Site Reliability Engineering (SRE): Top Questions

The toughest companies of the world spend millions of dollars on preventing their systems and sites from going down because if so they lose much more. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and many others were searching for the way their systems to operate reliably and uninterruptedly even when new features and updates pop up. And they found the solution to  this problem which happened to be site reliability engineering (SRE). The SRE concept  was introduced by Ben Traynor, VP of Engineering Google, who said that SRE is an approach to building systems in a way to boost their reliability, monitoring, and continuously improving and optimizing the workflow. With developers in touch with their software in production, together with customers’ and other software production team members’ feedback, SRE makes a precious contribution to enhancing the quality of software and infrastructure. However, many people find the site reliability engineering approach quite difficult to comprehend and have many questions about it. That is why we decided to answer the most popular questions.

Top SRE questions 

Let’s avoid general questions like “What is SRE?” and concentrate on more profound and thought-provocative ones.

Why is SRE Important?

Here are the main advantages of SRE implementation:

  • Meantime to repair (MTTR) and mean time between failures (MTBF) is reduced;
  • Updates and new features are delivered faster;
  • Failures and bugs are easier and faster detected and fixed;
  • Ops’s tasks are fully automated, which diminishes the risk of human error and saves time for more creative work;
  • Emotional and professional burnout is not happening, as Ops specialists are focused on improvements, not endless bug fixing;
  • Developers and IT operations teams unite forces and share responsibility;  
  • Security is enhanced.

What is the difference between DevOps and SRE? 

Similar: Both DevOps and SRE aimed to deliver high-quality and client-oriented software products and features faster. Both DevOps and SRE were designed to break a wall between key software development teams for them to unite their forces in one seamless workflow. Different: SR engineers, who have an IT operations background, operate within the development team to fulfill operations tasks and project work, while DevOps engineers make sure all software development cycles (from planning to product maintenance) are smoothly run. In terms of the main focus: DevOps concentrates on moving through SDLC, while SRE fixates on balancing site reliability with creating new features. 

What does a site reliability engineer do?

SRE teams’ responsibilities include:

  • Code deployment and configuration;
  • Software for efficient IT operations building;
  • Performance planning and monitoring;
  • Immediate failure alerting;
  • Prompt support issues fixing;
  • Optimizing on-call processes and documenting;
  • Reporting to the teams.

Basically, site reliability engineers spend 50% of their work on operations tasks and project work and the rest 50% on development such as building codes for new features that can help automate operations processes, monitoring and others. 

Final thoughts

If you want your software and sites to operate reliably, tone down risks and increase the security of your systems,  you need an SRE expert in your team. Hiring an SRE engineer can be a quite challenging and time-consuming process, though. As such, you can turn to reliable MSPs, experienced outsourcing companies that provide SRE engineering services to ensure the successful completion of your projects. Their dedicated teams will ensure the high availability of your products and services and improve the end-user experience of your customers. 

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