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DWP Digital builds SRE capability


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The digital team at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is beginning to build a site reliability engineering (SRE) capability.

A DWP Digital blogpost by Sean Luke, its chief engineer for reliability engineering, says it is developing an SRE profession as part of its engineering practice in order add to the DevOps culture within the department.

It has begun hiring people as part of an approach that he says, according to discussions with IT analyst Gartner, is unique in the public sector.

This is aimed at supporting the DWP’s transformation agenda and using new technologies with a user-centric focus.

SRE has emerged over the past few years and been used by some major private sector organisations, most notably Google which is attributed with creating the discipline to manage large scale systems.

It is often seen as an extension of DevOps – a combination of software development and operational support – with an emphasis on coding, the development of new features and automation. Among its prime features is a willingness to accept failure as a normal part of the development process and to measure everything involved in the process.

Opportunity for change

“I see SRE as the most significant opportunity for the public sector to transform the use of digital technology in a profound way,” Luke says.

The blog adds that DWP Digital is making progress on its plans to build a hybrid cloud estate that places the emphasis on software-as-a-service and reduces the need for on-premise hosting.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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