Press Release

Study Shows the Future of SRE Work is Remote and Increased Observability is Required

Catchpoint’s 2020 SRE survey provides detailed insights into pre- and post-COVID-19

‍**(New York, USA) – June 24, 2020** – Catchpoint™ the leader in Digital Experience Management, conducted a study with the DevOps Institute of more than 600 site reliability engineers (SREs), examining the impact SREs have on improving operations and how the role is now permanent. The “2020 SRE Survey Report” also highlights how SREs are taking on more responsibility for improving the digital experiences. The survey noted that a majority will be working remotely post COVID-19.

According to Google, SREs should be doing 50% ops work and 50% dev work, yet having a 50/50 workload split seems to be a pipe dream. The majority of respondents are currently spending 75% of their time on operations resulting in far less of their time being devoted to development. Additionally, 53% of respondents said they were being involved too late in the application lifecycle. When SREs are invited early into the development process, organizations can mature to more advanced observability resulting in improved service reliability, incident management effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

“Solving complex problems and ensuring reliability in today’s highly distributed world can be very difficult and requires greater monitoring and true observability. Prior to the pandemic, most companies had a handle on end-user/customer experience monitoring for distributed systems,” said Mehdi Daoudi, CEO of Catchpoint. “But now with a greater distribution of users comes new challenges and added reliability needs. True observability is the key to ensure reliability and customer experiences for all things distributed.”

“At Equinix, we connect mobile operators, clouds, SaaS platforms, and Enterprises across 55 global markets,” said Zac Smith, General Manager of Bare Metal at Equinix. “From this unique vantage point, we see how important the SRE role — and mindset — is to digital businesses as they take advantage of distributed infrastructure to create consistently amazing experiences for their users.”

"SRE is one of the most innovative approaches to managing services since the early days of ITIL and is most closely aligned with the principles and practices of Agile and DevOps. The data in this report supports the rising criticality of both SRE as a practice and Site Reliability Engineer as a role for any organization trying to adapt to the digital age." Jayne Groll, CEO, DevOps Institute


Observability Components Exist;Observability Does Not

When asked what tool categories SREs are using today, the majority (93 percent) chose monitoring as compared with 53 percent choosing observability. Additionally, when asked

about their key responsibilities, the majority ignored those aligned with the observability pillars (events, metrics and tracing) highlighting the lack of true observability. True observability requires monitoring of external outputs to determine how reliable internal systems function.

Heavy Ops Work Load Comes at aCost

DevOps appears to be in a tug of war, and Ops is winning in the SRE community with the pre-COVID survey showing that 75% said they are spending the majority of their time on Ops, resulting in increased costs of owning and maintaining systems. Perhaps widening the gap, the survey showed that two and a half months into working from home, the survey results showed a net 10% increase in Ops related responsibilities.

Shift to Remote Creates Opportunities and Challenges

The post-pandemic environment has resulted in a major shift on where SREs will be located, with nearly 50% of SREs believing they will be working remotely post COVID-19, as compared to only 19% prior to the pandemic. Additionally, 9% of respondents felt incident management has improved. However, there are cautionary findings for organizations considering the structure of SRE teams post-COVID, as many respondents noted they are dealing with the following challenges:

· 41% state that half or more of their work is a toil with mostly manual, repetitive, and tactical jobs that could be automated.

· 52% said they spent too much time debugging

· More than half of respondents felt that personal challenges included staying focused and having a good work/life balance while working from home

Below are a few recommendations for SREs based on the survey’s findings:

· Be sure to include consideration for not only your code, but also the networks, third party services, and delivery chain components, to evaluate how well the three observability pillars are applied through this new digital experience observability lens.

· Work to be included earlier in the development process should shift reliability further left to reduce cost, increase team alignment, and identify constraints that can be removed.

· Turn newly surfaced, or previously-ignored challenges into strategic differentiators. Focusing on challenges like morale, employee experience, work/life balance, and employee engagement and sentiment may showcase a company’s employee-first mentality to attract or retain top talent.


·     2020 SRE Report download

·     Survey blog post

Connect with Catchpoint

Twitter: @Catchpoint


About Catchpoint

Catchpoint, the global leader in Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM), empowers business and IT leaders to protect and advance the experience of their customers and employees. In a digital economy, enabled by cloud, SaaS and IoT, applications and users are everywhere. Catchpoint offers the largest and most geographically distributed monitoring network in the industry – it’s the only DEM platform that can scale and support today’s customer and employee location diversity and application distribution. It helps enterprises proactively detect, identify and validate user and application reachability, availability, performance and reliability, across an increasingly complex digital delivery chain. Industry leaders like Google, L'Oréal, Verizon, Oracle, LinkedIn, Honeywell, and Priceline trust Catchpoint’s out-of-the box monitoring platform, to proactively detect, repair, and optimize customer and employee experiences. Learn more at

About the DevOps Institute DevOps Institute is dedicated to advancing the human elements of DevOps success. As a global member-based association, DevOps Institute is the go-to learning hub connecting IT practitioners, education partners, consultants, talent acquisition and business executives to help pave the way to support digital transformation and the New IT.

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