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Site Reliability Engineering by Jennifer Petoff, Niall Richard Murphy, Chris Jones, Betsy Beyer

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Chapter 8. Release Engineering

Release engineering is a relatively new and fast-growing discipline of software engineering that can be concisely described as building and delivering software [McN14a]. Release engineers have a solid (if not expert) understanding of source code management, compilers, build configuration languages, automated build tools, package managers, and installers. Their skill set includes deep knowledge of multiple domains: development, configuration management, test integration, system administration, and customer support.

Running reliable services requires reliable release processes. Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) need to know that the binaries and configurations they use are built in a reproducible, automated way so that releases are repeatable and aren’t “unique snowflakes.” Changes to any aspect of the release process should be intentional, rather than accidental. SREs care about this process from source code to deployment.

Release engineering is a specific job function at Google. Release engineers work with software engineers (SWEs) in product development and SREs to define all the steps required to release software—from how the software is stored in the source code repository, to build rules for compilation, to how testing, packaging, and deployment are conducted.

The Role of a Release Engineer

Google is a data-driven company and release engineering follows suit. We have tools that report ...

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