Site Reliability Engineering

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a discipline to help organizations sustainably achieve an appropriate level of reliability in their systems, services, and products. The SRE team uses the software engineering approach to automate IT operation tasks.

SRE arises as a solution to bridge the needs of Developers who want to deliver software updates as soon and frequently as possible while maintaining the reliability of the application in the production environment.

vs. DevOps

DevOps is a culture that breaks the traditional boundary between the Developer and the Operation team. SRE can be seen as the practical implementation of DevOps.

DevOps provides the philosophical foundation of what must be done to maintain software quality amidst the increasingly shortened development timeline. SRE offers the answers to achieving DevOps success by ensuring that the DevOps team strikes the right balance between speed and stability.


The SRE teams measure the quality of service delivery and reliability by monitoring some metrics.

The Service Level Indicators (SLI) are measurable aspects of the provided service levels, which include critical indicators like request latency, availability, error rate, and system throughput.

The Service Level Objectives (SLO) are specific goals that are considered acceptable based on the observed SLI. When defining SLO, you will also define Error Budgets as the noncompliance tolerance for the SLO. For example, if your SLO includes an uptime of 99.95%, you allow downtime of 0.05% as the error budget.

The Service Level Agreements (SLA) are legal documents that state what would happen when one or more SLOs are not met. For example, if you cannot fulfill the 99.95% uptime commitment, you might be obligated to refund the customers.

Operational Balance

Maintaining the balance between operations and development work is a critical component of SRE. The SRE team split their time between operations tasks and project work.

According to SRE best practices from Google, site reliability engineers can only spend 50% of their time on operations at maximum—and they should be monitored to ensure they don’t go over. They must spend the rest of their time on development tasks like creating new features, scaling the system, and implementing automation.

Automation is an essential part of the SRE team’s role. They will likely automate a solution if they repeatedly deal with a problem.


Let’s see again how SRE benefits your organization:

  • Gain greater visibility into service health by tracking metrics, logs, and traces across all services in the organization and providing context for identifying root causes in the event of an incident.
  • Quantify the cost of downtime by helping development and operations teams understand the cost of SLA violations and helping management quantify the impact of system reliability on production, sales, marketing, customer service, and other business functions.
  • Optimize incident response by building efficient on-call processes and streamlining alerting workflows.
  • Build a modern network operations center by combining an in-depth understanding of IT operations with machine learning and automation to send alerts directly to the person responsible for addressing the issue.

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