Management is a simple word to say, but managing even a simple thing takes a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. When we talk about the management of services in an IT organization, there are not many options to choose from. ITSM (IT service management) is the best in those limited options. It is the activities and practices that we perform to design, implement, deliver, and manage the IT services. These services are asked by an organization to meet its IT needs. It is to make sure that the proper combination of technology, people, and processes are in the right place to provide the value.

When we talk about IT services, this is any bit of technology that we use at our workplace like laptops, all the applications in the laptop, and the network that we operate on in the office. Well, employees of the company think of ITSM as just the IT support and day-to-day issues. It goes way beyond that as the IT team manages all the end-to-end services. They do not do it all on their own, as they cannot. They use some ITSM approach or tool to manage all these IT services. When we talk about those approaches, SRE is one of them and a popular one right now.

What is SRE?

It is the time when the world has shifted entirely on the internet. Cloud computing, websites, cloud-based applications have become a need of every business right now.  It is the same for everything online, from e-commerce to global banks. Our way of managing systems and workloads have changed a lot. SRE is one of the approaches that we are using right now. The combination of all the practices and activities we perform to maintain the infrastructure and to ensure the workload's availability that we run on these infrastructures is called Site Reliability Engineering (SRE).  This approach introduces software principles to the problems of operations and infrastructure. It is like asking a software engineer to design the operation functions.

SRE Approach in ITSM

As we know, ITSM has multiple approaches, and SRE is one of them. It is a methodology that makes sure that all the cloud-enables infrastructures, solutions, and services are in operation continuously. It combines two very important fields, engineering, and information technology. SRE is one of the latest approaches in ITSM.

SRE promotes collaboration as site reliability engineers do collaborate with other professionals and business clients to come up with better solutions. In the SRE approach, we get the indicators whenever we need to take the actions. These indicators come from SLI (service level indicators) and SLO (service level objectives). With SRE techniques, we can measure risk and it also helps in feature development. As SRE has a software-based approach, it aims to automate all the tasks that need an operator to run these tasks. Site reliability engineers have a thorough understanding of the systems, which helps them discover the problems as early as possible. It reduces the cost of failure. SRE's one of the goals is to solve problems between SRE teams and Development teams. So, both work together on all the problems and that brings up teamwork between them.

ITIL Approach in ITSM

Just like SRE, ITIL is another approach to ITSM. ITIL is originally a framework. This framework is consisted of some of the best practices to ensure the efficient and cost-effective delivery of IT services and its management. As we know, ITSM is the process that helps organizations in achieving their objectives and goal by just telling them how to mix technology, people, and processes. Whereas ITIL is the process that helps organizations in managing and delivering IT services in the best way possible. If an organization wants to embrace the transformation and latest technology, they have to implement ITIL in their organization.

It has been almost 5 decades since the inception of ITIL, and it has evolved a lot in those years. ITIL has four versions, and the latest one is called ITIL4. The ITIL foundation offers different types of ITIL certification training distributed in regards to the level of expertise. It starts from the foundation level and then goes on to the practitioner level, intermediate level, expert level, and the master level.

Which one is better? ITIL or SRE

ITIL and SRE both come under the umbrella of IT service management. Both of these approaches are a little different than each other. But to decide which one is better is a difficult one. Let's look at both of them and try to find out which one is better when it comes to IT service management.

Let's discuss some points and compare both of these approaches.

  • ITIL is simply a framework that was designed to deliver and manage IT services efficiently. On the other hand, SRE is a methodology. which is there to make sure that all the cloud-based solutions and services keep working uninterruptedly.
  • When we talk about scope, both ITIL and SRE have a bright future ahead. SRE is the most recent approach of ITSM, so it has all the latest techniques in it. On the other hand, ITIL has just got its 4th version released which also has the latest techniques, and it is not that much behind SRE.
  • There is one important thing according to the future perspective, that is DevOps and Agile. When we talk about DevOps and Agile, both ITIL4 and SRE are well settled with them. But here SRE has the edge, as it promotes collaboration from the very start and we know DevOps is all about teams working together, finding better solutions to the problems.

All and all both of these approaches are kind of similar in the approaches but still are a little different when it comes to their way of working. Deciding one from these two will depend on the objective you have in mind. If you want to adopt DevOps for your organization, you should go for SRE. Otherwise, ITIL is not far behind SRE. IT professionals are attracted to both of these because they know the future belongs to ITSM.