Top 5 Misconceptions about SRE

I am very excited about Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and continue to see more and more positive outcomes from people trying it out.  Like any popular term (especially in IT) the natural diversification of what SRE means is already well underway.  In this blog I wanted to share my favourite things that I’ve heard said about SRE, but I consider to be wrong or unhelpful.

  1. “SRE is only for use in Cloud.”

No, I would argue that adoption can be started by anyone irrespective of their technology stack.  At some point cloud makes infrastructure easier to automate, but that may not even be an urgent priority as part of an SRE implementation.  If we consider the Theory of Constraints I think in many cases infrastructure isn’t the true bottleneck for improving IT services.

  1. “SRE is an extreme / more advanced version of DevOps for the super mature.”

No, adoption can be started by anyone independently or combined with DevOps.  Just make sure you are working on SRE with / within the Operations team / function.

  1. “SRE is a special kind of platform development team.”

No, for me this is mixing up concepts.  As I’ve said before, I believe strongly in treating the platform like a first class product.  Having done that you are still presented with the same choice as any product – who develops it, and who operates it and how?  I see SRE as just as applicable to helping with the Dev vs Ops tension on a platform applications as any other software component.

  1. “SRE is just for websites.”

No and it may be helpful to make the S stand for System or Service instead of Site.  (Can’t see it catching on though.)

  1. SRE is only for Google / Tech Giants / Unicorns / Start ups / Thrill seekers.

No, SRE adoption can be safe, gradual, and in some ways is easier for traditional enterprises than DevOps is.  Unlike DevOps, SRE provides alternative options to putting Developers in charge of production.  Plus probably have all of the tools you need to get started already.

Hopefully this was helpful.  In my next blog I’m going to opine a few reservations I have about the popular statement class SRE implements DevOps

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