Skip to main content

ITIL 4 and Site Reliability Engineering

Originally posted on, August 11, 2020, and written by Mark Blanke, CEO of Owlpoint, and Chairman of The CIO Initiative

One of the aspects of ITIL 4 that has impressed me the most is the integration and reference to so many other best practices and frameworks. One such reference is to Site Reliability Engineering aka SRE. SRE was originally developed by Google in the mid 2000s as a way of operating and administering productions system with a software development mindset. One of Google’s key drivers in building out SRE was to help bring developers and operations people together. Sounds like DevOps, right? In reality, they come from the same mindset, but there are key differences.

Google only recently started sharing the SRE concepts. It was their secret sauce and a way to be far more effective in operating their systems and maintaining a highly reliable environment. However, over time, they realized that it would be better for them to share their methods, so the language they used could be better understood by their customers and the teams they worked with. If you are reading this article, then you are probably familiar with one of the key values of Service Management and a core driver in developing ITIL in the first place: the need for a common language.

There have been many questions and misnomers in recent years such as “Is DevOps replacing IT Service Management?”, “Are SRE and DevOps the same thing?” and “Do I need them both” Well in all honestly, they are complementary and overlap a bit, but all together serve the greater purpose of co-creating value. ITIL 4 pulls these concepts together well and is described in some detail in ITIL 4’s High-Velocity IT (HVIT).

SRE is much more prescriptive than DevOps. DevOps is based on a set of guidelines but lacks much of the details of how to operate it, which is a big challenge for organizations looking to bring DevOps best practices to their teams.

SRE, on the other hand, is not only more dogmatic, but also is much more focused on bringing the operations aspect into the fold, and doesn’t just focus on the software development lifecycle.

I must acknowledge that I myself need to learn more about SRE, so I was really excited to hear that our partner ITSM Academy has recently launched a new class called SRE Foundation, accredited by the DevOps Institute. If you are interested in attending future sessions or would like additional information, please click here. We hope to see you in class!


Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you.

Roles and Responsibilities:
Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance.Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables. An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and the policies (r…

How Does ITIL Help in the Management of the SDLC?

I was recently asked how ITIL helps in the management of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  Simply put... SDLC is a Lifecycle approach to produce the software or the "product".  ITIL is a Lifecycle approach that focuses on the "service".
I’ll start by reviewing both SDLC and ITIL Lifecycles and then summarize:
SDLC  -  The intent of an SDLC process is to help produce a product that is cost-efficient, effective and of high quality. Once an application is created, the SDLC maps the proper deployment of the software into the live environment. The SDLC methodology usually contains the following stages: Analysis (requirements and design), construction, testing, release and maintenance.  The focus here is on the Software.  Most organizations will use an Agile or Waterfall approach to implement the software through the Software Development Lifecycle.
ITIL  -  is a best practice for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs …

ITIL 4 – Mapping the Customer Journey

All service providers are in the business of customer and user experience. It is not enough to compete on products and services, how services are delivered is as important as what is delivered.

The customer journey is the complete end-to-end experience customers have with one or more service providers and/or their products through the touchpoints and service interactions with those providers. In order to focus on the outcomes and on the customer/user experience, service providers are seeking to master the art of mapping their customer journey. Doing so allows them to maximize stakeholder value through co-creation of value throughout the entire value chain.

The customer journey begins by understanding the overall macro-level of steps or groups of activities that generate the need for interaction between the customer and the service provider. These activities begin at “Explore” and end with “Realize” where the value is actually being consumed by the end-users.
The Band of Visibility