The Importance of Observability for Site Reliability Engineers (SREs)

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The Importance of Observability for Site Reliability Engineers (SREs)

Site reliability engineers (SREs) play a crucial role in ensuring the reliability of systems. From creating software to improving system reliability in production, responding to incidents, and fixing issues, SREs are responsible for guaranteeing the health of applications..

And observability helps support SREs'. Because an observable system allows them to identify and fix issues promptly, resulting in SRE’s being better equipped to fast-track development cycles.

What Is Observability

Observability involves assessing a system's internal state based on its external outputs. And with observable systems, it becomes easier for SREs to understand what's going on, then act accordingly. Among other benefits, this provides the system users with a smooth experience as well as maintaining a positive brand perception.

To evaluate system observability, SREs rely on three pillars – metrics, traces, and event logs. This enables them to understand, maintain, and design systems better.

  • Metrics – Data measurements expressed as numeric values over time intervals. Metrics have traits such as value, timestamp, name, etc.
  • Traces – Show the flow of a request by highlighting a system/program's execution path. It has three attributes – name, ID, and time value. 
  • Event logs – Text lines describing discrete events occurring at specific time points

 Monitoring and observability are interdependent. Monitoring refers to a set of activities carried out by IT professionals to foster observability -collecting data from IT resources to track their (resources) performance. And observability entails evaluating external outputs (performance data) to measure a system's internal state. 

Growing Importance of Observability for SREs

The last few years has seen a growing importance of observability for SREs. With the increasing need for system reliability, assuring health applications is essential for uninterrupted business operations. Observability powers reliability by providing actionable insights whenever there are system errors and in return, this enhances the roles of SREs, including;

  • Building software in response to the needs of support, DevOps, and ITOps teams
  • Optimising on-call processes
  • Fixing support-escalated issues
  • Handling incidents 

What this means is that observability for SREs is vital for the continuous improvement of system processes and the overall application experience.

Why Is Observability Important? 

With the increasing popularity of cloud computing, observability is even more crucial. Besides making the systems observable, it enables the SREs to optimise applications..

Usually, SREs will observe metrics such as incident frequency, rollback frequency, mean-time-to-remediate (MTTR), etc., to improve the processes and build more robust and reliable applications. Consequently, this helps curb outages and the resulting effect on productivity, revenue, and the bottom line. 

How Can SREs Leverage Observability? 

Despite the benefits of observability, almost half of SREs are not utilising the tools. With the increasing complexity of systems and apparent risks, SREs should leverage observability to increase their efficiency and create more reliable applications.

To achieve this, you need to acquire the right tools and services to start gathering the data. For example, using the tools, you could instrument your services to collect telemetry or correlate data between multiple sources.

Key Benefits of Observability for SREs 

Utilising observability tools is beneficial for SREs in many ways, including;

  • Identifying and resolving issues 
  • Fostering transparency by giving real-time information on service status
  • Creating and optimising workflows
  • Investigating the root cause of issues 
  • Discovering unexpected problems, predicting events, and standardising responses
  • Gaining insights to build better software and speed up development cycles


Leveraging observability is a critical step toward easing the work of SREs and fool proofing systems for optimal performance - enabling you to repair application performance before your customers are impacted.

Are you ready to take advantage of observability? By providing facilitation of complex observability across an entire tech stack, 2 Steps allows SREs to monitor the ongoing health and performance of applications. 

Want to understand how our solution could assist your business with greater observability? Book a demo here.