A question for system administrators: What do you get when you decide to stop being reactive about your infrastructure, and start being proactive? When you decide that the best defense against downtime and service interruptions is a good offense? When you decide to prevent problems instead of solving them? You get Site Reliability Engineering!

Site Reliability Engineering is the next evolution of DevOps in system management, where traditional operational problems are addressed with a developer mindset, with an emphasis on avoidance and automation of traditionally human-performed actions. It relies on (you guessed it!) Site Reliability Engineers that are part system administrators and part developers, so that they can aggressively resolve issues while at the same time augmenting product reliability when their operational responsibilities decline. This model of flexibility enables rapid repositioning as your business priorities shift and your product matures, and keeps your developer teams as effective as possible.

In practice, this means that SREs can be shifted organically to meet immediate needs with little to no friction. As a rule of thumb, SREs should try to minimize their time spent on resolving operational problems (50% is the general sweet spot), and maximize the time spent on improving reliability. If most of an SRE’s time is dedicated to improving uptime or resolving issues, more SREs can be tasked to assist so that ops concerns are more quickly resolved, and you can get back to what brings you value.

There are several benefits to implementing Site Reliability Engineering. It shifts decision-making authority down to your devs and SREs, who are both inclined to minimize operational errors, so they can dedicate their time to high-value areas like functional and UX improvements. It enables you to respond to traffic and latency issues much more quickly, and with greater coordination. SRE also removes the conflict between development and operations when it comes to headcount: everyone can work on whatever needs doing based on what is important, not what their job title is.

When you’re ready to implement Site Reliability Engineering, IBM Cloud App Management is ready to help you. ICAM already provides industry-leading system management built on a cloud-native foundation, and with our latest update we are helping you identify service bottlenecks that your SREs need to get started. With ICAM, your SREs will have every data point available to them to do their jobs, keep your services available, and before the day is over getting to work on the next improvement that keeps you at the forefront of your industry!

It’s an exciting time in system management, and I hope after this brief introduction to Site Reliability Engineering, you’re as eager to implement it as IBM is to help you. Happy New Year!

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