SRE Vs. DevOps

In response to the increasing complexity of application development, businesses are increasingly adopting approaches that enable robust and scalable software. DevOps and SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) are two methodologies that improve the product release cycle by enhancing communication, automating processes, and monitoring. Both approaches use automation and collaboration to assist teams in developing durable and dependable software, but there are fundamental differences in what these approaches offer and how they function. Therefore, this article will assist you in comprehending the distinctions between SRE and DevOps.

Before moving forward, we will first discuss what DevOps and SRE are. 

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a methodology for software development that focuses on automating software deployment, configuration, and maintenance. It has various applications, including software development, operations, and IT infrastructure. Adopting a software development approach that focuses on rapid iteration, iterative deployment, and continuous integration is what DevOps entails. It is an important part of open-source software development because it allows developers to adapt their code to changing requirements quickly. DevOps also assists in lowering the risk of software bugs and ensuring that software is delivered on time and within budget.

What is SRE?

Site reliability engineering (SRE) is an approach to IT operations based on software engineering. SRE teams use the software to manage systems, solve issues, and automate operations tasks. The concept of site reliability engineering is credited to Ben Treynor Sloss of the Google engineering team.

The underlying principle of SRE is that using software code to automate oversight of large software systems is a more scalable and sustainable strategy than manual intervention, particularly as those systems expand or migrate to the cloud.

SRE can also reduce or eliminate much of the natural friction between development teams that want to constantly release new or updated software into production and operations teams that don’t want to release any update or new software unless they are confident it will not cause outages or other operational problems. As a result, while SRE is not strictly required for DevOps, it is closely aligned with DevOps principles and can play a significant role in DevOps success.

How is SRE Related to DevOps?

SRE and DevOps are not opposing but complementary methodologies that can benefit from one another. Many SRE practices offer practical solutions to a wide range of DevOps issues. SRE and DevOps are not competitors in terms of methodologies. This is because SRE provides a practical solution to most DevOps concerns. Both of these approaches can be beneficial in:

  • Eliminating organizational silos
  • Creating an environment conducive to gradual change
  • Taking advantage of automation tools
  • Having more reliable and accurate measuring equipment
  • Metrics collection
  • Accepting failure and constantly iterating 
  • Enhancing disaster response

SRE vs. DevOps

Attributes SRE DevOps
Essence SRE was created with a specific goal: to build a set of practices and metrics that enable better collaboration and service delivery DevOps is a collection of philosophies that promote a culture of collaboration among siloed teams
Focus SRE’s major focus is on the system’s reliability, scalability, and availability DevOps’s primary focus is on continuity and ease of product development
Incorporating New Features SREs ensure those new changes don’t increase production failure rates DevOps is responsible for implementing the latest features request to a product
Control Software monitoring and maintenance operations are more in the hands of developers DevOps engineer and the operations team manage maintenance and software monitoring
Automation SRE automates redundancy DevOps automates deployment

Can you imagine a business with no one in charge of its IT infrastructure and operations? Most likely not. This is where SRE and DevOps enter the picture. These cultures and sets of best practices have gained popularity in recent years in the IT world, and the trend appears to be far from over. But are SRE and DevOps distinct, or are they simply different names for the same thing? They are different approaches.

Both methodologies require a strict separation of the Development and Operations teams. But, to summarize, DevOps focuses on a cultural and philosophical shift, whereas SRE is more pragmatic and practical. So, let’s dig deeper into the differences between SRE and DevOps on various parameters.

Development and Implementation

DevOps is concerned with core development. SRE is about implementing the core. What does this imply? Consider it in this light. DevOps teams concentrate on core development. They are developing a product or application that will solve a problem for someone. They are using an agile software development approach, allowing them to quickly build, test, deploy, and monitor applications while maintaining quality and control.

SREs are working on the core’s implementation. They constantly provide feedback to that core development group, saying, “Hey, something you designed isn’t working exactly the way you think it is.” SRE uses operations data and software engineering to automate IT operations tasks, accelerate software delivery, and reduce IT risk.

Using Tools and Automation

Both DevOps and SRE use automation to enhance workflows and service delivery. Through flexible application programming interfaces, SRE allows teams to use the same tools and services (APIs). In addition, while DevOps encourages using automation tools, SRE ensures that all team members access the most up-to-date automation tools and technologies.

Principles of SRE and DevOps

A set of principles guides both SRE and DevOps, promoting convergence toward business goals. Some of the principles shared by SRE and DevOps are similar. The most significant difference between SRE and DevOps is that DevOps principles specify outcomes. The SRE principles describe the steps required to achieve a goal. Let’s take a look at the SRE and DevOps principles:

Principles of SRE

  • Service Level Indicators (SLIs): These are parameters that help to assess customer satisfaction
  • Service Level Objectives (SLOs): These are the threshold values for each SLI parameter. It aids in evaluating a product’s performance by comparing SLI values concerning a threshold value
  • Release Engineering: It means building and deploying software in a consistent, stable, & repeatable way
  • Eliminating Toil: It means reducing the amount of repetitive work a team must do
  • Monitoring: It provides insight into a system, which is necessary for evaluating performance and detecting problems within a product

Principles of DevOps

  • Incremental Releases: A DevOps lifecycle is based on incremental releases, which means that a project is divided into small chunks of work, speeding up the release cycle
  • Automation: It is used at every stage of software development to make the process more efficient, error-free, and fast
  • Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD): It is a process that automates the pipeline, which includes code, build, test, and deployment
  • Continuous monitoring: It is a step that involves monitoring the performance of the software after it has been delivered to the customer and collecting useful feedback from the customer
  • Collaboration: DevOps’s primary goal is to foster trust between developers and operations. Both teams should interact, exchange input, and collaborate throughout the development and deployment process

Accepting Failure as Normal

Both SRE and DevOps view errors and failures as unavoidable occurrences. While DevOps targets to handle runtime errors and enable teams to learn from them, SRE uses Service Level Commitments (SLx) to make sure all failures are handled.

SRE also includes a risk budget, which allows teams to experiment with failure limits for reevaluation and innovation.

Eliminate Organizational Silos

Large organizations typically have a complex organizational structure with many teams working in silos. As a result, each team pulls the product in a different direction, needs to communicate with the rest of the company, and sees the big picture as a whole. This can result in frustration, a delay in deployment, and high costs due to the delays.

The job of DevOps is to break down silos and ensure that there are no teams within teams that are not aligned with the rest of the company. Instead, they combine the teams into a single group with a common goal. SREs don’t discuss how many silos exist in the company but how to get everyone to talk about it. This is accomplished using the same tools and techniques throughout the organization, promoting shared ownership.

Bug Reporting 

The DevOps team is responsible for debugging the code if a bug is discovered in the final product.

The SRE team reports bugs to the Core development team and does not participate in debugging unless there is a production outage. The SRE team is also in charge of debugging and troubleshooting infrastructure issues.

Team Structure

A DevOps team mindset differs from traditional IT or scrum teams in that it is an engineering mindset geared toward optimizing both product delivery and product value to customers throughout a product’s lifecycle. To deliver value, the team must adopt the following DASA (DevOps Agile Skills Association) qualities: Agile, self-organizing, and cross-functional team. DevOps teams include QA experts, developers, engineers, SREs, and various other roles.

SRE teams are made up of site reliability engineers with experience in operations and development. These teams work behind the scenes to make other teams’ jobs easier and faster. SREs are embedded with their developer counterparts in these SRE teams, usually one per developer team in scope. Embedded SREs typically work in the same office as developers, but the embedded arrangement can be remote.

Implementing Change Gradually

DevOps attributes the slow, gradual change to achieve continuous improvement. SRE enables teams to perform small, frequent updates that decrease the impact of changes on application availability and stability.

SRE teams also use CI/CD tools for continuous testing and change management to ensure the effective deployment of code changes.


For years, the debate between SRE and DevOps has raged. SREs are the people who keep a company’s software and infrastructure up and running. DevOps, on the other hand, refers to developing and deploying software. DevOps and SRE teams, on the other hand, are not so dissimilar. Both contribute to the integration of developer and operations teams by sharing similar responsibilities and focusing on enabling automation and reliability.

SRE and DevOps, as IT buzzwords, bring automation to make processes efficient and fast. Both methods use similar practices but produce different results. While a DevOps team member has certain job roles and responsibilities, a software engineer in the SRE team also works as a system engineer. DevOps and SRE job roles are popular and have huge demand in the IT industry.

Enroll in our DevOps Certification training now and take the first step towards a rewarding career in the exciting field of DevOps. With ample learning opportunities and career growth potential, it’s a decision you won’t regret. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to improve your skills and advance your career.

Previous articleWhat is DevOps Lifecycle and its Phases? The Ultimate Guide
Next articleWhat is Project Management?
Ethan Miller is a technology enthusiast with his major interest in DevOps adoption across industry sectors. He works as a DevOps Engineer and leads DevOps practices on Agile transformations. Ethan possesses 8+ years of experience in accelerating software delivery using innovative approaches and focuses on various aspects of the production phase to ensure timeliness and quality. He has varied experience in helping both private and public entities in the US and abroad to adopt DevOps and achieve efficient IT service delivery.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here