Blog Post

SRE vs. DevOps: Ask Me Anything

In this AMA we'll talk about the distinctions, overlaps, and best practices to build high-performing organizations with DevOps and SRE teams.

As we gear up for today’s live Ask Me Anything, we’re poring through the questions submitted about the distinctions, overlaps, and best practices to build high-performing organizations with devops and SRE teams. The ones below represent only a handful of what IT professionals have asked.

Questions like these will be answered on the spot by a panel of industry experts including Google SRE Liz Fong-Jones, Chef CTO Adam Jacob, Honeycomb Co-founder and Engineer Charity Majors, and Catchpoint Performance Engineer Andrew Smirnov. (There’s still time to register for the live session – just click here. You can also get the recording through this link.)

Boundaries and role definitions inspired a number of questions as people look for guidance on specific responsibilities:

  • Since SREs are engineers, are they expected to directly modify product code? What about when the SRE team is “embedded” with the product development team?
  • Are build and release engineering part of DevOps?Where does programming (delivery team’s work) end, and where does SRE begin?

Other questions focus on IT and development environments, and how they affect team dynamics and processes:

  • How can you overcome cultural bias in which Ops is viewed as second class compared to development or business departments?
  • How do you introduce DevOps culture in high-context, hierarchical, and authoritarian cultures, such as those found in Korea and Japan?
  • How is software development process different when moving from product (like appliance) to a cloud service?
  • How does the delivery pipeline and software versioning have to be changed in order to migrate smoothly? What about building both appliance and cloud service from single code base?

The general range of questions was remarkable, from broad, philosophical issues to specific, administrative topics:

  • How can we prevent “you build it, you own it” from becoming “jack of all trades, master of none?”
  • How do manage the Windows administrative privileges and standards in the DevOps environment?

We’ll detail the experts’ responses to questions that sparked interest and debate in a follow-up article next week. Until then, we can’t wait to hear the discussion that “devops vs. SREs” touches off.

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