DevOps & SRE – Inseparable Bedfellows

30th June 2020

The global head of cloud infrastructure at Standard Chartered Bank was quoted as saying “I like to think that SRE is to DevOps what Scrum is to Agile”… but is the relationship comparable? Waracle are passionate advocates of Agile development practices and know the value that SRE can provide in a DevOps environment. So let’s dive in.

DevOps and SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) have dominated discussions in the world of software development in recent years, both because they seem to overlap and confuse people and because their adoption is empowering collaboration across business units, operational functions and delivering tangible results.

What are DevOps & SRE?

DevOps is a framework that encourages collaboration, communication, integration and automation between developers and operations teams, with the explicit purpose of improving or optimising the speed and quality of software delivery.

SRE delivers quality software, which enhances the dependability, flexibility and repeatability of production systems. The focus of SRE is on the continuous improvement of availability, latency, performance and efficiency of software and services.

Sounds similar, aren’t they the same thing?

Whilst both focus on change management, have a focus on cross-functional collaboration and both align with continuous improvement via experimentation, they are individual disciplines.

Where DevOps asks ‘What’ needs done, SRE asks ‘How’.

DevOps is more focused on getting the code into production, whilst SRE is looking to ensure that production is available for all.

SRE complies with and aims to implement, measure and achieve DevOps objectives, so you can see why Shaun Norris of Standard Chartered Bank made the analogy with Scrum & Agile.

Why does my business need DevOps and SRE?

As IT evolves, the IT infrastructure which has been constructed piece by piece over the years in enterprise organisations starts to creak, and the people tasked with future-proofing, managing, optimising and improving it need to adopt frameworks within which to operate & plan for success.

The methodologies for software development & delivery have fundamentally changed. Once upon a time business analysts would create requirements, the developers would build, the QA team would test and the Ops team would deploy and manage, all in relative isolation… but the always-on, interconnected world has permeated software development and requires cross-functional teams across a range of varied disciplines in new roles to ensure successful software delivery, maintenance and iteration.

DevOps & SRE work together to:

  • Leverage automation and tools
  • Measure and analyse everything
  • Reduce operational silos
  • Implement continuous, gradual improvement – with low risk
  • Accept failure, but optimise towards low SLI & SLO scores

To create flexible, reliable and scalable software systems, it is important to deliver a creative, balanced set of solutions that sits across the development and operations teams.

How does the day-to-day of the two roles differ?

Whilst DevOps is more a paradigm than a position per se, a DevOps Engineer might be involved in the following:

  • Managing AWS services and resources
  • Owning the continuous integration pipeline
  • Linux administration
  • Infrastructure logging, monitoring and alerts
  • Developing backend node.js services

Whilst the day-to-day for an SRE engineer might involve:

  • Building software to help operation & support teams
  • Monitoring, alerting and reviewing
  • Resolving support issues
  • Defining on-call resource, processes and rotations
  • Documenting and Maintaining documentation
  • Understanding the incident life cycle

In some businesses, there will be cross over but that cross over will come about due to the similar backgrounds of individuals, their flexibility of skillset and the lack of delineation between roles.

Waracle create teams to remotely support your business, whatever the role and the programme of work, we have highly-skilled subject matter experts who can be onboarded to support your teams. If you need DevOps or SRE support, why not get in touch with us today.

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