Site Reliability Engineer: Roles and Responsibilities

Site Reliability Engineer is a new role that goes beyond DevOps. Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) began at Google in 2003. Benjamin Treynor invented the SRE to make Google sites more reliable, efficient, and scalable. With the knowledge of Software development and exceptional problem-solving skills, SREs are responsible for Improving existing systems and processes to tackle evolving challenges.

The system’s reliability required to meet the targeted SLA is the sole responsibility of the SREs. System reliability is necessary to meet the requirements of internal and external users. Best of the best SREs

Collaborate with their stakeholders and business leaders in building and running sustainable production systems. These systems developed are capable of adapting to changes in the global business environment.

Before we understand the Role of a Site Reliability Engineer, let us know a few basics of System reliability. Earlier in the traditional Software Development environment, there existed two different teams; the Developer’s team and the Operations teams. While the developers used to push out application changes as fast as possible to end-users, the operations team strived to keep the application stable. This made it a matter of conflict, as they had to work against each other rather than work collaboratively.

Thus, it gave rise to the DevOps role to tackle this issue efficiently. Also, traditionally, DevOps helped the release process faster; these releases were not as stable as ideally wished by DevOps principles. In the DevOps team, there was no dedicated role or person that focused full time on keeping systems reliable, and that’s how they needed for SRE and a site reliability engineer as a separate role emerged.

Let us break down the concept to understand things better; first, let us know what we mean by a “System” System: the natural deployment environment, i.e. the servers, cloud and virtualization, application, and services. After understanding a system, we need to understand “Reliability” and why we need a reliable service. The bigger the business, the more significant impact and the need for reliability of services are required. Lesser reliability will affect the industry, leading to unhappy customers and loss of revenue.

Thus system reliability is very crucial for any business. Now the question is, what makes any system unreliable? Well, the answer to this is CHANGE; any infrastructure, platform, or service changes lead to system unreliability. Changes are a must for the expansion of the business, to make the application better, to increase the business value, and to stay competitive in the market.

But more the changes, the more will be the threat of system unreliability.

As the application’s stability is taken care of by the organization’s operations team, the traditional method made it difficult for the changes and tracked the system’s reliability. Here comes the role of the SRE, where he tries to automate the process of evaluating the effects the changes will have. Automation means there is no need for checklists or discussions of the operations team on whether to release the difference or not. Instead, the evaluation is based on an automated process, making releasing changes fast and safe—automatic evaluation.

The assessment uses SLA and Service Level Agreement (commitment between the service provider and customer). It helps us measure the system’s reliability for the end-users; that is, how often it is up and how often it is down? Usually, the SLA is expressed in terms of Percentages; SLA is traditionally defined by the number of nines,99.9%, 99.99% or 9.999%. SLA is like a barometer, which can be turned up or down based on the needs.

There is a simple way to regulate the release speed of developers, turn up SLA releases will slow down; turn down the SLA. As discussed, we know that SRE teams are Software engineers who develop software to improve the reliability of their Systems/services. The SRE implements automated processes to calculate and evaluate whether the service is within the SLA or not.

To make it concise, I have mentioned below in detail  about

Roles and Responsibilities of The SRE

1. Building the Design Process and Automation of IT Operations


After knowing the SLA, the SRE is responsible for developing systems and software to make IT and support better at their jobs. In addition, site reliability can be accountable for building a strategy to help with weaknesses in software delivery or incident management.

Moreover, SREs ensure that the SLAs are met and that the services are available, with the proper functioning of the internal tools and systems created to monitor and automate any given process. The SRE is responsible for monitoring critical applications and related services and ensuring the platform’s availability during essential hours of business.

2. Configure monitoring and alerting, logging and Altering

SRE is responsible for configuring proper monitoring and logging of the systems to get visibility on what is going on inside. Visibility is vital to measure the system’s performance; thus, when there is an error, the correct person is notified, including all the needed information in the incident report to make it better. The duty is to inform which service, cluster, and problem have accrued.

3. Incident Management and Recovery

During an outage, the first step is to use the monitoring systems developed by the SREs and find the root cause of the incident. Then, with the details of the incident report, the SRE is responsible for solving the error with the help of his team.

4. On-call support to provide resolution

A quick fix is the primary goal of any SRE. The SREs are responsible for making the audit scope smaller to reduce the outage time. SREs have to collaborate with the developers when any issue arises and gets escalated. Interacting with the developers to provide consultation and troubleshoot the incident is the significant role of SRE.

A Site Reliability Engineer tackles an escalated issue by investigating, diagnosing, and resolving it as quickly as possible. An SRE engineer may also include other engineers if required. Besides, SRE engineers ensure high-priority tickets are solved immediately for a speedy resolution to meet Service Level Agreement.

5. Post Incident reviews

“After-issue” or “after-outage” analysis wherein a throw analysis is done understanding who fixed what, what caused the outage? Who did what? What systems were affected? These could be answered by revisiting the events and determining the root cause analysis. Thus, SRE is not only responsible for the quick fix after the root cause analysis but also acts as a repository to avoid similar incidents occurring in the future.

6. SRE Roles and Responsibilities

The SREs are responsible for maintaining proper documentation of the information of the incidents and resolutions for these incidents. SREs have access to both staging and production environments. Thus the knowledge and information they gather with time are of utmost value to resolve issues in the organizations.

As SRE engineers have access to both staging and production environments, they gather a wealth of knowledge about the system over time. SREs are expected to document this information to make it available for other engineers and teams by keeping records of outages of the system.

These records provide critical insights about long-term trends while assisting the organization to produce reasonable Service Level Agreements. Keeping records of incidents, shallow priority ones helps identify and resolve elusive bugs within the system.


A site reliability role is challenging and exciting at the same time. The SRE needs a sense of commitment and a passion for automation, coding skills, and a software-centric mindset. The role of an SRE involves both the technical and operational tasks know-how.

Thus, the SRE creates a reliable system that handles operations within a software lifecycle. The SRE uses his skills to build automated services and lessen the need for manual intervention in operations management. At the same time, they are also responsible for Monitoring, Issue Resolutions, Disaster Recovery, and Internal Tooling and Processes of an organization.

Thus, the SRE accountable for the reduction of operational costs by ensuring system reliability, benefitting both customers and the organization. If you want to become a Trained & Certified Site Reliaiblity Engineer Contact us Here

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