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Site Reliability Engineering Fundamentals

A practical guide to key concepts and best practices

Emil Stolarsky
Emil Stolarsky
Jaime Woo
Jaime Woo

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Over the past five years, the ideas behind site reliability engineering (SRE) have caught fire because of their success in improving the reliability of systems. But those just starting their SRE journey often have questions. For instance, how do you transform an existing organization toward SRE? Where do DevOps and SRE overlap, and where do they diverge? And which method for calculating and measuring service-level objectives (SLOs) should you use, and when?

Join Incident Labs’ Emil Stolarsky and Jaime Woo to gain a foundational understanding of SRE principles and the infrastructure practices and processes of a range of organizations—along with actionable advice on putting them to work in your organization. Emil and Jaime will also take you through the pragmatic and sometimes messy decisions that must be made on a regular basis to form a functional and successful SRE culture.

Make meaningful changes to how you run your services immediately, and learn how to start meaningfully participating in the SRE community.

What you’ll learn—and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • What SRE is (and isn’t) and how it’s evolved over the past decade
  • How SRE relates to concepts like DevOps and resilience engineering
  • The benefits of SRE
  • When and how SRE should be applied for maximum impact
  • Current SRE conversations and where they’re happening

And you’ll be able to:

  • Assess how SRE is implemented across various companies of different sizes
  • Implement foundational SRE concepts, such as SLOs and error budgets
  • Debunk common myths and misunderstandings around SRE
  • Evaluate the progress of SRE adoption and strategies and relate them back to stakeholders

This course is for you because…

  • You’re a developer new to or looking to enter an SRE role.
  • You build the tools that improve deployment, shepherd code from developers into production, make sure it keeps running, or anything else remotely related.
  • You want to become well-versed in the foundations and best practices of SRE.


  • Experience running software in production environments
  • Familiarity with the struggle of implementing SRE

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Emil Stolarsky is a site reliability engineer. Previously, he worked on caching, performance, and disaster recovery at Shopify and the internal Kubernetes platform at DigitalOcean. He’s the program cochair for SREcon EMEA 2019 and SREcon Americas West 2020 and contributed a chapter to the O’Reilly book Seeking SRE.

    Emil Stolarsky
  • Jaime Woo is an award-nominated writer and a frequent speaker at SREcon EMEA, Americas West, and Americas East. He began his career as a molecular biologist before working at DigitalOcean, Riot Games, and Shopify, where he launched the engineering communications function.

    Jaime Woo

Course outline

SRE fundamentals (55 minutes)

  • Presentation: Overview of site reliability engineering; What does SRE look like in practice?
  • Group discussion: Where on the SRE journey is your company?; understanding reliability as a feature
  • Q&A

Break (5 minutes)

SRE best practices (60 minutes)

  • Presentation: SLIs, SLOs, SLAs, and error budgets; building a learning organization; What does it take to roll out SRE?
  • Hands-on exercise: Unlock key SLIs and corresponding SLOs
  • Q&A