SRE best practices are disrupting and catalyzing change in the ways organizations approach IT Operations. In this blog we look at 7 ways SRE is bringing this transition.
Site Reliability Engineering is a new practice that has been growing in popularity among many businesses. Also known as SRE, the new activity puts a premium on monitoring, tracking bugs, and creating systems and automations that solve the problem in the long term.
Nowadays, most companies get fond of deploying band-aid solutions that often leave them with flawed systems that easily fall apart when bugs arise. SRE practice fixes that by putting a premium on proactively monitoring problems and creating long-term solutions. As more companies adopt SRE, they change the way IT departments operate.
Information Technology Operations (IT Ops) is the discipline of overseeing the management of information technology infrastructure and the lifecycle of applications. IT Ops focuses on ensuring that the company's IT infrastructure is healthy, secure, and scalable. IT Ops is a broad term that encompasses a variety of departments, each contributing to the overall success of IT operations.
With regards to the SRE vs DevOps, it helps to think of one as the goal and the other as the means of getting to that goal. DevOps intends to bridge development and operations into one. Site reliability engineering makes that intention a possibility. So, DevOps is the goal and SRE is the method from a bird’s eye point of view. DevOps talks about what needs to get done to align the objectives and activities of development and operations. SRE answers the question “how do we make that happen?”
Here are some ways that SRE positively impacts a business’ operations.
Any company maintaining an SRE team will often hear them talking about automating processes with software. At the heart of site reliability engineering is the goal of automating processes that solve issues once and for all. Most misconceptions around SRE is that its goal is to spot the leaks and patch them up. But SRE is more about creating a system that automatically changes the pipe when leaks happen.
Much of SRE is about developing software and systems that automate incident management. This automation-first mindset puts a premium on system builders in IT and teaches the whole company really to adapt to the same school of thought in everything we do. Why stick with manual tasks when you can automate them?
One of the first priorities of an SRE team is to determine a Service-Level Objective or a bare minimum goal of availability. The SLO is the minimum requirement a team must need in terms of the availability of a system or software to users. The next thing they would then do is set an error budget, which indicates the margin of error allowed for a system.
What this means is that SRE gives importance to commitment when it comes to providing exceptional customer experience. Even the way SRE teams approach bug tracking should have a user experience approach. This, among many other SRE practices, helps bridge the gap between how people use systems and how developers can design them to meet minimum standards of excellence.
What makes a great site reliability engineer is one’s ability to be proactive. Given that 93% of SREs correlate their work with “monitoring and alerting,” critical problem-solving skills are a must. And with that available skillset in IT operations, it affects the whole department and even the whole company, pushing for a solution-oriented culture as a whole. A proactive culture brings greater stability assurance to systems and operations.
For site reliability management to be effective, collaboration and alignment must happen. This is probably why 81% of SREs do most of their work in the office. While incidences of work-from-home setups amongst SREs have increased over the years, the point is that SRE practices really revolve around collaboration.
The SRE culture advocates for business objective alignment and monitoring by means of service level agreements (SLAs) and metrics that help us understand performance and error management. The main job description of SRE teams is to spot errors in systems, find the root problem, and resolve them. By seeking to maintain a healthy system in collaboration with all players and departments, an SRE or SRE team encourages hand-in-hand work and somehow “forces” us to band together to solve system issues.
SRE roles and responsibilities can be quite extensive and, thus, expensive, especially for smaller organizations. The cost of having your own incident management system, for instance, can be astronomical, which might be justified if you’re a company like Facebook or Google. But what if you’re a tech startup or a small to medium tech company?
In response to the need to commoditize more efficient practices, there has been an increase in the incident management system market over the years.
Technology is forever changing the way companies operate, and many of the activities that businesses jump into start to become more digitized. SRE is allowing all people from various practices, both tech and non-tech related, to take a software development approach to everything. As teams deploy an SRE maturity model, SRE principles, practices, and skills into the mix, it revolutionizes the way we approach problems and come up with solutions.
Here’s how a team might take on an SRE model or approach in their company.
Over the years, SRE adoption has grown from 10% in 2019 to 15% in 2020, and while that trend continues on an upward tick, we will start seeing IT operations in a different way.
To stay competitive in these changing times, you should implement your own too. Check out Squadcast to accelerate the adoption of SRE to your organization.
Squadcast is an incident management tool that’s purpose-built for SRE. Your team can get rid of unwanted alerts, receive relevant notifications, work in collaboration using the virtual incident war rooms, and use automated tools like runbooks to eliminate toil.