How does SRE support DevOps principles & philosophies?

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With the growing complexity of application development, organizations are increasingly adopting methodologies that enable reliable, scalable software.

DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) are two approaches that enhance the product release cycle through enhanced collaboration, automation, and monitoring.

Both approaches utilize automation and collaboration to help teams build resilient and reliable software.

But there are fundamental differences in what these approaches offer and how they operate.

So, in this article, we will learn about the basics of DevOps and SRE and also their purpose.

DevOps Basics

DevOps is not a technology rather than is a methodology and an overarching concept and culture aimed at ensuring the rapid release of stable, secure software.

It exists at the intersection of Agile development and Enterprise Systems Management (ESM) practices.

So, before DevOps, both the development team and the operational team worked in silos, which results in slow development and unstable deployment.

To solve this, the DevOps methodology integrates all stakeholders in the application into one efficient workflow which enables the quick delivery of high-quality products.

Along with that DevOps also enables Reliable service delivery and Improved customer satisfaction.

DevOps Practices and Methods

DevOps practices are based on continuous, incremental improvements bolstered by automation. While full-fledged automation is rarely possible, for comprehensive automation, a DevOps methodology focuses on the following elements shown below diagram.

devops-lifecycle

Benefits of DevOps

  • Ensure quicker and frequent delivery of application features that improve customer satisfaction
  • Create a balanced approach to managing an SDLC for enhanced productivity of software teams
  • Innovate faster by automating repetitive tasks
  • Remediate problems quicker and more efficiently
  • Minimize production costs by cutting down errors in maintenance and infrastructure management

Site reliability engineering (SRE) basics

SRE provides a unique approach to application lifecycle and service management by incorporating various aspects of software development into IT operations.

With the help of SRE, IT infrastructure is broken down into small, basic, and abstract components which help enable teams to use automation to solve most problems associated with managing applications in production.

SRE uses three Service Level Commitments to measure how well a system performs:

The differences between SLAs, SLOs and SLIs
Difference between SLAs, SLOs and SLIs
  1. SLA: An SLA (service level agreement) is an agreement between provider and client about measurable metrics like uptime, responsiveness, and responsibilities.
  2. SLO: An SLO (service level objective) is an agreement within an SLA about a specific metric like uptime or response time. So, if the SLA is the formal agreement between you and your customer, SLOs are the individual promises you’re making to that customer.
  3. SLI: An SLI (service level indicator) measures compliance with an SLO (service level objective). So, for example, if your SLA specifies that your systems will be available 99.95% of the time, your SLO is likely 99.95% uptime and your SLI is the actual measurement of your uptime. Maybe it’s 99.96%. Maybe 99.99%. 

How SRE supports DevOps principles & philosophies

SRE Philosophies

  1. Share Ownership: When it comes to reducing organizational silos, SREs share ownership of production with developers. Together, they define Service Level Objectives, or SLOs, and error budgets, sharing the responsibility of how they determine the reliability and prioritize work.
  2. Blamelessness: Complex systems fail in interesting and complex ways. Accepting failure as a normal state is an important practice within SRE. A blameless post-mortem is held after an incident to improve the understanding of the failure mode and to identify effective preventive actions to reduce the likelihood or impact of a similar incident.
  3. Reduce the cost of failure: When implementing gradual change, SREs aim to reduce the cost of failure by rolling out changes to a small percentage of users before making them generally available.
  4. Toil Automation: SREs focus on toil automation, reducing the amount of manual, repetitive work. Automating this year’s job away can undoubtedly be met by resistance.
  5. Measure Toil and Reliability: Finally, measuring everything means that SREs work to measure everything related to toil, reliability, and the health of their systems.

SRE tools

Site Reliability Engineering teams mostly work on monitoring and logging tools along with the below tools because they need to understand the full system:

Teams rely on the automation of routine processes using tools and techniques that standardize operations across the software’s lifecycle. Tools include containers, Kubernetes, source control, cloud platforms, project planning, and management tools.

Conclusion

SRE and DevOps are often referred to as two sides of the same coin, with SRE tooling and techniques complementing DevOps philosophies and practices. SRE involves the application of software engineering principles to automate and enhance ITOps functions such as:

  • Disaster response
  • Capacity planning
  • Monitoring

On the other hand, a DevOps model enables the rapid delivery of software products through collaboration between development and operations teams.

Written by 

Himanshu is a Software Consultant[[Devops]] at Knoldus Software LLP. He loves to explore and learn new tools and technologies.

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