Humans depend on engineered systems to perform their daily tasks. You will find site reliability engineering being performed across various sectors, ranging from household, aviation, and cars to mobile phones and websites. Our lives have been largely constructed by software engineers who have designed reliable software systems and brought their ideas to the marketplace.
Whilst engineered systems have many benefits, they also bring risks. The focused questions that you should ask are: how do you know your operations system is safe and reliable? How do you know the plane won’t crash? In the SRE DevOps space, the question to ask is how do you know the site won’t crash? It does not matter how well-sophisticated systems and sites have been designed, failure in system reliability always lingers.
Site Reliability Engineering has become a sophisticated and demanding interdisciplinary field where all engineers must ensure the service reliability of their designs and products.
What does Site Reliability Engineering mean?
It means the software that engineers implement must have certain SRE practices put in place that are able to serve as reliable systems that you can trust, for example, they are able to pick up patterns, are self-healing and have fail-safety.
In the case of SRE DevOps, reliability means:
Therefore, the work that engineers do for their clients is to provide the solution, implement and maintain features to make sure the system is reliable and fail-safe. Once the solution is implemented, it never goes away. This means you don’t have to worry about backups and provides you with confidence that your system is reliable if a problem in the future occurs. Once the problem shows up, you have engineers that know the SRE DevOps system and can come in and provide a fix.
For clients, Site Reliability Engineering has two benefits. The first is from a strategic point of view that your system is reliable and built by highly experienced engineers that are able to provide solutions quickly. Secondly, from a monetary point of view, it allows you to be ahead of your competition and outperform your peers.
What's the difference between DevOps and SRE?
Whilst the two topics are highly interlinked and referenced interchangeably, Development and Operations and Site Reliability do have distinctive characteristics that differentiate between the two as well.
DevOps is an established set of practices that aims to improve and manage software development processes around the collaboration of software developers and IT operation teams. This can be done through accelerating the delivery of higher quality software, breaking down silos and automation.
Whereas Site Reliability Engineering is focused on the implementation, design and automation of systems to ensure their resilience, reliability and scalability instead of system administrators.
These differences affect various different day-to-day elements such as operations, goals, main focus, approach, tools and use cases:
DevOps work with product development and SRE work with operations.
DevOps aims to automate deployment such as tasks and features whereas Site Reliability Engineering automates redundancy such as the manual tasks into programmatic tasks to ensure the stack's reliability.
DevOps centres around development and product management, meaning the team structure can consist of a wide variety of roles such as product owners, developers, engineers and even SREs. Whereas SRE teams work on the developments and operations of product management.
DevOps takes an agile approach to software development and focuses on core development of products or applications to provide solutions. Responsibilities include testing, building, deploying and monitoring applications with the prioritisation of speed and continuity.
Additional differences are included with skill sets. DevOps writes, tests and pushes code out to production. SREs are more analytical and investigative if things fail.
Usually, DevOps is used on agile software development projects; Site Reliability Engineering is applied to lean infrastructure practices.
DevOps enhances cross-functional strategies to develop and deploy applications at speed which originates from an Agile strategy. This improves functionality and value provision to foster a collaborative atmosphere across the entire production cycle. Most organisations who have not adopted this methodology require a culture and mindset shift to focus on responsibility, shared control on business outcomes.
The underlying concept of SRE is the automation of supervision for massive software products using more sustainable and long-term solutions instead of user intervention, especially with increasing organisational digital transformations.
As many businesses realise the significance of these roles within a digital culture, developers are highly in demand. They provide numerous benefits such as security, improved network performance from SREs and collaboration from DevOps.
For lots of engineers, shifting through and eliminating "toil" is one of the more cumbersome and least valued manual processes. Through constructing, improving and constructing automation sequences, SREs and DevOps Engineers alleviate this strain to make engineers' jobs more interesting, producing more reliable and accurate code in addition to eliminating silos between operations teams and software teams. The two of these functions (SRE and DevOps) are significantly beneficial for companies for their business survival and act in tandem to support and enhance each other.
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