Sublinear Scaling in Practice: The 1k SRE Project

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 11:10 am11:40 am

Nikolaus Rath, Google


At Google, one of the primary objectives of SRE teams is sublinear scaling: the size and number of SRE teams should grow more slowly than the number of supported services. This talk will describe how one team has implemented this principle. Over the last 3 years, we have increased our portfolio by more than 200% (from 187 to 431 supported services) without additional staffing, and we plan for continued growth up to 1000 services. We will review the extensive automation infrastructure that we have in place, describe ongoing projects (including automated incident handling), and discuss the changes we've made in how we approach SRE - moving away from service-specific production readiness reviews towards automated policy verification and service-agnostic consulting. Audience members will hear about a vision for the long-term role of SRE in large organizations, where sublinear scaling requires not just increasing automation but a cultural shift from providing service-specific expertise to mostly service-independent consulting.

Nikolaus Rath, Google

Dr. Nikolaus Rath is a site reliability engineer working on Google's advertising services. Before joining Google, he worked on feedback control systems for magnetically confined plasmas. He is a maintainer of a number of open-source projects, including libfuse and S3QL.

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@conference {229497,
author = {Nikolaus Rath},
title = {Sublinear Scaling in Practice: The 1k {SRE} Project},
year = {2019},
address = {Brooklyn, NY},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar

Presentation Video