11 best SRE books this year [learn site reliability engineering asap]

11 Best SRE Books in 2022 [Learn Site Reliability Engineering ASAP]

Today we’re looking at the best SRE books of all time.

๐Ÿง  Did you know? According to CNBC, you don’t need a degree to become a site reliability engineer.

What is site reliability engineering?

Site reliability engineering (SRE) ensures that an organization’s software systems are scalable and reliable.

Site reliability engineers bridge the gap between operations and development. They have to be proficient with:

  • software engineering
  • IT operations
  • automation
  • analyzation
  • change

And beyond.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: Best Site Reliability Engineering Books
The following are the top three SRE books recommended by Google, and we happen to agree:

๐Ÿ”ฅ Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

๐Ÿ’ฅ The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE

๐Ÿšจ Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems

Best SRE Books

Now let’s take a look at the best site reliability engineering books of this year.

1. Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SRE beginners
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: principles, practices, management

Site Reliability Engineering contains a collection of essays and articles detailing how SRE has enabled Google to build, deploy, monitor and maintain their massive software systems.

โžก๏ธ Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems is one of the best SRE books because it was written by members of Google’s Site Reliability Team.

The book is divided into four sections:

โœ… Introduction

โœ… Principles

โœ… Practices

โœ… Management

Then you’ll discover how Google was able to make their systems scalable, efficient and reliable.

Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems shows you how to take Google’s SRE successes and apply them to your organization.

Diagram of the life of a user request in Site Reliability Engineering

๐Ÿš€ Get more official training from Google with the course Site Reliability Engineering: Measuring and Managing Reliability on Coursera.

2. The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: engineers reading O’Reilly’s Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: running reliable services, practical applications

In this handy workbook, you’ll find solid examples of how to put SRE into action in your work environment.

โžก๏ธ The Site Reliability Workbook is the companion to Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems. It was also written by members of Google’s Site Reliability Team.

In addition to examples of Google’s implementation of SRE, you’ll find case studies of Googleโ€™s Cloud customers including Evernote, Home Depot and The New York Times.

You’ll learn:

โœ… how to run reliable services in environments like the cloud

โœ… create, monitor, and run your services with Service Level Objectives

โœ… convert existing ops to SRE

โœ… methods to start SRE from greenfield or brownfield

And beyond.

The Site Reliability Workbook is chock full of professional site reliability engineering examples and applications you can apply to new or existing projects.

Table of SLIs for different components in The Site Reliability Workbook

๐Ÿš€ Take your skills to the next level with the official Google Learning Path SRE and DevOps Engineer with Google Cloud on Pluralsight.

3. Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: engineers who have read O’Reilly’s Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems book
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: design strategies, recommendations, best practices

Building on concepts from Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems, you’ll discover insights from security and reliability practitioners covering design, implementation and maintenance.

โžก๏ธ Building Secure and Reliable Systems is the follow-up to the book Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems, and was written by members of Google’s Site Reliability Team.

First you’ll learn how to build and adopt best practices while discovering:

โœ… design strategies

โœ… recommendations for coding, testing and debugging

โœ… strategies to manage incidents

And beyond.

Building Secure & Reliable Systems expands on concepts from Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems and takes you to the next level of SRE.

Here’s what site reliability engineers are saying about Building Secure & Reliable Systems:

This book is an excellent framework for reviewing the best ways to organize your software engineering teams around having impactful systems that can be released quickly, reliably and securely.

Jason D. Clinton


๐Ÿ”ฅ Geena’s Hot Take

Ok, so we’re going for the 1, 2, 3 punch here… ๐ŸฅŠ

Site reliability engineering can be tricky. So what better way than to learn from members of Google’s Site Reliability Team?

These were all written by Google’s site reliability engineering team members:

๐Ÿ’ฅ Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

๐Ÿ’ฅ The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE

๐Ÿ’ฅ Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems

This is THE combination that will get you where you need to be in your site reliability engineering journey.

If you’re just getting started or want to improve on your SRE tactics, I recommend this unmatched trio.

4. The Practice of Cloud System Administration: DevOps and SRE Practices for Web Services

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: cloud computing, design, operation

The Practice of Cloud System Administration is geared towards DevOps and experienced SREs interested in cloud computing.

โžก๏ธ The Practice of Cloud System Administration is one of the best SRE books to learn how to apply your SRE skills to large distributed systems.

Packed with case studies from Google, Etsy, Facebook, Netflix and beyond, you’ll find coverage of:

โœ… building and designing modern web and distributed systems

โœ… operating and running systems using SRE strategies

โœ… assessing and evaluating your team’s effectiveness

And more.


5. Chaos Engineering: System Resiliency in Practice

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: chaos engineering

Chaos Engineering: System Resiliency in Practice is geared towards experienced SREs who want to discover vulnerabilities and outages BEFORE they happen.

โžก๏ธ Chaos Engineering is one of the best SRE books for learning this subset of site reliability engineering.

Basically you experiment on systems to make them more resilient during production. And it can get a little… chaotic.

You’ll learn how to navigate complex systems and:

โœ… use chaos engineering to navigate complexity

โœ… explore methodologies to avoid failure

โœ… think about complexity in software systems

โœ… learn how to design chaos experiments

Throughout the book, you’ll find real-world stories from experts at Google, Microsoft, Slack and more.

Chaos Engineering: System Resiliency in Practice was written by Casey Rosenthal and Nora Jones, who pioneered chaos engineering at Netflix.

Here’s what site reliability engineers are saying about Chaos Engineering:

There is no better way to test your system than Chaos Engineering!

Eric Vanhove


6. Real-World SRE: The Survival Guide for Responding to a System Outage and Maximizing Uptime

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SRE newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: tools, strategies, SRE interviews

Real-World SRE aims to help you prepare for and navigate almost any SRE disaster.

โžก๏ธ Real-World SRE is one of the best SRE books for software developers “in the middle of catastrophic website failure.”

Now that’s a pretty strong statement, so let’s take a look at what this book has to offer.

First off, you’ll find tried and tested methods for:

โœ… monitoring web services

โœ… setting up alerts

โœ… evaluating your incident response

Then you’ll find tools and strategies used to test and release software, predict bottlenecks and more.

Finally, you’ll find a section on passing the site reliability engineering interview.


7. Chaos Engineering: Site Reliability Through Controlled Disruption

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: chaos engineering

It’s similar to Chaos Engineering: System Resiliency in Practice, but you’ll get the expertise of Mikolaj Pawlikowski, creator of the Kubernetes chaos engineering tool PowerfulSeal.

โžก๏ธ Chaos Engineering: Site Reliability Through Controlled Disruption is one of the best SRE books for experienced site reliability engineers.

With ample examples, you’ll learn how to design and execute controlled experiments on everything from a WordPress site to distributed systems.

First you’ll learn how to:

โœ… inject failure into processes and applications

โœ… test software using Kubernetes

โœ… simulate database connection latency

Then you’ll discover how to improve your team’s failure response.


8. Hands-On Site Reliability Engineering

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: beginner, intermediate and advanced site reliability engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: fundamentals, tools, examples

Hands-On Site Reliability Engineering is a thorough, comprehensive guide covering the foundations of SRE all the way up to advanced topics.

โžก๏ธ Hands-On Site Reliability Engineering is one of the best SRE books for beginner, intermediate and advanced site reliability engineers.

First, with tons of hands-on examples, you’ll learn about:

โœ… SRE fundamentals

โœ… how to execute site reliability engineering

โœ… successful techniques to put SRE into production

โœ… popular SRE tools

โœ… advanced SRE techniques

And beyond.

Then you’ll deep dive into the essential elements of an IT system such as:

โœ… microservices

โœ… application architectures

โœ… types of software deployment

โœ… load balancing

And more.

Diagram of the IT organization structure in Hands-On Site Reliability Engineering

9. Seeking SRE: Conversations About Running Production Systems at Scale

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SRE beginners
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: SRE principles, implementing SRE

Seeking SRE is a conversational piece where site reliability engineers share their experiences on various aspects of SRE.

โžก๏ธ Seeking SRE is one of the best SRE books for learning how to implement site reliability engineering.

Seeking SRE is a conversational book about SRE principles and implementation.

First you’ll find entries from engineers and other SRE leaders.

Then you’ll discover:

โœ… how SRE relates to DevOps

โœ… cutting edge SRE best practices

โœ… technologies that make SRE easier

Finally, you’ll explore the human side of site reliability engineering.


10. SRE with Java Microservices: Patterns for Reliable Microservices in the Enterprise

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: application metrics, debugging, traffic management

SRE Microservices with Java examines microservices individually and as a whole so you can create resilient Java applications.

โžก๏ธ SRE Microservices with Java is one of the best SRE books with Java code examples to demonstrate SRE microservices in action.

It covers site reliability engineering concepts from companies that use microservices.

You’ll also find tried and tested SRE patterns covering:

โœ… application metrics

โœ… debugging with observability

โœ… charting and alerting

โœ… traffic management

And beyond.


11. 97 Things Every SRE Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: newbie to advanced site reliability engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: disaster plan, integrating empathy, advice

97 Things Every SRE Should Know is similar to Seeking SRE: Conversations About Running Production Systems at Scale because it’s a collection of quips and essays from experienced site reliability engineers.

But this is a much shorter book.

โžก๏ธ 97 Things Every SRE Should Know is one of the best SRE books for insight on site reliability engineering from experienced SREs.

Packed with actionable advice, you’ll learn:

โœ… how to adopt SRE

โœ… why SLOs matter

โœ… when you need to upgrade your incident response

โœ… the difference between observability and monitoring

And much more.

In addition, you’ll face more intense topics such as testing your disaster plan, integrating empathy and other advice.

97 Things Every SRE Should Know was edited by the co-founders of Incident Labs, Jaime Woo and Emil Stolarsky.


Best SRE Books: Conclusion

Now let’s look at some of the top site reliability engineering books on our list.

Today we looked at the best site reliability engineering books including the trifecta from O’Reilly:

๐Ÿ”ฅ Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

๐Ÿ’ฅ The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE

๐Ÿšจ Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems

So whether you want to invest in one or all three, or dig into another action-packed SRE book on our list, we’ve got you covered with these best SRE books.


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