Podcast Orange

Podcast #111 – SRE: Occasionally Maintaining Infrastructure That You Hate

Podcast Orange

Welcome to a very special episode of The Stack Overflow Podcast recorded Thursday, June 8 at Stack Overflow HQ in NYC. Why is this a very special episode, you ask? It’s all about Site Reliability Engineers (SRE). Joel and Jay are away (slackers) so David is running the show along with Ilana and 3 members of our very own SRE team. Tom Limoncelli, Mark Henderson, and Jason Harvey are here to discuss how we build and maintain Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange network.

So much great stuff in this episode:

  • Tom’s rants are much calmer than Joel’s, but just as infuriating. Stop hiding buttons, Google!
  • Always tip your bartender and use a “USB condom“.
  • Tom and David are fascinated by our Ping Pong Buddy, for some reason.
  • We’re still waiting for Tom’s protocol droid. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.
  • Differences between Stack Overflow and other SRE teams. *cough, we’re NOT in the cloud, cough*
  • Special SRE edition of Failure is Not an Option. (Apparently Mark is a master criminal. We’re not sure that he moved out of Australia voluntarily…)
  • In the News: How not to react when someone makes a mistake.
  • Oh, and btw, the SRE team is hiring!

As you know we are preparing a Constitution for Stack Overflow. This week’s question comes from listener Kase (@kasey_orourke1): Is it okay to throw things in other people’s trash cans when walking down a row of cubicles? Post to twitter #stackoverflowpodcast with PRO if you should be able to use the trash can with no stink-eyes from coworkers, and CON if you think you should keep your Doritos bags out of other people’s bins. Wittiest answer will win Stack Podcast stickers!

Last week’s winner, for the question “Pro or Con, If I say ‘June 1st at midnight,’ am I referring to the morning of June 1st or the evening?” is @ariporad.

Congrats Ari! You win things! Watch for a Twitter DM from Ilana.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with new episodes in July. Until then you can catch up on our back catalog HERE.

Links for the lazy:

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  1. Really enjoyed the podcast today, thanks.

    For someone that is 2-3 years into their IT career, what guidance can you give for aiming toward the goal of one day becoming an SRE? There’s so much to learn + the necessary work experience it takes to get there. A lot of the SRE and DevOps talk, blogs, etc discuss things as if you’re already at that level, which is great, but sometimes it’s hard to backtrack through that or a job posting to figure out the core skills or steps necessary to see that path. What sort of team or company should one be looking for, etc. I guess just some way to know what guideposts/milestones to take you from rack-and-stack junior sysadmin to doing this type of work.

    Hope that question isn’t too simplistic or scattered. I’ve been trying to reverse engineer job listings to see where I need to get too but it can be arduous to decipher as well as disconcerting to guesstimate the amount of time / years it could take.


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