According to the 2016 book titled “Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems,” the role of Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) was born out of the challenges Google faced in maintaining and scaling its rapidly growing infrastructure in the early 2000s. (1) Traditional IT Ops roles were not able to keep up with the needs of large-scale, distributed web applications.

Answering the call to overcome this challenge, the SRE role was created to combine software engineering with operations expertise to ensure that reliability and availability are built into business-critical systems as they are developed. In short, SREs are “what you get when you treat operations as if it’s a software problem.” (2)

SRE is gaining in popularity

The DevOps Institute recently conducted a survey, the results of which were published in the Global SRE Pulse 2022 report. Inspired by Google’s earlier work, the SRE role has become increasingly popular and is widely adopted by tech companies around the world. The report highlights that nearly two-thirds (62%) of IT organizations are currently implementing SRE practices. (3)

SREs have emerged as one of the top roles in the world of cloud computing (4) and are often among the highest-paid roles in the tech industry, bringing in between $80,000 to $200,000 annually. (5) As businesses continue to rely on digital infrastructure, the focus on reliability, scalability, and efficiency that SREs bring to the table will only become more important. In January 2022, LinkedIn listed SRE as the 21st job with the highest global demand throughout the past five years. (6)

SREs have become critical for operational quality assurance

CIOs at businesses that rely on digital infrastructure to operate are beginning to address the challenges of digital transformation and meet customer expectations. As they do, they are prioritizing upskilling existing talent and creating new roles, such as site reliability engineers. They are also revamping procedures by adopting agile development processes with security and compliance integrated into every step and enforcing policies through automation.

Quality of service has also become a significant concern, with many CIOs believing that “business benefits cannot be achieved by simply lifting and shifting applications and rethinking the infrastructure stack.” (7) With this, Service Level Objectives (SLOs) have become a key component of the SRE role as they help ensure that the system is delivering a measurable level of service that users can expect from the systems and applications they are using.

SREs work with stakeholders to define and agree on SLOs, and then monitor and measure system performance against those objectives. SREs use the SLOs to guide their work and prioritize their efforts, identifying areas where the system is not meeting its SLOs and working to improve reliability and performance. SLOs also help SREs make data-driven decisions about when to invest in improving reliability and when to focus on new features or other priorities.

SREs use SLOs in conjunction with Service Level Indicators (SLIs), which are quantitative measures of system performance. SLIs are used to measure how well the system is meeting its SLOs and to identify areas for improvement.

The value of an SRE program

Implementing a successful site reliability engineering (SRE) program can lead to several business benefits and outcomes. Our experienced DevOps and platform engineering talent will work closely with your development teams to help design new product features and platform services with reliability and scalability in mind, reducing time-to-market while maintaining quality and reliability throughout the organization’s environment. By improving collaboration and communication across your organization, our platform engineering services can lead to a more cohesive and efficient organization overall, aligning your development and operations teams for optimal results:

Resilient access to expert resources: Our breadth and depth of capabilities is unmatched by any one resource, with global support giving flexibility to align with distributed teams and support for after-hours deployments to avoid disruption.

Virtual extension of your team: As a true, scalable extension of your team, we add extensive capabilities across tools, languages, and platforms.

Accelerate initiatives and reduce overhead: Offload internal teams and let us manage ongoing

operations to gain accelerated access to highly skilled resources, jump-starting or expanding platform engineering capabilities, automating operations, and achieving faster time-to-market and greater efficiency.

Collaborate, advise, and drive outcomes: Our engineers and SREs collaborate with you to ensure outcomes that align to business needs, participating in strategic, planning, and design conversations to advise on direction and choices.

Integrating SRE into your platform engineering program

While some organizations have in-house DevOps or SRE talent to help ensure the reliability and availability of critical systems, many are now looking for a trusted partner to help them achieve success with a dedicated SRE program.

At IBM, we understand the importance of implementing a successful site reliability engineering program to help you achieve your business goals. Our platform engineering services can lead to several positive business outcomes: 

Improved reliability and uptime: By identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems, a successful SRE program can significantly improve system reliability and uptime. This, in turn, can increase customer satisfaction and reduce the risk of lost revenue due to downtime.

Better cost management: By automating processes and improving system efficiency, and preventing issues before they happen, SREs can help organizations save money on infrastructure and labor costs associated with development, deployment, incident response and recovery.

Improved collaboration and communication: SRE teams often work across multiple departments and teams, fostering collaboration and communication across the organization. This can lead to a more cohesive and efficient organization overall, as well as better alignment between development and operations teams.

Faster time-to-market: SRE teams can work closely with development teams to ensure that new features and services are designed with reliability and scalability in mind. This can help organizations bring new products and services to market more quickly, without sacrificing quality or reliability.

Competitive advantage: In today’s digital landscape, customers expect fast, reliable, and high-quality services. By implementing a successful SRE program, organizations can gain a competitive advantage by delivering a superior customer experience and standing out in a crowded market.

Don’t let infrastructure issues weigh down your business—take flight with our platform engineering services, allowing you to focus on your core business. We will handle the technical details of creating an SRE program that will improve your reliability, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. 

Our platform engineering service helps your business modernize and optimize digital infrastructure to scale platform engineering on-demand and amplify your capabilities with expert resources that start adding tangible value fast. Our program will help you accelerate platform engineering through immediate support from highly technical IBM Platform Engineering Services teams.

Learn more about IBM Platform Engineering Services



  1. Google/Upfront Books, Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems, 2021
  2. Google, What is Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)?, accessed March 2023
  3. DevOps Institute, Global SRE Pulse 2022, August 2022
  4. World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report 2020, October 2020
  5. Simplilearn Solutions, Top Best Paying Jobs in Technology in 2023, March 2023
  6. LinkedIn, LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise 2022: The 25 U.S. roles that are growing in demand, January 2022
  7. McKinsey, Unlocking business acceleration in a hybrid cloud world, August 2019