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Why Your Business Needs Site Reliability Engineering

Why Your Business Needs Site Reliability Engineering

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Hindered by unreliable systems? Site Reliability Engineers will keep it in check

In the age of digital services, system reliability is paramount. Conglomerates like Amazon deal with millions of online business transactions 24/7 and even a momentary system failure could cost them billions. Real-time customer expectations and the need for zero downtime have pushed the need for systems that are not just functioning, but also highly available and scalable. With so much money and data at stake, neither businesses nor customers can afford disruption to their online business exchanges. So how do we prevent, minimise, and resolve these errors? This is where Site Reliability Engineering comes into the equation.

Site Reliability Engineering is a discipline that combines software engineering and operations to build, deploy, monitor, and maintain systems that are both highly reliable and scalable. SRE teams are responsible for ensuring that systems are meeting availability SLAs, while also constantly improving performance and efficiency. To do this, they utilise a combination of code development, automation, and logging/monitoring tools. In addition, SRE teams often work closely with other engineering teams to develop new features and products in a way that doesn’t sacrifice reliability.

By utilising Site Reliability Engineering principles, businesses can build systems that are more reliable and responsive to customer needs.



The Origins of SRE

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) was first conceived by Ben Traynor Sloss, Google’s Vice President for engineering in 2003. At that time, Google’s website and business were part of the same unit but already fast evolving. By 2020, Google employed more than 2,500 Site Reliability Engineers around the world.

Sloss described SRE as “what you get when you treat operations as a software problem,” and, “what happens when you ask a software engineer to design an operations team.” In other words, SRE is a methodology for managing IT infrastructure and services that draws on the principles of software engineering. As such, it emphasises Automation and Monitoring over manual processes, and aims to prevent outages rather than simply responding to them after the fact.

The benefits of SRE are clear. By applying the principles of software engineering to IT operations, companies can achieve greater efficiency and reliability. In addition, SRE can help to identify and fix problems before they cause outages or disruptions. As a result, SRE has become an increasingly popular approach to managing IT infrastructure and services.

Why Do We Need SRE?

IT organisations that implement Site Reliability Engineering can experience significant benefits, including decreased mean time to repair (MTTR), less mean time between failures (MTBF), and faster product updates and bug fixes. SREs achieve these efficiencies by automating repetitive tasks and promoting communication between development and operations teams. As a result, organisations can improve their security posture while avoiding the costly errors that can occur when human beings are left to manage complex systems.

In addition, SREs can help to speed up the process of delivering new products and features to customers, as well as fix bugs more quickly. For organisations that are looking to improve their overall efficiency, SRE provides a proven methodology for achieving significant improvements.

SRE engineers play a vital role in ensuring the quality of IT service delivery, and their work is increasingly being automated. However, to be successful in this field, it is essential to be both confident with coding abilities and open to the challenges and possibilities that automated operations processes bring.

The benefits of automating SRE tasks are clear, with organisations reporting increased productivity and reduced costs. However, success in this area requires a dedication to continual learning and an openness to new ideas. With the right attitude, SRE engineers can make a real difference in the quality of IT service delivery.