Using the GitLab-Shell chart

The gitlab-shell sub-chart provides an SSH server configured for Git SSH access to GitLab.


This chart depends on access to the Workhorse services, either as part of the complete GitLab chart or provided as an external service reachable from the Kubernetes cluster this chart is deployed onto.

Design Choices

In order to easily support SSH replicas, and avoid using shared storage for the SSH authorized keys, we are using the SSH AuthorizedKeysCommand to authenticate against GitLab’s authorized keys endpoint. As a result, we don’t persist or update the AuthorizedKeys file within these pods.


The gitlab-shell chart is configured in two parts: external services, and chart settings. The port exposed through Ingress is configured with, and defaults to 22.

Installation command line options

Parameter Default Description
annotations   Pod annotations
config.loginGraceTime 120 Specifies amount of time athat the server will disconnect after if the user has not successfully logged in
config.maxStartups.full 100 SSHd refuse probability will increase linearly and all unauthenticated connection attempts would be refused when unauthenticated connections number will reach specified number
config.maxStartups.rate 30 SSHd will refuse connections with specified probability when there would be too many unauthenticated connections (optional)
config.maxStartups.start 10 SSHd will refuse connection attempts with some probability if there are currently more than the specified number of unauthenticated connections (optional)
deployment.livenessProbe.initialDelaySeconds 10 Delay before liveness probe is initiated
deployment.livenessProbe.periodSeconds 10 How often to perform the liveness probe
deployment.livenessProbe.timeoutSeconds 3 When the liveness probe times out
deployment.livenessProbe.successThreshold 1 Minimum consecutive successes for the liveness probe to be considered successful after having failed
deployment.livenessProbe.failureThreshold 3 Minimum consecutive failures for the liveness probe to be considered failed after having succeeded
enabled true Shell enable flag
extraContainers   List of extra containers to include
extraInitContainers   List of extra init containers to include
extraVolumeMounts   List of extra volumes mounts to do
extraVolumes   List of extra volumes to create
hpa.targetAverageValue 100m Set the autoscaling target value
image.pullPolicy Always Shell image pull policy
image.pullSecrets   Secrets for the image repository
image.repository Shell image repository
image.tag latest Shell image tag
init.image.repository   initContainer image
init.image.tag   initContainer image tag
replicaCount 1 Shell replicas
service.externalTrafficPolicy Cluster Shell service external traffic policy (Cluster or Local)
service.externalPort 22 Shell exposed port
service.internalPort 22 Shell internal port
service.nodePort   Sets shell nodePort if set gitlab-shell Shell service name
service.type ClusterIP Shell service type
service.loadBalancerIP   IP address to assign to LoadBalancer (if supported)
service.loadBalancerSourceRanges   List of IP CIDRs allowed access to LoadBalancer (if supported)
service.type ClusterIP Shell service type
tolerations [] Toleration labels for pod assignment
workhorse.serviceName unicorn Workhorse service name (by default, Workhorse is a part of the Unicorn Pods / Service)

Chart configuration examples


pullSecrets allows you to authenticate to a private registry to pull images for a pod.

Additional details about private registries and their authentication methods can be found in the Kubernetes documentation.

Below is an example use of pullSecrets:

  tag: latest
  pullPolicy: Always
  - name: my-secret-name
  - name: my-secondary-secret-name


tolerations allow you schedule pods on tainted worker nodes

Below is an example use of tolerations:

- key: "node_label"
  operator: "Equal"
  value: "true"
  effect: "NoSchedule"
- key: "node_label"
  operator: "Equal"
  value: "true"
  effect: "NoExecute"


annotations allows you to add annotations to the GitLab Shell pods.

Below is an example use of annotations

annotations: annotation-value

External Services

This chart should be attached the Workhorse service.


  serviceName: unicorn
  port: 8181
Name Type Default Description
host String   The hostname of the Workhorse server. This can be omitted in lieu of serviceName.
port Integer 8181 The port on which to connect to the Workhorse server.
serviceName String unicorn The name of the service which is operating the Workhorse server. By default, Workhorse is a part of the Unicorn Pods / Service. If this is present, and host is not, the chart will template the hostname of the service (and current .Release.Name) in place of the host value. This is convenient when using Workhorse as a part of the overall GitLab chart.

Chart Settings

The following values are used to configure the GitLab Shell Pods.


The name of the Kubernetes secret to grab the SSH host keys from. The keys in the secret must start with the key names ssh_host_ in order to be used by GitLab Shell.


GitLab Shell uses an Auth Token in its communication with Workhorse. Share the token with GitLab Shell and Workhorse using a shared Secret.

 secret: gitlab-shell-secret
 key: secret
Name Type Default Description
authToken.key String   The name of the key in the above secret that contains the auth token.
authToken.secret String   The name of the Kubernetes Secret to pull from.

LoadBalancer Service

If the service.type is set to LoadBalancer, you can optionally specify service.loadBalancerIP to create the LoadBalancer with a user-specified IP (if your cloud provider supports it).

You can also optionally specify a list of service.loadBalancerSourceRanges to restrict the CIDR ranges that can access the LoadBalancer (if your cloud provider supports it).

Additional information about the LoadBalancer service type can be found in the Kubernetes documentation

  type: LoadBalancer