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

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

🧠 Did you know? 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.

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

🔥 Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

💥 The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE

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

Best SRE Books

1. Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

↘️ Ideal for: SRE beginners
↘️
Topics covered: principles, practices, management

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.

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

The book is divided into four sections:

  • Introduction
  • Principles
  • Practices
  • Management

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

🚀 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

↘️ Ideal for: engineers reading O’Reilly’s Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems
↘️
Topics covered: running reliable services, practical applications

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

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

You’ll learn:

And beyond.

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

Table of SLIs for different components in The Site Reliability Workbook

🚀 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

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

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.

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.

You’ll also learn how to build and adopt best practices while discovering:

  • design strategies
  • recommendations for coding, testing and debugging
  • 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 SREs 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


🔥 Geena’s Hot Take

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

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 those SRE members:

💥 Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

💥 The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE

💥 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 SRE 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

↘️ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
↘️
Topics covered: cloud computing, design, operation

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

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

  • building and designing modern web and distributed systems
  • operating and running systems using SRE strategies
  • assessing and evaluating your team’s effectiveness

And more.

➡️ The Practice of Cloud System Administration teaches you how to apply your SRE skills to large distributed systems.


5. Chaos Engineering: System Resiliency in Practice

↘️ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
↘️
Topics covered: chaos engineering

Chaos Engineering is a subset of site reliability engineering.

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

Chaos Engineering: System Resiliency in Practice is geared towards experienced SREs who want to discover vulnerabilities and outages BEFORE they happen. You’ll learn how to navigate complex systems and:

  • use chaos engineering to navigate complexity
  • explore methodologies to avoid failure
  • think about complexity in software systems
  • 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 SREs 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

↘️ Ideal for: SRE newbies
↘️
Topics covered: tools, strategies, SRE interviews

Real-World SRE is considered a survival guide 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:

  • monitoring web services
  • setting up alerts
  • evaluating your incident response

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

Finally, you’ll find a section on passing the SRE interview.

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


7. Chaos Engineering: Site Reliability Through Controlled Disruption

↘️ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
↘️
Topics covered: chaos engineering

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.

You’ll learn how to:

  • inject failure into processes and applications
  • test software using Kubernetes
  • simulate database connection latency

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

➡️ Chaos Engineering: Site Reliability Through Controlled Disruption was written by Mikolaj Pawlikowski, creator of the Kubernetes chaos engineering tool PowerfulSeal.


8. Hands-On Site Reliability Engineering

↘️ Ideal for: beginner, intermediate and advanced site reliability engineers
↘️
Topics covered: fundamentals, tools, examples

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

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

  • SRE fundamentals
  • how to execute site reliability engineering
  • successful techniques to put SRE into production
  • popular SRE tools
  • advanced SRE techniques

And beyond.

You’ll also deep dive into the essential elements of an IT system such as:

  • microservices
  • application architectures
  • types of software deployment
  • load balancing

And more.

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

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

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

Seeking SRE is one of the best SRE books for learning how to implement SRE.

↘️ Ideal for: SRE beginners
↘️
Topics covered: SRE principles, implementing SRE

Seeking SRE is a conversational book about SRE principles and implementation. You’ll find entries from engineers and other SRE leaders.

You’ll also discover:

  • how SRE relates to DevOps
  • cutting edge SRE best practices
  • technologies that make SRE easier

And the human side of SRE.

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


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

↘️ Ideal for: experienced site reliability engineers
↘️
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. It covers SRE concepts from companies that use microservices.

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

  • application metrics
  • debugging with observability
  • charting and alerting
  • traffic management

And beyond.

➡️ SRE Microservices with Java comes complete with Java code examples to demonstrate SRE microservices in action.


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

97 Things Every SRE should know is one of the best SRE books for insight on site reliability engineering from experienced SREs.

↘️ Ideal for: newbie to advanced site reliability engineers
↘️
Topics covered: disaster plan, integrating empathy, advice

97 Things Every SRE Should Know is a collection of quips and essays from experienced site reliability engineers. Packed with actionable advice, you’ll learn:

  • how to adopt SRE
  • why SLOs matter
  • when you need to upgrade your incident response
  • the difference between observability and monitoring

And much more.

You’ll also 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

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

🔥 Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

💥 The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE

🚨 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.


Site Reliability Engineers are also reading:


  1. 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.

  2. What are the best SRE books?

    We think there are 3 best SRE books. The first one is Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems. The second is the companion workbook The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE. The third is a follow-up book Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems.

  3. What are the best SRE courses?

    We think there are 2 best SRE courses. The first one is Site Reliability Engineering: Measuring and Managing Reliability on the Coursera learning platform. The second is an SRE Learning Path on Pluralsight called SRE and DevOps Engineer with Google Cloud. The Coursera and Pluralsight courses are both officially offered by Google Cloud.

  4. Is the book Site Reliability Engineering worth it?

    Yes, we think so. 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. It contains a collection of essays and articles detailing how SRE has enabled Google to build, deploy, monitor and maintain their massive software systems.

  5. Is the book Building Secure and Reliable Systems worth it?

    Yes, we think so. 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. 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.