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Operate First - Site Reliability Engineering


This the Operate First repository for Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) documentation. Here we intend to collect documentation on the nitty-gritty aspects of building and operating an effective SRE organisation.

Who runs this repository?

Hello! We’re the Red Hat SIG-SRE group, a cross-team group of people inside Red Hat with an interest in promoting and developing strong SRE culture. As a result you can expect some of the material here to be a little slanted toward the way we do things here inside Red Hat, but as we’re doing our best to stick to what are generally accepted to be good SRE practices you should be able to make use of it with, at most, minor modification.

 Table of Contents

Getting Started

  • The Reliability Nightmares Colouring Book

    A readable, accessible guide to the various ways in which SRE principles and managed services can solve many of the problems associated with running complex IT services (and restaurants).

  • The SLO Bootstrap Guide

    A self-contained bootstrapping guide for teams looking to use the SRE approach to supporting services.

  • Incident Management Process Guide

    A useful starting point for developing your own incident management processes and procedures.

Metrics and Monitoring

  • Picking good Service Level Indicators (SLIs)

    Service Level Indicators are one of the most important sets of metrics in SRE, and defining them correctly is key to running an effective SRE service.

  • Picking good Service Level Objectives (SLOs)

    Where SLIs are used to answer the question “Is everything working as it should?”, Service Level Objectives (SLOs) define the expectations for how much and how often a service should perform correctly according to its SLIs. They are probably the single most important set of statistics used for evaluating the performance of a managed service, as they show maintainers and customers alike just how well things are working.

  • Prometheus Alerting Consistency

    Alerts are only useful if they’re clear, understandable and actionable. This guide presents some suggested best practices for designing alerts that are consistent and useful.


  • Some sample SIG-SRE Architecture Decision Records

    When major decisions are made on design or operational aspects of system, it can be very worthwhile to keep a clear record of those decisions for future reference. An Architecture Decision Record (ADR) acts as a document of the discussion and reasoning behind the decision it relates to, and in years to come can be extremely valuable for answering the eternal question - “Why do we do things this way?“.

    This directory contains some sample ADRs from the SIG-SRE group.

Other Documents

  • A work in progess - the SRE Maturity Model

    Moving to an SRE model generally happens in a series of steps rather than as a single big change. The SRE Maturity Model is intended to describe a set of milestones along the route from “no SRE at all” to “a fully functioning SRE organisation”.


Feedback is always welcome, and contributions are too! Feel free to file an issue or send us a pull request (PR). If you’d like to know more about what we do or find out about ways you can get involved, then you can read about becoming part of the Operate First community.

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