What Is the Difference Between SRE And DevOps?




Wissen Team


May 28, 2024

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and DevOps are two of the most widely leveraged approaches in agile software application development projects worldwide. Both find use in large web-powered digital services that continuously witness heavy user traffic.

However, there is a misconception about both being the same in one way or the other. SRE and DevOps have their own individual existence in terms of development approach, technical skill set, and resource utilization.

Before we go into the details, it is essential to understand the fundamental reason behind the inception of both concepts.

Studies show businesses' global spending on digital transformation initiatives will exceed $2.8 trillion by 2025. Fueled by the pandemic, several industries have accelerated the adoption of digital practices by as much as seven years, according to McKinsey.

As the digital economy expands, enterprises focus on two significant aspects for their application development initiatives:

  • Faster time to market: Ensuring they stay competitive by offering the most desirable features and services to consumers in the shortest time.
  • Guaranteed availability: Assuring end-users of being able to access the digital services anytime and anywhere without disruptions.

The best way to understand how SRE and DevOps work in an enterprise application development practice is to see how both serve the above two aspects.

DevOps enables streamlined application development with continuous delivery to facilitate faster launches of applications or feature enhancements or upgrades.

On the other hand, SRE focuses on applying engineering principles to ensure the sustained availability of critical digital services for end-users no matter what.

Keeping this in mind, let us explore the key differences between SRE and DevOps that an enterprise must be aware of:

Focus of Action

DevOps comprises a set of practices focused on the core application development philosophies involving coding and developing the core application. As such, DevOps leverages tools for continuous deployment, automated CI/CD pipeline, etc., to enable a hassle-free development experience for enterprise applications.

Contrarily, SRE focuses on implementing best practices in the application core to ensure that it sustains operation without disruption. SRE leverages approaches like automation, performance optimization, and systems engineering to ensure that critical IT operations remain online for end-users.

Resource Skill Set

DevOps require core technical skills such as coding or programming, testing, and quality assurance. People who love writing software programs that resolve challenging problems are best suited for the DevOps role. They own the entire end-to-end development lifecycle, from writing code to testing and deployment with continuous iterations and feedback.

SREs do require technical skills, but they perform a higher-level analysis of problems in the functioning of the software. They work proactively to discover potential issues that may disrupt digital services and call out the DevOps team to fix the issue before it leaks into production. They also enable the automation of repetitive tasks that streamline performance optimization.

Tools and Platforms

For DevOps, the most significant tools and resources used involve:

  • IDEs, CI/CD tools like Jenkins, GitHub, or SVN for version control, JIRA and Splunk for change management, and
  • Automation testing platforms like Selenium and other platforms that deal with code management and testing activities.

As for SRE, the tool and platform landscape will be centered around processes such as Containerization, Cloud Orchestration, Project Management, and other platforms that encapsulate the overall end-to-end availability management of an application.

Metrics for Analysis

Any approach in software development needs to be validated for its performance and utility by means of key metric analysis. For DevOps, the major metrics considered for analysis are Deployment Frequency, Deployment Failure Rates, and Bug Counts.

SREs, on the other hand, deal with more customer-level service availability measuring metrics. Some of the critical metrics followed closely by people in SRE roles are Service Level Agreements (SLA), Service Level Objectives (SLO), and Service Level Indicators (SLI). Additionally, they may also track error budgets and recovery time for applications affected by any disruption.


Both SRE and DevOps work to ensure that end customers are never disappointed with the digital services offered by a business, be it from a trend-following perspective or a disruption-free availability perspective.

In an era dominated by customer experience, no business cannot ignore the significance of SRE and DevOps. However, navigating the nuances and principles of these approaches can be quite tricky for companies whose primary domain is non-tech.

This is where a knowledgeable partnership with a digital leader like Wissen can prove to be a game-changer. Get in touch with us to learn more.