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Site Reliability Engineering, or SRE, is the practice of using software engineering to solve infrastructure and operations problems. It was invented at Google in 2003 and allowed software engineers to make Google’s massive sites more reliable and efficient. In general, it focuses on developing automated solutions for various operations.
SRE helps bring together Development and Operations, though is distinct from DevOps. The main difference is the former’s greater focus on specific tools and techniques that optimise workflow. Site reliability engineers (also referred to as SREs) are tasked with creating solutions that increase site reliability and performance.
In more detail
SRE combines software programming and the management of large-scale systems. It involves infrastructure automation to speed up processes.
SREs may be responsible for proactively building services that enhance IT performance. The goal is to build “antifragile” systems – those that only get stronger and more reliable with time. Another way to build site reliability is by improving on-call processes through automation and greater responsiveness.
Site reliability engineers are also in charge of documenting their development processes over time and recording their findings and learnings. This is a very dynamic position that offers daily challenges and changes every time.
To work as an SRE it is important to have a strong background in software and systems engineering. It is necessary to have an analytical mindset and a strong capacity for problem-solving. Being able to come up with creative solutions is a great asset for this kind of position, as well as the flexibility to take on different challenges.
Experience with release engineering and continuous delivery is beneficial, as is a familiarity with DevOps principles. SREs generally have science or engineering degrees in Computer Science, or at least an equivalent qualification or experience.