinpointed the essence of the SRE role during this interview:

“SRE is fundamentally doing work that has historically been done by an operations team, but using engineers with software expertise and banking on the very fact that these engineers are inherently both predisposed to.

And have the power to, substitute automation for human labor. generally, an SRE team is liable for availability, latency, performance, efficiency, change management, monitoring, emergency response, and capacity planning.”

Site reliability engineers create a bridge between development and operations by applying a software engineering mindset to system administration topics. They split their time between operations/on-call duties and developing systems and software that help increase site reliability and performance. Google puts tons of emphasis on SREs not spending quite 50% of their time on operations and considers any violation of this rule a symbol of system ill-health.

The ultimate goal for SREs is to, as Google puts it, “automate their answer employment .” One important thanks to doing that are to create self-service tools for user groups that believe their services (e.g., automatic provisioning of test environments, logs, and statistics visualization). Doing so reduces add progress for all parties, allows developers to focus exclusively on feature development, and lets them specialize in subsequent tasks to automate.

SREs collaborate closely with product developers to make sure that the designed solution responds to non-functional requirements like availability, performance, security, and maintainability. They also work with release engineers to make sure that the software delivery pipeline is as efficient as possible.

To gain better insight into what it means to be an SRE at Google, watch the testimonials of those five Google SREs.

Can it be good as carrier path?

You can become an SRE no matter your background in software or systems engineering, as long as you’ve got solid foundations in both and a robust incentive for improving and automating. If you’re a systems engineer and need to enhance your programming skills,

or if you’re programmer and need to find out the way to manage large-scale systems, this role is for you. Deepening your knowledge in both areas will offer you a competitive edge and more flexibility for the longer term.

If you’re a “continuous improvement aficionado” like me, the SRE role will allow you to realize the system-wide view: 

you’ll understand how the software delivery value chain works and skills to make sure agility and reliability and deliver more value overall.

It is often highly motivating and offers a perfect position to demonstrate the worth you bring back your organization.

There is also no better role for staying in-tune with the most recent developments within the DevOps world and expanding your knowledge and skills in high-demand areas like infrastructure automation,

release engineering, and continuous delivery. it’s highly improbable that you’ll get bored being an SRE. On the contrary, it’s a highly creative, stimulating, and technically challenging role.

Last but not least, since SREs are typically found at high-performing tech companies that have large data centers and sophisticated technical challenges,

their roles are often inspiring from both a financial and workplace culture perspective. Another plus: Google considers SREs scarce resources.

Roles and Responsibilities for a site reliability engineer

Implementing an SRE team will greatly benefit both IT operations and software development teams. Not only can SRE drive deeper reliability to systems in production but it’ll likely help IT, support, and development teams spend less time performing on support escalations, and provides them longer to create new features and services.

So, let’s quickly re-evaluate common site reliability engineering roles and responsibilities you’ll expect to ascertain.

Building software to assist operations and support teams:

SRE teams are responsible for proactively building and implementing services to form IT and support better at their jobs. this will be anything from adjustments to monitoring and alerting to code changes in production. A site reliability engineer is often tasked with building a homegrown tool from scratch to assist with weaknesses in software delivery or incident management.

Fixing support escalation issues:

Similarly to the purpose above, a site reliability engineer can expect to spend time fixing support escalation cases. But, as your SRE operations mature, your systems will become more reliable and you’ll see fewer critical incidents in production – resulting in fewer support escalations. Because an SRE team touches numerous different parts of the engineering and IT organization, it is often an excellent source of data and may be helpful for routing issues to the proper people and teams.

Optimizing on-call rotations and processes:

More times than not, site reliability engineers will get to take on-call responsibilities. at most organizations, the SRE role will have tons of say in how the team can improve system reliability through the optimization of on-call processes. SRE teams will help add automation and context to alerts – resulting in a far better real-time collaborative response from on-call responders. Additionally, site reliability engineers can update runbooks, tools, and documentation to assist prepare on-call teams for future incidents.

Documenting “tribal” knowledge:

SRE teams gain exposure to systems in both staging and production, also as all technical teams. They participate in work with software development, support, IT operations, and on-call duties – meaning they build up an excellent amount of historical knowledge over time. rather than siloing this data into the mind of 1 team or one person, site reliability engineers are often tasked with documenting much of what they know. Constant upkeep of documentation and runbooks can make sure that teams get the knowledge they have right once they need it.

Conducting post-incident reviews:

Without thorough post-incident reviews, you’ve got no thanks for identifying what’s working and what’s not. SRE teams got to keep teams honest and make sure that everyone – software developers and IT professionals – are conducting post-incident reviews, documenting their findings, and taking action on their learnings. Then, site reliability engineers are often tasked with action items for building or optimizing some a part of the SDLC or incident lifecycle to bolster the reliability of their service.

Where does SRE fit on your team?

Site reliability engineering roles and responsibilities are crucial to the continual improvement of individuals, processes, and technology within any organization. Whether your team has already taken on a full-blown DevOps culture or you’re still attempting to form the transition, SRE offers numerous benefits to hurry and reliability. SRE fits right at the crossroads of IT operations, support, and software engineering. SRE is the right blend of skills to tightening the connection between IT and developers – resulting in shorter feedback loops, better collaboration, and more reliable software.

Pros and cons of being a site reliability engineer:

Catchpoint recently put out its 2019 SRE Report showing that site reliability engineers were a number of the happiest employees in software development and IT. While SREs can’t spend all of their time building new features for patrons, they’re constantly making an impression on customer experience. In fact, if you’re trying to find a task designed to assist customers the foremost – then SRE is it.

Site reliability engineering not only improves the lives of consumers but, when done right, improves the lives of on-call teams, IT professionals, and software developers. SRE is often one of the foremost fulfilling roles for a programmer. It can assist you better understand the struggles of IT and support, making you a far better developer going forward.

See how we added SRE into our own DevOps culture – driving deeper reliability and collaboration across all of our teams. Download our free eBook, Building the Resilient Future Faster, to ascertain how site reliability engineering can increase system reliability and quickly drive value for your own team.

DevOps and SRE:

DevOps and SRE appear to be two sides of an equivalent coin. Both titles aim to bridge the gap between development and operation teams, with a unified goal of enhancing the discharge cycle with none compromises.

And indeed, in most companies we will see that there’s a requirement for only one of those positions, with an overlap in responsibilities and skills . Both titles co-exist within the same space, and both are an important a part of the event team; so how are they different, and what does all mean? Let’s check it out.

Psst! Struggling to take care of the reliability of your applications together with your current tooling? OverOps provides unique, code-level insight about every error and slowdown and helps teams prioritize them to eliminate Sev1 issues in production.

Development, Operations, and Reliability

Before DevOps was implemented, development and operation teams worked as two independent squads, each with its own goals and objectives. The differences and lack of communication between these teams often impacted the merchandise , which reciprocally affected the top users and company.

In order to raised communicate and build better products, DevOps became one among the foremost critical positions in every company.

The official definition of DevOps is “a software engineering culture and practice, that aims at unifying software development and software operation.” The term was first coined by Andrew Shafer and Patrick Debois back in 2008, and while it took a couple of years for it to become a standard concept, nowadays almost every company, from enterprises to startups, are hiring DevOps.

The concept of Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) has been around since 2003, making it even older than DevOps. it had been coined by Ben Treynor, who founded Google’s Site Reliability Team. consistent with Treynor, SRE is “what happens when a programmer is tasked with what wont to be called operations.”

Just like DevOps, SRE is additionally about combining development and operation teams, helping them see the opposite side of the method , while introducing visibility to the entire application lifecycle.

Both titles are advocates of automation and monitoring, with an identical goal to scale back the time from when a developer commits a change to when it’s deployed to production. DevOps and SREs both want to try to to so without compromising on the standard of the code or product along the way.

Google itself states that SRE and DevOps aren’t so different from one another: “they’re not two competing methods for software development and operations, but rather close friends designed to interrupt down organizational barriers to deliver better software faster.”

So why did Google got to create its own definition?

The Differences Between DevOps and SREs?

As we mentioned before, the concept of DevOps is all about combining development and operations, defining the behavior of the system and seeing what must be done to shut the “gap” between the 2 teams. the idea behind this title talks about what must be done to form the 2 teams work together.

And consistent with Google, that’s where the most difference between DevOps and SRE lies. While DevOps is all about the “What” must be done, SRE talks about “How” this will be done. It’s about expanding the theoretical part to an efficient workflow, with the proper work methods, tools then on. It’s also about sharing the responsibility between everyone and getting everyone in sync with an equivalent goal and vision.

To help further explain the difference, Google released a series of videos and posts that mention how the 2 titles differ. In one of these posts, written by two Google employees: Seth Vargo, Staff Developer Advocate, and Liz Fong-Jones, Site Reliability Engineer, they explain that SRE “embody the philosophies of DevOps with a greater specialize in measuring and achieving reliability through engineering and operations work.”

Seth and Liz represented the similarities and differences between the 2 through the highest 5 pillars of DevOps, explaining what they mean for SRE:

#1 Reduce Organizational Silos:
Large enterprises usually have a posh organization structure, with tons of teams working in silos. Each team is pulling the merchandise during a different direction, not communicating with the remainder of the corporate, and as a result, fail to ascertain the large picture as an entirethis will cause frustration, a group back in deployment, and high costs thanks to delays.

DevOps’ job is to scale back the silos and to form sure there aren’t any teams within teams who aren’t aligned with the remainder of the corporate. They minimize and bridge the teams into one group, with a shared vision.

SREs doesn’t mention what percentage silos are within the company, but more about the way to get everyone to debatethis is often done by using equivalent tools and techniques across the corporate, which reciprocally helps share the ownership across everyone.

#2 Accept Failure as Normal:
Although the concept of DevOps is about handling and dealing with issues before they fail, failure is some things that we, unfortunately, can’t avoid. DevOps embraces this by accepting failure as something that’s sure to happen, and which may help the team learn and grow.

In the world of the SREs, this objective is delivered by having a formula for balancing accidents and failures against new releases. In other words, SREs want to form sure that there aren’t too many errors or failures, albeit it’s something that we will learn.

This formula is measured with two key identifiers: Service Level Indicators (SLIs) and repair Level Objectives (SLOs).

SLIs measure the failures per request, by calculating request latency, the throughput of requests per second, or failures per request as measured over time. SLOs derive out of this threshold, percentage or number, and represent the success of SLIs over a particular amount of your time.

#3 Implement Gradual Change:
Companies want to maneuver faster than before. they need frequent releases, continually updating the merchandise, and keeping team members on their toes about new and relevant technology.

DevOps are all for this alteration but during a gradual and handled way. Both DevOps and SREs want to maneuver quickly, and Google points out that SREs emphasizes reducing the value of failure as they are doing so.

#4 Leverage Tooling and Automation
As we mentioned before, one among the most focal points for both DevOps and SREs is automation. Both titles encourage adding the maximum amount of automation and tools as possible, as long as they supply value to developers and operations by removing manual tasks.

#5 Measure Everything:
An automated workflow that moves fast is some things that need constant monitoring. DevOps and SRE teams both got to confirm that they’re occupation the proper direction and that they do so by measuring everything.

The main difference here is that SREs revolves around the concept that operations may be a software problem, which led them to define prescriptive ways for measuring availability, uptime, outages, toil, etc.

SREs also make sure that everyone within the company agrees on the way to measure reliability, and what to try to when availability falls out of specification. This includes contributors at every level, from developers, through team managers, and every one the high to VPs and executives.

What Does It Mean To Be Reliable?

We talked about sharing responsibility, accepting failure, and measuring everything. Now, we’d like how to form sure everything is indeed working because it should, and is reliable. In other words, there should be a unified method to live reliability at every level.

SREs are measuring SLIs and SLOs, and DevOps teams measure the failure rate, also because of the success rate over time and both usually do so with different tools and methods. While these teams have a summary of what’s happening, it’s not complete. Reliability isn’t almost the infrastructure, it’s relevant every step of the way – from application quality, through performance, and up to security.

Failure and issues can and can happen in several aspects of the appliance, and when it does, we’d like to possess reliable data to know why the difficulty happened within the first place, what caused it, and the way to repair it. If we break it down, this data should include:

Execution stack and bytecode
Complete variable state (overlayed on full source code)
JVM State: Threads, environment variables
Relevant log statements (including DEBUG and TRACE in production)
Event analytics (Frequency, failure rate, deployment, application)
And since this is often crucial informationwe’ve to form sure it’s reliable and actionable. this will be through with the assistance of fixing alerts for various scenarios, embracing a way of peer code review, unit tests than on.

While these methods help promote a shared responsibility between everyone, they could find yourself impacting the product’s performance. and therefore the bigger the organization is, the upper the value for failure, whether it’s customer satisfaction, employee churn, or a decreased product value.

That’s why it’s important to attenuate the manual system work and automate the gathering of data. And while you’re at it, you furthermore may get to stay top of everything that’s happening in your product. In other words, you would like the proper data to live the reliability of your software throughout the CI/CD workflow.

Join our webinar to find out more about the way to get to the basis explanation for issues, improve the feedback circuit, and confirm you’ve got reliable data. check-in now.

Final Thoughts:

So, is there a difference between DevOps and SREs? Google, the “founder” of the SRE title clearly defined it, alongside an easy set of expectations. DevOps, because it seems, is more of a “free spirit”, with the definition and perspectives varying from organization to organization.

However, DevOps and SRE teams aren’t so different. Both help combine developer and operation teams while sharing similar responsibilities and that specializes in enabling automation and reliability.

The bottom line is that it’s all about the infoyou would like information so as to know the way to measure success and failure and the way to realize continuous reliability across the appliance.

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