SRE vs DevOps

19 October4 min read
SRE vs DevOps

Majority of the organizations are constantly looking for solutions to avoid the complexity surrounding software development. The solutions that are reliable and eligible to meet their specific requirements. Both DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) are the two sides of the same coin that increase the product lifecycle through enhanced collaboration, automation, and monitoring. Although both approaches have their own sets of differences but they are often considered complementary pieces of the same puzzle. This article explains the purpose of the existence of both DevOps and SRE, including differences, benefits, and what all they have to offer. 

What is SRE?

Site Reliability Engineering or SRE is a software engineering practice responsible for automating IT operations. The concept of SRE was first coined by Ben Treynor Sloss who established the site reliability team at Google in 2003. SRE’s main objective is to create highly reliable and scalable software systems. Once a system achieves its reliability, SRE focuses on the addition of new features along with tracking results and improving performances. 

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a combination of software development and IT operations. Its focus is on increasing the continuity and overall speed of the software to ensure smooth delivery. However, the objective of both SRE and DevOps remains the same. While DevOps is all about “What” needs to be done while SRE is all about “How” it needs to be done. They both are all about using the right tools and methodologies to carry out operations and drive continuous workflows.  

SRE Vs DevOps

It’s time to look at the differences to see how both concepts operate: 

1) Focus: The focus of Site Reliability Engineering is mainly on ensuring reliability and system availability while DevOps focuses on the development and deployment of the software while ensuring continuity. 

2) Core Essence: DevOps is a series of ideologies established to promote collaboration between siloed teams. While SRE, on the other hand, was formed to enable a set of procedures and relevant metrics for improved collaboration and easy delivery.

3) Reporting Bugs- DevOps team is responsible for reporting the bugs every time it happens in the product while SRE holds no participation in debugging the code unless it’s a production breakdown.

4) Purpose: Both the approaches DevOps and SRE share the same purpose for bridging the gap between development and operations. SRE consists of ways of attaining system reliability while DevOps serve as an effective framework to ensure smooth collaboration throughout.

5) Team Structure: The structure of a team is yet another crucial difference between DevOps and SRE. The DevOps team consists of several roles such as QA professionals, developers, engineers, and so on. On the other hand, SRE includes site reliability engineers with vast experience in development and operations.

6) Incident Management: SRE Teams ensure that software developers and IT teams conduct post-incident reviews, document their observations, and take appropriate actions. On the other hand, DevOps teams work on the incident feedback to fix the issue.

7) Used Tools: In DevOps, the most popular tools used are Jenkins to automate the software development process and Continuous Integration; Docker for building and deploying the code with ease and speed, Splunk, GitHub, and so on. In SRE, the most used tools are: LightRun to test and debug the code in real-time; Grafana to debug applications and understand data flow, PagerDuty, HoneyComb, etc.

Summing Up

With a brief overview of the two competing approaches, it’s certain that both SRE and DevOps are non-conflicting concepts. But rather they are two relatively similar terms working towards the same goal but with a different focus altogether. In the past few years, organizations have taken advantage of DevOps. Now, according to the Blameless blog, 50% of organizations have adopted SRE to ensure software reliability. The end goal of both concepts is to improve the entire IT ecosystem lifecycle i.e., operations lifecycle management through SRE and application maintenance through DevOps.

Both DevOps and SRE believe in sharing the responsibility of ownership with everyone in the team. Right from writing the initial code of the software to fixing bugs to deploying it into production, they carry it all with ease. However, gaining insight into both approaches is becoming the need of the hour as both encourage automation helping developers eliminate manual tasks.