How Do I Determine My Error Budget?



Having an error budget is an important part of any software development or operations team. A good error budget helps teams make informed decisions about the level of availability and reliability that can be expected from their applications and services.


Steps for Determining Your Error Budget:

1) Establish your service level objectives (SLOs). SLOs are a specific set of performance objectives that must be met in order for the application or service to be considered reliable and available. They should include metrics such as uptime percentage, response times, etc., and are often expressed as targets like “99% uptime” or “95% page load time under 5 seconds”.

2) Calculate your acceptable error rate. This is the maximum percentage of errors that your application or service can have before it exceeds the SLOs that have been established. For example, if you had an SLO of 99% uptime, then the acceptable error rate would be 1%.

3) Calculate your threshold for alarm. This is the point at which your error rate exceeds the acceptable error rate and action must be taken to address any issues causing errors in your application or service. Typically, this is expressed as a percentage; if your threshold for alarm is 5%, it means that when 5% of requests fail, an alert should be triggered and appropriate measures should be taken to address the issue.


What Are The Benefits Of Calculating Your Error Budget?

By determining your error budget, you will be better equipped to ensure that your application or service meets the desired levels of availability and reliability. Knowing how much leeway you have in terms of errors allows you to better plan for issues that may arise before they become a problem. Having an error budget also gives teams the opportunity to experiment with new features without compromising their SLOs.


What Are The Risks Of Not Calculating Your Error Budget?

Not calculating your error budget can lead to unexpected outages and decreased user satisfaction. Without an understanding of how much leeway you have in terms of errors, teams may not be prepared for issues that arise or take the necessary steps to address them quickly. This can result in prolonged downtimes, which could damage a company’s reputation and decrease sales.



Determining an effective error budget is an important step in ensuring an application or service meets the desired performance objectives. By establishing SLOs, calculating an acceptable error rate, and setting a threshold for alarm, teams can ensure that any issues causing errors are addressed quickly and efficiently. Doing so will help maintain reliability and availability of the application or service over time.

In summary, determining your error budget involves: establishing your service level objectives (SLOs), calculating your acceptable error rate, and determining your threshold for alarm. With these steps in place, you can make informed decisions about performance and reliability while also keeping budgets on track.


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