Your challenges when it comes to Site Reliability Engineering

We’re faced with a new era in which public clouds dominate the market. In the past, customers relied on a traditional operating model that strictly separated application development and operations and where the applications were operated in the company’s own datacenter by organizational units that were explicitly responsible for doing so.

SRE, on the other hand, is what happens when you combine Software Engineering, DevOps principles, and the automation possibilities of cloud platforms to create an innovative operating concept. The previous conflicting interests of development and operations disappear, since the provision and monitoring of virtualized resources is controlled at all times, fully automatically, by scripts and build pipelines. We’re eager to help you to take this next step.

Productivity is significantly increased by SRE. Personnel costs are reduced, idle capacities are avoided, and resources are provided exactly when they’re needed.

If, on the other hand, you’re already in the cloud and the software is developed by external service providers – but these providers do not take on any operational responsibility – we can help you, too. As a full stack solution provider, as well as taking on operational responsibility, we offer development and operational services. If you’re interested in our full stack software solutions, please take a look at the section on Custom Software Development.

In our SRE team, we’re always thinking two steps ahead, and this allows us to work preventively rather than reactively. Events such as the unexpected growth of a company due to a sudden expansion can be hard to handle if you’re not prepared for them. Our solutions can master situations of this kind. Is your architecture based on automation, scalability, and reliability? Our services include the development of a robust, scalable architecture that minimizes risks, ensures that RTO (recovery time objective) and RPO (recovery point objective) goals are met, keeps application downtimes to a minimum, and safeguards data reliability.

Does your architecture already achieve your goals, but your product is not developing as quickly as the market requires? Are changes taking too long to reach production? And are you seeing errors that result in additional costs? If so, our continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) automation concepts can help. Consequently, your development team will be able to test new versions more efficiently and get them to production faster. With our services, you’ll see an improvement in the quality of your software, since the earlier errors are detected, the less they cost to correct.

Keeping costs to manageable levels is something that always needs to be borne in mind. That’s why it makes sense to use the cloud to achieve better economic results. We need to ensure that the cloud solution works as expected, that we’re using it correctly, and that we automate all processes. Are your operations full of manual activities? One of our main objectives is to reduce the number of manual tasks and minimize human error through automation.

Does your cloud solution cost more than you’re prepared to pay? Is it the right size? Is the workload spread evenly throughout the day? Do you have problems with monitoring, tracing, or alarm management for your application? These questions lead us directly to the next point – monitoring. When your project gets started, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) will not only contribute to designing a load-capable infrastructure that can meet all of your business and reliability requirements; in addition, it will show your development team how to implement this infrastructure correctly. And once your Website is live, SRE will continue to monitor the scalability of the application and will propose solutions if changes are required in order to ensure that all of the services in the cloud are used correctly.

What is Site Reliability Engineering?

Site Reliability Engineering
SRE is the combination of resilient and scalable application architecture design for cloud solutions, full automation of all DevOps tasks including setting up CI/CD pipelines and last but not least the necessary mechanisms to proactively identify and resolve incidents. By focusing on observability through improved metrics, logs, traces and dashboards, SRE is able to resolve issues faster and provide better alerting context to application owners. Automated testing and deployment of problem solutions and automated scaling mechanisms either avoid system outages altogether or restore system availability in the shortest possible time.

If it’s no longer possible to easily identify an error in a large set of individual parts, you need someone who can join the dots and solve the problem. Consequently, the role of site reliability engineer is a combination of developer, DevOps engineer, and system administrator.

When our SRE team works with you, you’ll see a significant improvement in comparison with the traditional approach. SRE bridges the gap between development and operations. Developers want to make new functions available to users as frequently as possible, whereas members of the operational team want to make sure that everything runs smoothly and doesn’t break. SRE enables a faster deployment for the development team, with any errors that occur being used as indicators to improve the general state of your system.

SRE uses the latest technologies so that your company can grow more quickly and reliably. Modern microservice architectures tend to be really complex but, at the same time, really beneficial for your company. SRE helps to tame this complexity.

One of their big advantages lies in discovering errors and tracking them in the network. SRE has certain basic principles and tried-and-tested methods for setting up successful monitoring, tracking, and warning systems. These make the complexities of microservices easier to master.

SRE follows a data-centric approach that focuses on the creation of systems that learn from unavoidable errors and failures. Instead of trying to prevent errors, SRE uses errors to avoid future problems and to turn an error situation into an advantage. Each time a system encounters problems, this becomes a learning experience to make the system better, more powerful, and more reliable.

SRE constantly looks for opportunities to improve the system and automate manual processes. As automation increases and human errors are increasingly removed from the equation, the reliability of the services improves. Site reliability engineers must find ways to automate small and tedious tasks that are monotonous and waste time. The automation of tasks like this allows engineers to use their time more efficiently and effectively. As a result, SRE teams – who strive for the automation of workflows over the entire software life cycle – can significantly reduce your operating costs.

The following assumptions form the basis for the use of SRE:

  • You work with agile methods and the latest technologies.
  • Your company uses a public cloud.
  • You need to cope with fast growth at your company or in certain business areas.
  • At the same time, you need to keep up with technological progress and meet the requirements of your company.

Our main objective is to ensure that your company works efficiently. We do this by applying a DevOps mentality to achieve maximum reliability and scalability. The graphic below places the most important content and topics in this area into categories:

Site reliability engineering field of activitySource: Own representation

Your benefits from using Site Reliability Engineering

There are numerous advantages that you can aim for as a result of working with our SRE team. Developers and operational teams no longer need to discuss team responsibilities or decide when it’s time to concentrate on reliability or speed, since the SRE team does this for you. Resilience should no longer be a time-consuming issue for the development team: With SRE, it’s now an inherent part of the process. Once our team is on board, you no longer need to decide between reliability and speed, since we’ll help you to achieve both. Automation is one of the priorities of our SRE team, and we work with a range of different technologies in order to achieve this.

We reduce human interaction and lift CI/CD to new heights. This means that your software can be tested and delivered in a way that meets the requirements of your development team.

The combination of reliability and an improved rollout speed provides the development team with more time. Your customers might well love your current product, but there’s always room for improvement. Successful companies never stop developing new functions or improving existing ones. And the more functions or product improvements you achieve, the more satisfied your customers will become. Our understanding of how everything is interconnected ensures that – together – we’re in a position to record the best metrics, logs, and traces across the entire architecture. This means that we can draw up a full picture of the state of health of the system.

The results for you:

  • Lower costs thanks to the tailored deployment of cloud solutions
  • Reduced personnel requirements for the operation of your solution, which also lowers costs
  • Satisfied customers thanks to better reliability and speed for your solution
  • Lower customer migration, so more business deals for you
  • Elimination of most human errors through automation
  • Better resilience, so more efficient application operation
  • Application improvements due to CI/CD, which also enables early error detection
  • A more robust system thanks to the avoidance of errors

How Site Reliability Engineering works

Is your system subject to unexpected downtimes? We can help you to achieve high system reliability by making the most of the advantages of the cloud! In a highly available system, redundancy is used to ensure that the failure of a component does not mean the failure of the entire system. Health checks can be configured to detect a failure and automatically generate new instances. What this means: No downtime and consequently a better user experience when errors occur.

Do you have peak loads that your system can’t handle? Don’t worry! We can set up your infrastructure with auto-scaling: Scale upwards when the load’s higher and downwards when the load drops. This prevents downtime, increases efficiency in high-load situations, and reduces costs because you only use the infrastructure you need.

Want more environments? We use infrastructure as code. This means that we can quickly meet your needs by recreating the entire system or conjuring up a new environment in a short period of time.

Don’t lose your data! We can enable automatic backups for your databases in the cloud. You can save your data in various availability zones and restore it again if something goes wrong. This will help you to meet your recovery point objectives (RPOs). Reduce the time needed for the release of new functions in production. We can help you to set up your CI/CD pipelines in order to perform tests automatically and roll out your new functions.

Do you use microservices? We can help you to set up an infrastructure for microservices in the cloud. Dockerize your application and operate your system with a container orchestrator such as Kubernetes or AWS ECS.

Do you always know whether your system is working as expected? Have you noticed any latency anomalies in your services? Our SRE team helps you to improve your services through the implementation of a tailored monitoring, tracing, and alarm system.

  • We work with the best available solutions such as Instana, Prometheus, Grafana, ELK, Jaeger, ZipKin and more.
  • Use OpenAPM to find out which tools are most suitable for your stack. Or collect performance, tracing, and business data from your application with inspectIT software from Novatec.

Custom OpenAPM mapSource: OpenAPM

Our Site Reliability Engineering services

Our service offering in the SRE area is multi-faceted; the process flow for an SRE initiative is always individual. But we always start with one thing: We get together with you to understand what’s important to you and what goals you wish to achieve. This gives us a better understanding of how your product works and helps us to identify the keys to its success.

As we talk further, we’ll come to understand your architecture, the reasons behind its design, and the ways in which it meets your needs. We’ll analyze existing systems using a checklist to find out how SRE can benefit your company.

Once we’ve understood your business and application at a technical level, we’ll propose a cooperative model that will help you to achieve your goals. This model can vary depending on the actual architecture and your specific needs.

In general, we come across two main situations:

  1. If we’ve not worked with you before on software development, we’ll create the infrastructure and get started!
  2. If your application was already developed with Novatec, we’ll integrate SRE into the product team.

Regardless of the issue, our SRE team is available to help with the required improvements for your product.

The work of SRE doesn’t really ever end. When your system is launched, we’ll continue to monitor the scalability of the application and we’ll offer solutions when changes are required. SRE works constantly to find new ways to improve existing systems and to automate manual processes. As a result, we improve monitoring, logging, and tracing, thus optimizing product efficiency by adapting the product in line with possible future events. We constantly monitor performance in accordance with the customer’s specifications for data protection, data security, and the efficient use of resources.

What makes us special?

We feel an obligation to look after your projects as if they were our own. We strive to understand your product, product requirements, and possibilities for optimizing the experiences of end users, and we’ll use all of our expertise to improve your product.

Try us out!

Your contacts

Novatec_Markus-Mueller

Markus Müller

Director Software Engineering

Ruben Burr

Director Software Engineering
Table of contents
Your direct contact Markus Müller Director Software Engineering
Novatec_Markus-Mueller