Chapter 6. Not Just Google

To round out the perspectives presented in this report, we spoke with three SRE leaders in different industries who have all adopted SRE in various forms over the past several years. Each has a unique story about how that adoption worked and what they might have done differently, in addition to insights into what makes SRE work in their industry or organization.

Healthcare // Joseph

Joseph Bironas has been leading SRE adoption in several healthcare organizations since his time as a Google SRE leader. As such, he was able to provide an industry-wide view of how implementing SRE in this space differs from other tech and startup cultures. Due to the nature of its life-critical workflows, reliability is often top-of-mind. However, the healthcare industry faces specific challenges that span organizational models, culture, budgeting, and regulatory requirements.

After working with a company that focused on very tight margins in areas like medical device manufacturing, as well as FDA-regulated fields, Joseph observed that reliability is understood as a requirement, but that the cost–benefit ratio of SRE is far from well-understood in the industry. As a result, SRE and infrastructure teams can find themselves as “catch-all engineering” being pulled into an IT cost center, with their scope increased dramatically.

What’s wrong with an SRE team being managed under an IT cost center, you might ask? When enterprises are used to managing through broad ...

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