Top 3 Takeaways from SREcon16
SREcon16 is a wrap, and our team had a blast at this year’s event! Both days were non-stop action: demos, discussions, and - of course - handing out our fair share of panda swag. Between the buzz on the floor and in the sessions, what topics were top of mind at this year’s show? Here are our three key takeaways:
- 100% reliability is not necessarily a good thing.
As Chris Jones of Google explained in his session, “Service Levels and Error Budgets”, an SRE’s job is “not to maximize reliability”. He explained that reliability is simply one property of a software system, and that if too much focus is placed on it, all changes would be turned down. Jones explained that Google sets service level objectives (SLOs) which express how reliable a service needs to be and manages their service to maximize product development and feature velocity within an agreed “error budget”.
- Engineering resources are scarce – use them wisely.
In her closing address, Charity Jones, cofounder and CTO of Hound, stressed the importance of making better choices with software development. This is particularly crucial given the relative scarcity of engineering resources. “I never want to see anyone doing technology for the sake of technology near production,” Majors explained, adding that organizations should not be encouraged to switch software “simply because it’s cool” – all solutions have their own challenges. She also stressed that companies should reward the engineers that “remove code, deprecate, and refactor” as much as those who add features.
- Identifying signal from noise is crucial.
From our conversations on the ground to the pains discussed in sessions, it’s clear that between the complexity of today’s IT stack to the burden of legacy infrastructure, finding a way to identify signal from noise is more important than ever before. In order for scarce engineering resources to focus on what matters most, nobody has the time to sift through hundreds of Nagios alerts, let alone determine which ones may actually indicate a fire. Of course, as you can probably guess, BigPanda has a pretty good answer for that – and if you’re interested to give us a whirl, we’ll even thank you with sweet drone!