How Performance Engineers Can Be Great Site Reliability Engineers

Organisations are giving reliability as one of the priority to survive in today’s business. The consequences of that is that Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is starting to get popular. We all know that site reliability engineering is not a new concept. The role existed at Google since 2003 as a way to ensure better system reliability, performance, and scalability. Of late, site reliability engineering is becoming a full-time role. The role of Site reliability engineering also matches with the DevOps goals.

Site Reliability Engineering

If we closely look, traditionally site reliability engineering is operational work. However, now site reliability engineering is not only operational work but also includes development related work. So, it is both Dev & Ops work. Ideally, site reliability engineers should spend only half of their time on operational responsibilities and remaining half on development/automation responsibilities (as per Google).

Primarily, site reliability engineers should think about operational responsibilities as well as ensuring non-functional quality attributes. Secondly, site reliability engineers should focus on automation of operational activities to save their time in future. This assist developers to fully concentrate on features development and site reliability engineers to concentrate on next work automation in addition with day to day operational tasks.

Site Reliability Engineering Role:

Per Google, site reliability engineering team was responsible for availability, latency, performance, efficiency, change management, monitoring, emergency response and capacity planning. Overall, site reliability engineering goals are making deployment easier, improving or maintaining uptime, establishing visibility into the application performance, setting service level indicators, service level objectives & error budgets, increasing speed by assuming calculated risks, eliminating toil, reducing the cost of failure to lower new feature cycle time.


Who Can Do the Role?

Ideally, anyone can take the site reliability engineering role irrespective of their background as long as the person possesses the excellent foundations on software, system engineering, can manages large scale systems, having intentions of continuous improving from current stage and always thinks about automation. In addition, that person must have overall system and architectural understanding, how software delivery value chain works, how to ensure non-functional requirements like availability, performance, reliability, scalability and many more. Overall, site reliability engineering is a very challenging role. However, flipside is that there will be ample scope of learnings from continuous delivery to release engineering to infrastructure automation to name a few.

Performance Engineer As A Site reliability Engineer

Site reliability engineering responsibility includes application availability, latency, performance, efficiency, capacity planning. These responsibilities are quite similar with performance engineering responsibilities. Yes, performance engineers may be lacking operational tasks like change management, emergency response and few others. However, performance engineers have sound knowledge on operational work in terms of monitoring and alerting. On the other hand, performance engineers possess very good understanding on overall application, architecture, latest technology stacks, today’s accelerated and collaborative DevOps methodologies. More importantly, performance engineers also have good automation knowledge.

In a nutshell looking at all aspects, performance engineer can be progressed to taking up the site reliability engineering role.


Organisations are now moving towards site reliability engineering role. Performance engineers are the most obvious people in an organisation to take this site reliability engineering roles based on their prior responsibilities, diversified systems knowledge, automation knowledge, ability to learn new things to be adaptive on this new journey.

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References: reliability engineering-from-scratch-485e23985bbd

About the Author

Arun Kumar

Arun earned a degree in Computer science from Govt. Engg. College, India. He is having 14+ years of working and managing E2E testing delivery experience in different types of applications. He has a keen interest in reading and writing different technical papers. He has been selected in multiple international conferences; global webinars and his papers have been published in multiple forums and also won various awards. He is now working as Senior Test Manager in Atos & Global Subdomain Leader for Atos Expert: Applications-Testing.
Find out more about @arun2005413gmail-com

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