SRE and BDD: The Ultimate Power Pair

Reading Time: Approximately 7 minutes.

The responsibilities of a Reliability Engineer are well understood: maintain a high degree of service availability so that customers can have a consistently enjoyable and predictable experience. How these goals are accomplished — establishing SLOs with customers, enforcing them through monitoring SLIs and exercising the platform against failure through Game Days — is also well understood. Much of the literature that exists on SRE goes into great depths talking about these concepts, and for good reason: failing to establish a contract with the customer on availability expectations for the service that they are paying for is a great way for its engineers to spend their entire careers fire-fighting. … »

SRE Communities vs SRE Centers of Excellence

Reading Time: Approximately 7 minutes.

I read Google’s Site Reliability Engineering Workbook on a flight to New York the other day. I read their original book when it came out two years ago and was curious to see how much of it mirrored my own (brief) experience as a Google SRE. Given that it’s been a while since I did pure SRE work, I wanted to keep my skills caught up, and the Workbook seemed like a more accurate reference to follow. … »

Getting Into DevOps.

Reading Time: Approximately 13 minutes.

I’ve observed a sharp uptick of developers and systems administrators interested in “getting into DevOps” within the last year or so. This pattern makes sense, too: in an age where a single developer can spin up a globally-distributed infrastructure for an application with a few dollars and a few API calls, the gap between development and systems administration is closer than ever. While I’ve seen plenty of blog posts and articles about cool DevOps tools and thoughts to think about, I’ve seen fewer content on pointers and suggestions for people looking to get into this work.

My goal with this article is to, hopefully, draw what that path looks like. My thoughts are based upon several interviews, chats, late-night discussions on and random conversation, likely over beer and delicious food. I’m also interested in hearing feedback from those that have made the jump; if you have, please email me. I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.


Start small; move fast

Reading Time: Approximately 4 minutes.

Seinfeld wasn’t always the heavily-syndicated network cash cow it is today. The hit show started as an experiment for Jerry and Larry David. They wanted to write a show to describe the life of a comedian in New York, namely, Jerry’s. Despite Jerry’s limited acting and writing experience, they wrote their pilot in the late 1980’s and sold it as “The Jerry Chronicles,” which NBC made its first national appearance of on July 1989.

I’ll spare you the details, but eventually the crew found their beat and, shortly afterwards, historic levels of success. but I will say this: every episode of Seinfeld was based off of, and written by, a personal story from someone on its writing staff. Compared to the sitcom-by-committee shows that prevailed during the time, this was a small, but drastic, change that eventually made its way into the mainstream. (For example, every cast member on The Office, a favorite of mine, wrote their own episode; some more than once.)