While the nuances of workflows, priorities, and day-to-day operations vary from SRE team to SRE team, all share a set of basic responsibilities for the service(s) they support, and adhere to the same core tenets. In general, an SRE team is responsible for the availability, latency, performance, efficiency, change management, monitoring, emergency response, and capacity planning of their service(s). We have codified rules of engagement and principles for how SRE teams interact with their environment—not only the production environment, but also the product development teams, the testing teams, the users, and so on. Those rules and work practices help us to maintain our focus on engineering work, as opposed to operations work.
Ensuring a Durable Focus on Engineering
As already discussed, Google caps operational work for SREs at 50% of their time. Their remaining time should be spent using their coding skills on project work. In practice, this is accomplished by monitoring the amount of operational work being done by SREs, and redirecting excess operational work to the product development teams: reassigning bugs and tickets to development managers, [re]integrating developers into on-call pager rotations, and so on.
The following section discusses each of the core tenets of Google SRE.
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