Achieving SLO Success with Golden Signals and Reliability Testing

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a promise between you and your customers to provide reliable service. However, meeting those expectations isn’t always easy, especially as your services change. Fortunately, there’s a way to comprehensively measure the user experience of your services using your existing monitoring tool, and they’re called the four Golden Signals.

This white paper explains what the four Golden Signals are and how they fit into your SLOs and SLAs.

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About the Authors

Jordan Pritchard

Director of Infrastructure & Site Reliability Engineering

Michael Kehoe

Architect of reliable, scalable infrastructure

Rodney Lester

Technical Lead, Reliability Pillar of Well Architected Program

Tammy Butow

Principal SRE

Jay Holler

Manager, Site Reliability Engineering

Ramin Keene


In this white paper, we cover:

  • What the four Golden Signals are.
  • How to integrate the Golden Signals into your SLO practice.
  • How to use Golden Signals with Reliability Management to continually ensure compliance
  • Incident classification: SEV descriptions and levels, and SEV and time-to-detection (TTD) timelines

  • Organization-wide critical service monitoring, including key dashboards and KPI metrics emails

  • Service ownership and metrics for organizations maintaining a microservices architecture

  • Effective on-call principles for site reliability engineers, including rotation structure, alert threshold maintenance, and escalation practices

  • Chaos Engineering practices to identify random and unpredictable behavior in your system

  • Monitoring and metrics to detect incidents caused by self-healing systems

  • Creating a high-reliability culture by listening to people in your organization

The four Golden Signals are an easy and effective way to measure the most important aspects of a system.

When paired with a reliability management platform, they help you proactively meet your SLOs so you can meet your legal obligations and deliver the perfect customer experience.

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