Lead Site Reliability Engineer

Job description

Location: London, UK

Salary: £80k to £140k

Ably is the world’s fastest Data Stream Network (DSN) spread over 14 data centers and 175+ points of presence. Each day we stream billions of realtime messages to millions of end-users for thousands of developers around the world. Some of the things our platform powers: HubSpot’s chat and collaboration products, live score updates for millions of Australian Open tennis fans, live transit updates for three million Chicagoans. Working at Ably means helping to build the infrastructure that will power and shape the future of the internet.

To see what life’s like at Ably, check out our careers page at www.ably.io/careers.

What we do

Ably’s engineering team is deeply technical, collectively bringing a wealth of experience and broad technology skills across infrastructure, security, distributed systems, and much more. The calibre of the code we produce is what excites and motivates us each day. If you enjoy solving hard distributed system problems that are mostly platform agnostic and theoretical in nature, then you'll love working at Ably.

In this role:

You will report to the VP Engineering and will have responsibility for all aspects of Ably’s infrastructure services. Together, these provide compute capacity, networking, and all ancillary services required to operate the core services and support the complete development cycle for all Ably products and services.

You will establish and lead a team of engineers to continue infrastructure development and undertake all infrastructure operations as the company expands.

You will be successful if you:

  • Have a deep technical understanding of how systems work top-to-bottom and are committed to continuing to advance that understanding

  • Enjoy getting your hands dirty, getting things done, and seeing your creations from inception through to production use by consumers’ apps

  • Understand the Site Reliability Engineering discipline (https://go.ably.io/what-is-sre)  and are excited by the idea of infrastructure-as-code and no manual maintenance of systems.

  • Can effectively mentor, guide and inspire a team of engineers

  • Care about technical excellence in your work and fitness for purpose in your code

  • Want to join a team that’s on a mission to provide the best possible service for our customers


Technical skills needed:

Ably’s is a cloud-native business with infrastructure that is almost wholly cloud-based, and we expect that to remain the case, at least in the near and medium term. Therefore, you must be intimately familiar with operations at scale on public cloud infrastructure, using the full range of functionality from the public cloud providers.

This is primarily a software development role; not a traditional DevOps or sysadmin role. Ably’s infrastructure operations are based currently on internally-developed software for deployment and orchestration, instance management and health monitoring, plus administration of the multiple ancillary systems used to operate the service. Therefore, you need to be a developer first, and have an established record of software development in production systems.

As with all of our developer roles, we strongly prefer candidates that have a track record of working with open source, either with their own projects or contributions to community projects.

Much of our existing infrastructure management code is written in Ruby and Go. We do need to see Ruby (not Rails) experience, even if not as a main language, and Go is very advantageous.

Our infrastructure runs in the public AWS cloud and therefore we need to see in-depth experience of operating production systems in the public cloud, and a detailed understanding of the full range of cloud services we use.

We expect this individual to be very strong technically in Linux systems administration and networking.

As a team lead, we expect you to grow, mentor, lead and inspire a team of SREs, so team leadership experience is important.

Nice to have skills:

  • Containerisation, Docker;

  • Orchestration with Kubernetes or similar frameworks;

  • Go, Node.js and Bash;

  • Cassandra;

  • Our team are active open source contributors and are encouraged to do this as part of their role at Ably.  We like new team members who enjoy contributing back to the open source community, even if those contributions are small.

  • Good grasp of Agile, Kanban and SCRUM.

What’s it like to work at Ably?

Founded by two engineers who spotted a hard and largely unsolved problem, Ably is, at its heart, an engineering company. To provide the infrastructure required for a high-bandwidth, always-connected world we hire engineers with a broad set of technical skills who are ready and capable of taking on challenging realtime engineering problems.

As a company and engineering team we’re committed to a future internet that’s open and Ably’s engineers contribute to existing open source projects. See https://go.ably.io/open 

We want to work in a company of inclusive people who treat each other well. We’re building a company with a diverse set of people who value:

  • Ownership and impact of work. You have real autonomy and ownership over your work with a visible impact inside Ably, and externally on products powered by Ably that you use in your daily life.

  • An environment to thrive. Modern, comfy office in the heart of Camden. Excellent transport links, Camden Food Market with over 100 food stalls and restaurants, and multiple work spaces to match your working style.

  • Truly flexible working and not just lip service. Come into the office, work at home, or rock up at your local coffee shop at the hours you focus best.

  • Work is varied and challenging as we’re solving hard, complex problems that push the limits of what’s possible with today’s software and infrastructure.


  • Health insurance

  • Gym membership

  • Regular company away days and social events

  • Weekly team breakfast or lunch

  • Free drinks and snacks in the office

  • Ongoing professional development (training, events, conferences)

  • 25 days of paid annual leave (33 days including bank holidays)

  • Company contributions towards your pension

  • Your choice of high quality tech kit to work on

Ably has a culture that values employee freedom and responsibility. Apply to talk to us to see if this role on an impactful and collaborative team is right for you.