In any Information Technology (IT) organization, processes and people are equally important as software. A concept pioneered by Google in 2003, Reliability Engineering applies to certain aspects of Software Engineering and Operations. The main goal of Reliability Engineering is to create a software system that is highly reliable, efficient, and scalable.
Site Reliability Engineering or SRE is a field that is responsible for managing a team that works on making products reliable. And since reliability, in itself, is a complex concept, Integrated Systems usually involve various programming languages, integrations, and third-party services.
Apart from that, these systems also involve different hardware and software. Taking into account the complexity of this role, the members of the SRE team must be multi-talented.
Those in the SRE team must be skilled in Software Development and IT Operations. By this, they can combine their knowledge of various disciplines to achieve a common goal – making IT Applications and Infrastructure resilient.
Specific Roles of a Site Reliability Engineer
One of the many complex roles of Site Reliability Engineering is to manage people. Since the job entails administrative work, SRE Managers have to know how to work with people effectively. Besides, an SRE Manager must be able to bring people from different relevant disciplines into the SRE team.
Most often, SRE teams need to act independently from the Engineering team. Also, it is essential that SRE Managers work in connection with Business teams, Engineering teams, and the broader IT department. They must stay up to date with the feature developments on which the above teams work.
Setting SLIs, SLAs, and SLOs
Service-level Indicators (SLI), Service-level Agreements (SLA), and Service-level Objectives (SLO) are critical to Site Reliability Engineering. So, SRE Managers must determine how availability will affect the system and also set the SLO availability of the same.
The SRE Manager must also be able to provide SLAs to the Engineering and Business teams to let them know about the level of the customer-promised availability that they should deliver. The unit can then track the SLIs to verify if the system meets the necessary availability percentage.
Project Prioritization and Planning
SRE Managers must stay ahead of the Task Prioritization and Project Planning processes. They must attend sprint and quarterly planning sessions with the IT and Engineering teams. After attending them, the SRE Managers will assess the main objectives for the new sprints and inform the rest of the team about them. After receiving this information, the SRE team can start working on new functions and features that will proactively monitor the projects, spread points of observation to the team, and ensure the reliability of the overall architecture.
Improve On-Call Response Process
Sometimes, SRE Managers also perform the task of optimizing the on-call process. Even if they are not in charge of the entire on-call incident workflow, they at least take care of the SRE’s on-call rotation.
However, since the incident response is a crucial part of handling reliable service and keeping uptime, this role is usually that of the SRE Manager. He and his team have the relevant historical knowledge and input about the whole system. Therefore, they are the best people for Incident Response Planning, Communication Methods, Alert Rules, and On-call Rotations.
You must know that the role of a Site Reliability Engineer is almost all-encompassing. If you decide that your company needs one, do not be content with an employee who, in your opinion, can do the job. Instead, it is better to invest in the services of a practicing Site Reliability Engineer.