DevOps became a common practice among organizations in the past decade. However, recent years have witnessed organizations embark on the way to becoming product-led and sustainably improve reliability. Site reliability engineering (SRE) helps organizations achieve this, with DevOps as an integral system component, by leveraging real microservice architectures and agility.

In the past, development and operations teams had a significant contention. While developers used to burden all the code to the operations team, the operations team was expected to keep the code up and running in production. The developers focused on pacing up for rolling out new features faster, whereas the operations team focused on being slow and steady for system stability. This misalignment caused contention within organizations.

SRE – A Prescriptive Framework for Successfully Accomplishing DevOps

Site reliability engineering has gained a widespread prevalence as a concrete foundation for DevOps implementation. The difference between site reliability engineering and DevOps is that the former rides on the shoulders of developers who have also had a sound background in operations. Therefore, SRE implementation removes the workflow and communication problems more effectively. 

Focusing on the overlap in responsibilities, the SRE model helps organizations amalgamate the skill set of their operations team and development team. Moreover, site reliability engineering provides support to the DevOps team, in the case when developers are saturated by tasks of operations and require more specialized knowledge. Based on new features and code bases, while DevOps emphasizes moving efficiently through development pipelines, SRE focuses on maintaining the right balance between creating new features and reliability.

Site Reliability Engineering Vs. DevOps – Radical Differences

DevOps focuses on what is required to be done, whereas site reliability engineering focuses on how things are required to be done. This is what makes them complement one another. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two.

Gradual Change Implementation

The time-to-market has significantly reduced, with organizations and their customers expecting faster results. This has led to frequent releases and continuous improvements, thereby enabling teams to remain updated with emerging technologies and tools. This further empowers organizations in accelerating their software engineering cycle. While Devops ensures gradual changes to processes, SRE hinges on reducing failure cost as and when new releases are made.


Irrespective of the approach followed, SRE or DevOps, measuring everything is imperative. While DevOps measures everything at operations and development phases, site reliability engineering emphasizes operations to be the achilles heel of most issues. Therefore, prescriptive measuring with aspects such as efforts, outages, uptime, and availability is emphasized in SRE.

Removing Silos within Organizations

Large organizations have their teams operating in distributed directions, which further creates silos and makes reliability challenging. While DevOps is focused on eliminating silos within organizations, SRE enables sharing ownership of production with developers. A single tool is used so that both operators and developers have the same approach of working abreast production.

Accepting Failure as Normal

DevOps concentrates on preventative measures for any issue, however, it accepts failure as inevitable, in turn making the teams learn and grow. On the other hand, site reliability engineering identifies the root cause of issues, trying to balance new releases against failures. Key identifiers of issues in SRE are classified into service-level objectives (SLOs) and service-level indicators (SLIs).

Automation and Tooling

Both SRE and DevOps focus on automation. Both of these approaches favor integration of new tools for supporting automation. This is as far as organizations realize measurable outcomes and benefits to operations and development teams by eliminating any manual effort or intervention.

To Conclude

Organizations need both DevOps and SRE in collaboration if they look to manage and avoid failures. Both approaches are meant for automating vital processes. While DevOps and site reliability engineering differ in various ways, they complement each other to bring high reliability to organizations. Organizations must analyze the data they have while measuring failure or success of implementing DevOps and SRE approaches in their business.

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