SRE Theory vs. Practice: A Song of Ice and TireFire

Wednesday, 29 August, 2018 - 09:4010:20

Corey Quinn, Last Week in AWS, and John Looney, Facebook


In many technical talks, you see a speaker from a renowned tech company stand up and describe a perfect utopia of an environment. You look at the perfect environment and dedicated hordes of senior engineers they describe, and you despair of ever getting to that point. Your environment looks nothing like that.

Surprise—their environment doesn't really look like that either! In this talk, a speaker from an unnamed tech unicorn describes their amazing environment—and then what they just said gets translated from "thought leader" into plain English for you by an official SREcon translator. Stop feeling sad—everything is secretly terrible!

Corey Quinn, Last Week in AWS

Currently a Cloud Economist at the Quinn Advisory Group, and an advisor to ReactiveOps, Corey has a history as an engineering director, public speaker, and cloud architect. He specializes in helping companies address horrifying AWS bills, and curates, a weekly newsletter summarizing the latest in AWS news, blogs, and tips, sprinkled with snark. Outside of his professional work, Corey is known for overdressing, telling entertaining stories, and carrying a cigarette case full of tiny umbrellas.

John Looney, Facebook

John Looney is a Production Engineer in Intercom, improving datacenter automation. Previously, he helped build a modern SaaS-based infrastructure platform for Intercom, one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world. Before that, he was a full-stack SRE at Google, who did everything from rack design and data-center automation through ads-serving, stopping at GFS, Borg, and Colossus along the way. He wrote chapters for The SRE Book and Seeking SRE, and is on the steering committee for USENIX SRECon.

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@inproceedings {218949,
author = {Corey Quinn and John Looney},
title = {{SRE} Theory vs. Practice: A Song of Ice and {TireFire}},
booktitle = {SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa (SREcon18 Europe)},
year = {2018},
address = {Dusseldorf},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug,

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