Site reliability engineers (SREs) work between development and operations, but not necessarily within DevOps proper. The concept of SRE has been around since 2003, which means that it’s older than DevOps. The term was made popular by Ben Treynor, who created Google’s Site Reliability Team. According to Treynor, SRE is “what happens when a software engineer is tasked with what used to be called operations.”
Both disciplines, DevOps and SRE, aim to enhance the release cycle by helping dev and ops see each other’s side of the process throughout the application lifecycle. They also advocate automation and monitoring, reducing the time from when a developer commits a change to when it’s deployed to production. SREs and DevOps aim for this result without compromising the quality of the code or the product itself.
SRE and DevOps ask two different but equally valuable questions:
DevOps asks what needs to be done.
SRE asks how that can be done.