Chapter 8. Introducing SRE in Large Enterprises

This chapter describes my story of how an acquired Software as a Service (SaaS) startup (founded in 2006) introduced SRE into a large enterprise (originally founded in the 1930s), including the challenges and opportunities of traditional IT, operations, support/quality teams, and distinct product engineering divisions working in concert with one another. This is intended for managers who understand that SRE is what their organization and products need but they are struggling to determine how to implement these ideas. This was adapted from a talk I gave at SRECon17 Europe in the summer of 2017 in Dublin, Ireland.

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.

Henry Ford


As a cofounder of a small SaaS startup, joining a large organization was a thrilling experience for me. Our team was excited to share our knowledge and take advantage of the resources and infrastructure this larger company could provide to expand our business. Our startup learned that the matrixed structure—in which groups have dual reporting relationships, by function and also to the product lines—can be both flexible as well as challenging when it comes to introducing new paradigms.

Our organization, Agilent Technologies, has deep Silicon Valley roots from the late 1930s. As a large instrument manufacturer with primarily shrink-wrapped software products, we traditionally have delivered software by burning ...

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