Wondering about SRE Tools? We explain the best tools for every step of the SRE development process.
What are SRE Tools used for?
SRE tools help teams manage the entire software development lifecycle. These tools can be used for project management, automating tasks, monitoring applications, and facilitating communication between teams.
Site reliability engineering (SRE) focuses on creating scalable and reliable software systems, thereby bridging IT and operations with techniques such as utilizing automation. Reliability has always been a core component of SRE, but it can’t really succeed if SREs have a weak toolkit to work with. In addition, SREs must automate and scale as service usage increases to ensure reliability, and having the right SRE tools to accomplish that is crucial.
The SRE lifecycle is about ensuring consistency and reliability across the lifecycle of systems infrastructure.
What type of SRE tools does my company need?
SRE tools span a wide variety of different tasks. Therefore, it’s important to understand what kinds of functions an SRE toolkit needs to cover to be effective before looking at anything specific.
Let’s first look at the SRE toolkit from a broader standpoint. The types of tools needed for the development lifecycle are ones that help them plan processes, create integrated development environments, verify every part of the CI/CD pipeline, automate release, and monitor performance. SREs may also invest in tools to help with incident response, after code has been released. This means that SREs must have a wide and varied SRE toolkit that enables them to understand and improve application performance where possible.
But what does that actually mean in practice? SRE tools must cover each of the aspects mentioned above while also providing valuable insight into every step of the process. The more metrics the SRE team has to measure performance, the smoother it will be to identify anomalies and failures and minimize the damage.
For reliability to truly be a priority, SRE teams need total visibility into each part of the application and have metrics to measure. Monitoring tools enable SRE teams to understand application performance across different aspects, develop metrics and benchmarks to create strong reliability practices, and understand where improvements are needed.
Monitoring tools are used for application performance monitoring (APM) to model response times and end-users’ experiences and use those figures to define and measure performance benchmarks. Additionally, network monitoring tools are used for load balancing, identifying server issues, and cybersecurity.
Together, these tools help SRE teams gain visibility on the application and the ecosystem as well as develop measures for reliability. For example, monitoring tool alerts allow SRE teams to identify issues and automate incident response. Monitoring tools can also create detailed logs and provide deeper insights into problems to help SREs create targeted measures for improvement.
SRE teams need to be on call if emergencies occur, but the workload needs to be evenly distributed. On-call tools help create a more streamlined process that ensures on-call duties are done on a rotation and that everyone has equal responsibilities. These tools also have features like shared calendars and alerts to give team members the information needed to minimize damage.
SRE teams are always contending with the idea that there could be a failure. While all their efforts are dedicated to reliability, acknowledging that failure is inevitable is important for teams to deal with. It doesn’t mean assigning blame, but it does entail having a clear process and tools to minimize the impact of failure. That’s where incident management comes in.
Incident management tools need to have the right level of issue triage control. Being able to configure issues and prioritize as needed is vital. Incident management tools also need to include escalation pathways to get key team members involved where required. The tool must also allow SRE teams to develop automation in place for situations where possible. Runbooks with predefined steps and workflow processes also need to be part of the incident management tool to ensure teams have what they need to manage the process.
SRE toolkits also need to include the right configuration and automation tools to make work easier. A crucial part of SRE is to automate tasks, reduce workload, and ensure reliability. Automated configurations accomplish this and help with resource management. Configuration tools automatically deploy infrastructure specifications in response to an outage. Workflows can also be automated to ensure a uniform process is in place for dealing with outages and failures.
Microservice catalog tools
Lastly, another SRE tools teams need to consider is a microservice catalog. A tool like this is used to enforce high-level policies and create a single source of truth for best practices when your architecture is distributed across many microservices. It can be a way for teams to understand what rules and processes to follow, individual responsibilities, and other crucial organization-specific knowledge. It can also help SRE teams assess readiness, establish ownership, and create more transparency and visibility around the SRE process.
How can Blameless help?
Service reliability is the main focus for SRE teams, and that’s why the SRE tools they use need to deliver on everything needed. Incident management plays a significant role in the process, and teams should have the SRE tools needed to minimize damage and get everything back up and running without assigning blame.
Blameless is an essential part of an SRE toolkit because it helps on-call teams achieve seamless incident response and better workflows. As an incident management tool, Blameless
allows teams to manage runbooks, automate task checklists, assign roles, and communicate with stakeholders all in one place. To learn more, schedule a demo or sign up for the newsletter.