SRE Vs DevOps. What are the factors that overlap?

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SRE and DevOps to some extent look the same, I want to know the difference though. What differentiates an SRE with a DevOps engineer and what are some overlaps. This will also help many of us understand the things in-depth. Please share your thoughts.

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DevOps is technically a discipline, not a role, although in practice it's become a metonym for "developer who can also manage a deployment pipeline and administer servers/clusters". I see SREs in particular as having more of a stake in the running system. The code having been built and deployed isn't the whole picture; there are also availability, observability, and scale considerations.


Thanks for this. So SREs can be DevOps but DevOps cannot be SREs, is that the case?


They're different things. The video rhymes posted explains that SREs can practice DevOps as part of our remit. Strictly speaking it's not possible to be DevOps, but the role named by the vernacular usage of the term has significant common ground with the SRE role: build and deploy pipeline construction and management, cloud and server administration, automation and tooling tasks.


To answer your Q: what the "devops" does overlap. SRE includes SysAdmin duties, but not viceversa.

You can read about it in the SRE free Google book (inventors of SRE term), it explains this difference too.

Basically a SRE is a developer that automates stuff (50/50 coding/sysadmin), Sysadmins (you cannot be a DevOps) don't usually code, for example the SRE can build their own software products.


Interesting, I have to see what exactly SysAdmin does. Let me read about it


Is what "DevOps engineers" area actually called, rather should be called and were called until companies adopted this trend. "Devops" is a way of doing things, System administrators are the people who implement DevOps methodologies.


DevOps is a methodology and approach to managing work. It is not a role. SRE is a role. SREs sometimes practice DevOps. “DevOps engineer” is really just a title used to recruit sysadmins who are more comfortable with app development concepts. I say this having had both titles.


Interesting question, I can't wait for the answers because I also have the feeling it changes from company to company and in smaller companies probably DevOps and SRE are the same thing.

I remembered Google's take on the difference:



Yes, I saw this video but I want to understand from experts the real and individual answers on what they think. Thanks for sharing the video.


The GCP Podcast did an episode on this question:

It's a debate between Liz Fond Jones (SRE) and Seth Vargo (DevOps)

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