Pipelines for the GitLab project

Pipelines for gitlab-org/gitlab and gitlab-org/gitlab-foss (as well as the dev instance’s mirrors) are configured in the usual .gitlab-ci.yml which itself includes files under .gitlab/ci/ for easier maintenance.

We’re striving to dogfood GitLab CI/CD features and best-practices as much as possible.

Overview

Pipelines for the GitLab project are created using the workflow:rules keyword feature of the GitLab CI/CD.

Pipelines are always created for the following scenarios:

  • main branch, including on schedules, pushes, merges, and so on.
  • Merge requests.
  • Tags.
  • Stable, auto-deploy, and security branches.

Pipeline creation is also affected by the following CI/CD variables:

  • If $FORCE_GITLAB_CI is set, pipelines are created.
  • If $GITLAB_INTERNAL is not set, pipelines are not created.

No pipeline is created in any other cases (for example, when pushing a branch with no MR for it).

The source of truth for these workflow rules is defined in .gitlab-ci.yml.

Pipelines for Merge Requests

In general, pipelines for an MR fall into one or more of the following types, depending on the changes made in the MR:

We use the rules: and needs: keywords extensively to determine the jobs that need to be run in a pipeline. Note that an MR that includes multiple types of changes would have a pipelines that include jobs from multiple types (for example, a combination of docs-only and code-only pipelines).

Documentation only MR pipeline

Reference pipeline:

graph LR subgraph "No needed jobs"; 1-1["danger-review (2.3 minutes)"]; click 1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8100542&udv=0" 1-2["docs-lint markdown (1.5 minutes)"]; click 1-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=10224335&udv=0" 1-3["docs-lint links (5 minutes)"]; click 1-3 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356757&udv=0" 1-4["ui-docs-links lint (2.5 minutes)"]; click 1-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=10823717&udv=1020379" end

Code-only MR pipeline

Reference pipeline

graph RL; classDef criticalPath fill:#f66; subgraph "No needed jobs"; 1-1["danger-review (2.3 minutes)"]; click 1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8100542&udv=0" 1-2["build-qa-image (2 minutes)"]; click 1-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914325&udv=0" 1-3["compile-test-assets (6 minutes)"]; click 1-3 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914317&udv=0" 1-4["compile-test-assets as-if-foss (7 minutes)"]; click 1-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356616&udv=0" 1-5["compile-production-assets (14 minutes)"]; click 1-5 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914312&udv=0" 1-6["setup-test-env (4 minutes)"]; click 1-6 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914315&udv=0" 1-7["review-delete-deployment"]; 1-8["dependency_scanning"]; 1-9["qa:internal, qa:internal-as-if-foss"]; 1-11["qa:selectors, qa:selectors-as-if-foss"]; 1-14["retrieve-tests-metadata (1 minutes)"]; click 1-14 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356697&udv=0" 1-15["code_quality"]; 1-16["brakeman-sast"]; 1-17["eslint-sast"]; 1-18["kubesec-sast"]; 1-19["nodejs-scan-sast"]; 1-20["secrets-sast"]; 1-21["static-analysis (14 minutes)"]; click 1-21 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914471&udv=0" class 1-3 criticalPath; class 1-6 criticalPath; end 2_1-1["graphql-verify (2.3 minutes)"]; click 2_1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356715&udv=0" 2_1-2["memory-static (4.75 minutes)"]; click 2_1-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356721&udv=0" 2_1-3["run-dev-fixtures (3 minutes)"]; click 2_1-3 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356729&udv=0" 2_1-4["run-dev-fixtures-ee (4 minutes)"]; click 2_1-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356731&udv=0" subgraph "Needs `setup-test-env`"; 2_1-1 & 2_1-2 & 2_1-3 & 2_1-4 --> 1-6; end 2_2-2["rspec frontend_fixture/rspec-ee frontend_fixture (7 minutes)"]; class 2_2-2 criticalPath; click 2_2-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=7910143&udv=0" 2_2-4["memory-on-boot (3.5 minutes)"]; click 2_2-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356727&udv=0" 2_2-5["webpack-dev-server (4 minutes)"]; click 2_2-5 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8404303&udv=0" subgraph "Needs `setup-test-env` & `compile-test-assets`"; 2_2-2 & 2_2-4 & 2_2-5 --> 1-6 & 1-3; end 2_3-1["build-assets-image (1.6 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `compile-production-assets`"; 2_3-1 --> 1-5 end 2_4-1["package-and-qa (manual)"]; subgraph "Needs `build-qa-image`"; 2_4-1 --> 1-2; click 2_4-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914305&udv=0" end 2_5-1["rspec & db jobs (12-22 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `compile-test-assets`, `setup-test-env`, & `retrieve-tests-metadata`"; 2_5-1 --> 1-3 & 1-6 & 1-14; class 2_5-1 criticalPath; click 2_5-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations" end 3_1-1["jest (14.5 minutes)"]; class 3_1-1 criticalPath; click 3_1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914204&udv=0" subgraph "Needs `rspec frontend_fixture/rspec-ee frontend_fixture`"; 3_1-1 --> 2_2-2; end 3_2-1["rspec:coverage (4 minutes)"]; subgraph "Depends on `rspec` jobs"; 3_2-1 -.->|"(don't use needs because of limitations)"| 2_5-1; click 3_2-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=7248745&udv=0" end 4_1-1["coverage-frontend (2 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `jest`"; 4_1-1 --> 3_1-1; class 4_1-1 criticalPath; click 4_1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=7910777&udv=0" end

Frontend-only MR pipeline

Reference pipeline:

graph RL; classDef criticalPath fill:#f66; subgraph "No needed jobs"; 1-1["danger-review (2.3 minutes)"]; click 1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8100542&udv=0" 1-2["build-qa-image (2 minutes)"]; click 1-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914325&udv=0" 1-3["compile-test-assets (6 minutes)"]; click 1-3 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914317&udv=0" 1-4["compile-test-assets as-if-foss (7 minutes)"]; click 1-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356616&udv=0" 1-5["compile-production-assets (14 minutes)"]; click 1-5 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914312&udv=0" 1-6["setup-test-env (4 minutes)"]; click 1-6 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914315&udv=0" 1-7["review-stop-failed-deployment"]; 1-8["dependency_scanning"]; 1-9["qa:internal, qa:internal-as-if-foss"]; 1-11["qa:selectors, qa:selectors-as-if-foss"]; 1-14["retrieve-tests-metadata (1 minutes)"]; click 1-14 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356697&udv=0" 1-15["code_quality"]; 1-16["brakeman-sast"]; 1-17["eslint-sast"]; 1-18["kubesec-sast"]; 1-19["nodejs-scan-sast"]; 1-20["secrets-sast"]; 1-21["static-analysis (14 minutes)"]; click 1-21 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914471&udv=0" class 1-3 criticalPath; class 1-5 criticalPath; class 1-6 criticalPath; end 2_1-1["graphql-verify (2.3 minutes)"]; click 2_1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356715&udv=0" 2_1-2["memory-static (4.75 minutes)"]; click 2_1-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356721&udv=0" 2_1-3["run-dev-fixtures (3 minutes)"]; click 2_1-3 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356729&udv=0" 2_1-4["run-dev-fixtures-ee (4 minutes)"]; click 2_1-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356731&udv=0" subgraph "Needs `setup-test-env`"; 2_1-1 & 2_1-2 & 2_1-3 & 2_1-4 --> 1-6; end 2_2-2["rspec frontend_fixture/rspec-ee frontend_fixture (7 minutes)"]; class 2_2-2 criticalPath; click 2_2-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=7910143&udv=0" 2_2-4["memory-on-boot (3.5 minutes)"]; click 2_2-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356727&udv=0" 2_2-5["webpack-dev-server (4 minutes)"]; click 2_2-5 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8404303&udv=0" subgraph "Needs `setup-test-env` & `compile-test-assets`"; 2_2-2 & 2_2-4 & 2_2-5 --> 1-6 & 1-3; end 2_3-1["build-assets-image (1.6 minutes)"]; class 2_3-1 criticalPath; subgraph "Needs `compile-production-assets`"; 2_3-1 --> 1-5 end 2_4-1["package-and-qa (manual)"]; subgraph "Needs `build-qa-image` & `build-assets-image`"; 2_4-1 --> 1-2 & 2_3-1; click 2_4-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914305&udv=0" end 2_5-1["rspec & db jobs (12-22 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `compile-test-assets`, `setup-test-env, & `retrieve-tests-metadata`"; 2_5-1 --> 1-3 & 1-6 & 1-14; class 2_5-1 criticalPath; click 2_5-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations" end 2_6-1["review-build-cng (27 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `build-assets-image`"; 2_6-1 --> 2_3-1; class 2_6-1 criticalPath; click 2_6-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914314&udv=0" end 3_1-1["jest (14.5 minutes)"]; class 3_1-1 criticalPath; click 3_1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914204&udv=0" subgraph "Needs `rspec frontend_fixture/rspec-ee frontend_fixture`"; 3_1-1 --> 2_2-2; end 3_2-1["rspec:coverage (4 minutes)"]; subgraph "Depends on `rspec` jobs"; 3_2-1 -.->|"(don't use needs because of limitations)"| 2_5-1; click 3_2-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=7248745&udv=0" end 4_1-1["coverage-frontend (2 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `jest`"; 4_1-1 --> 3_1-1; class 4_1-1 criticalPath; click 4_1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=7910777&udv=0" end 3_3-1["review-deploy (9 minutes)"]; subgraph "Played by `review-build-cng`"; 3_3-1 --> 2_6-1; class 3_3-1 criticalPath; click 3_3-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6721130&udv=0" end 4_2-1["review-qa-smoke (7.4 minutes)"]; click 4_2-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6729805&udv=0" 4_2-2["review-performance (2.5 minutes)"]; click 4_2-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356817&udv=0" subgraph "Played by `review-deploy`"; 4_2-1 & 4_2-2 --> 3_3-1; end

QA-only MR pipeline

Reference pipeline:

graph RL; classDef criticalPath fill:#f66; subgraph "No needed jobs"; 1-1["danger-review (2.3 minutes)"]; click 1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8100542&udv=0" 1-2["build-qa-image (2 minutes)"]; click 1-2 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914325&udv=0" 1-3["compile-test-assets (6 minutes)"]; click 1-3 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914317&udv=0" 1-4["compile-test-assets as-if-foss (7 minutes)"]; click 1-4 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356616&udv=0" 1-5["compile-production-assets (14 minutes)"]; click 1-5 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914312&udv=0" 1-6["setup-test-env (4 minutes)"]; click 1-6 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914315&udv=0" 1-7["review-stop-failed-deployment"]; 1-8["dependency_scanning"]; 1-9["qa:internal, qa:internal-as-if-foss"]; 1-11["qa:selectors, qa:selectors-as-if-foss"]; 1-14["retrieve-tests-metadata (1 minutes)"]; click 1-14 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356697&udv=0" 1-15["code_quality"]; 1-16["brakeman-sast"]; 1-17["eslint-sast"]; 1-18["kubesec-sast"]; 1-19["nodejs-scan-sast"]; 1-20["secrets-sast"]; 1-21["static-analysis (14 minutes)"]; click 1-21 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914471&udv=0" class 1-5 criticalPath; end 2_1-1["graphql-verify (2.3 minutes)"]; click 2_1-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=8356715&udv=0" subgraph "Needs `setup-test-env`"; 2_1-1 --> 1-6; end 2_3-1["build-assets-image (1.6 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `compile-production-assets`"; 2_3-1 --> 1-5 class 2_3-1 criticalPath; end 2_4-1["package-and-qa (113 minutes)"]; subgraph "Needs `build-qa-image` & `build-assets-image`"; 2_4-1 --> 1-2 & 2_3-1; class 2_4-1 criticalPath; click 2_4-1 "https://app.periscopedata.com/app/gitlab/652085/Engineering-Productivity---Pipeline-Build-Durations?widget=6914305&udv=0" end

Fail-fast pipeline in Merge Requests

To provide faster feedback when a Merge Request breaks existing tests, we are experimenting with a fail-fast mechanism.

An rspec fail-fast job is added in parallel to all other rspec jobs in a Merge Request pipeline. This job runs the tests that are directly related to the changes in the Merge Request.

If any of these tests fail, the rspec fail-fast job fails, triggering a fail-pipeline-early job to run. The fail-pipeline-early job:

  • Cancels the currently running pipeline and all in-progress jobs.
  • Sets pipeline to have status failed.

For example:

graph LR subgraph "prepare stage"; A["detect-tests"] end subgraph "test stage"; B["jest"]; C["rspec migration"]; D["rspec unit"]; E["rspec integration"]; F["rspec system"]; G["rspec fail-fast"]; end subgraph "post-test stage"; Z["fail-pipeline-early"]; end A --"artifact: list of test files"--> G G --"on failure"--> Z

A Merge Request author may choose to opt-out of the fail fast mechanism by doing one of the following:

  • Adding the pipeline:skip-rspec-fail-fast label to the merge request
  • Starting the dont-interrupt-me job found in the sync stage of a Merge Request pipeline.

The rspec fail-fast is a no-op if there are more than 10 test files related to the Merge Request. This prevents rspec fail-fast duration from exceeding the average rspec job duration and defeating its purpose.

This number can be overridden by setting a CI/CD variable named RSPEC_FAIL_FAST_TEST_FILE_COUNT_THRESHOLD.

note
This experiment is only enabled when the CI/CD variable RSPEC_FAIL_FAST_ENABLED=true is set.

The test files related to the Merge Request are determined using the test_file_finder gem. We are using a custom mapping between source file to test files, maintained in the tests.yml file.

RSpec minimal jobs

Before a merge request is approved, the pipeline will run a minimal set of RSpec tests that are related to the merge request changes. This is to reduce the pipeline cost and shorten the job duration.

To identify the minimal set of tests needed, we use Crystalball gem to create a test mapping. The test mapping contains a map of each source files to a list of test files which is dependent of the source file. This mapping is currently generated using a combination of test coverage tracing and a static mapping. In the detect-tests job, we use this mapping to identify the minimal tests needed for the current Merge Request.

After a merge request has been approved, the pipeline would contain the full RSpec tests. This will ensure that all tests have been run before a merge request is merged.

Jest minimal jobs

Before a merge request is approved, the pipeline will run a minimal set of Jest tests that are related to the merge request changes. This is to reduce the pipeline cost and shorten the job duration.

To identify the minimal set of tests needed, we pass a list of all the changed files into jest using the --findRelatedTests option. In this mode, jest would resolve all the dependencies of related to the changed files, which include test files that have these files in the dependency chain.

After a merge request has been approved, the pipeline would contain the full Jest tests. This will ensure that all tests have been run before a merge request is merged.

In addition, there are a few circumstances where we would always run the full Jest tests:

  • when package.json, yarn.lock, jest config changes
  • when vendored JavaScript is changed
  • when .graphql files are changed

PostgreSQL versions testing

Our test suite runs against PG12 as GitLab.com runs on PG12 and Omnibus defaults to PG12 for new installs and upgrades, Our test suite is currently running against PG11, since GitLab.com still runs on PG11.

We do run our test suite against PG11 on nightly scheduled pipelines as well as upon specific database library changes in MRs and main pipelines (with the rspec db-library-code pg11 job).

Current versions testing

Where? PostgreSQL version
MRs 12, 11 for DB library changes
main (non-scheduled pipelines) 12, 11 for DB library changes
2-hourly scheduled pipelines 12, 11 for DB library changes
nightly scheduled pipelines 12, 11

Long-term plan

We follow the PostgreSQL versions shipped with Omnibus GitLab:

PostgreSQL version 13.11 (April 2021) 13.12 (May 2021) 14.0 (June 2021?)
PG12 nightly MRs/2-hour/nightly MRs/2-hour/nightly
PG11 MRs/2-hour/nightly nightly nightly

Test jobs

Consult GitLab tests in the Continuous Integration (CI) context for more information.

We have dedicated jobs for each testing level and each job runs depending on the changes made in your merge request. If you want to force all the RSpec jobs to run regardless of your changes, you can add the pipeline:run-all-rspec label to the merge request.

Forcing all jobs on docs only related MRs would not have the prerequisite jobs and would lead to errors

Review app jobs

Consult the Review Apps dedicated page for more information.

As-if-FOSS jobs

The * as-if-foss jobs allows the GitLab test suite “as-if-FOSS”, meaning as if the jobs would run in the context of the gitlab-org/gitlab-foss project. These jobs are only created in the following cases:

  • gitlab-org/security/gitlab merge requests.
  • Merge requests with the pipeline:run-as-if-foss label
  • Merge requests that changes the CI configuration.

The * as-if-foss jobs are run in addition to the regular EE-context jobs. They have the FOSS_ONLY='1' variable set and get their EE-specific folders removed before the tests start running.

The intent is to ensure that a change doesn’t introduce a failure after the gitlab-org/gitlab project is synced to the gitlab-org/gitlab-foss project.

Performance

Interruptible pipelines

By default, all jobs are interruptible, except the dont-interrupt-me job which runs automatically on main, and is manual otherwise.

If you want a running pipeline to finish even if you push new commits to a merge request, be sure to start the dont-interrupt-me job before pushing.

Caching strategy

  1. All jobs must only pull caches by default.
  2. All jobs must be able to pass with an empty cache. In other words, caches are only there to speed up jobs.
  3. We currently have several different cache definitions defined in .gitlab/ci/global.gitlab-ci.yml, with fixed keys:
    • .setup-test-env-cache
    • .rails-cache
    • .static-analysis-cache
    • .coverage-cache
    • .danger-review-cache
    • .qa-cache
    • .yarn-cache
    • .assets-compile-cache (the key includes ${NODE_ENV} so it’s actually two different caches).
  4. These cache definitions are composed of multiple atomic caches.
  5. Only the following jobs, running in 2-hourly scheduled pipelines, are pushing (that is, updating) to the caches:
  6. These jobs can also be forced to run in merge requests with the pipeline:update-cache label (this can be useful to warm the caches in a MR that updates the cache keys).

Artifacts strategy

We limit the artifacts that are saved and retrieved by jobs to the minimum in order to reduce the upload/download time and costs, as well as the artifacts storage.

Pre-clone step

The gitlab-org/gitlab project on GitLab.com uses a pre-clone step to seed the project with a recent archive of the repository. This is done for several reasons:

  • It speeds up builds because a 800 MB download only takes seconds, as opposed to a full Git clone.
  • It significantly reduces load on the file server, as smaller deltas mean less time spent in git pack-objects.

The pre-clone step works by using the CI_PRE_CLONE_SCRIPT variable defined by GitLab.com shared runners.

The CI_PRE_CLONE_SCRIPT is currently defined as a project CI/CD variable:

(
  echo "Downloading archived master..."
  wget -O /tmp/gitlab.tar.gz https://storage.googleapis.com/gitlab-ci-git-repo-cache/project-278964/gitlab-master-shallow.tar.gz

  if [ ! -f /tmp/gitlab.tar.gz ]; then
      echo "Repository cache not available, cloning a new directory..."
      exit
  fi

  rm -rf $CI_PROJECT_DIR
  echo "Extracting tarball into $CI_PROJECT_DIR..."
  mkdir -p $CI_PROJECT_DIR
  cd $CI_PROJECT_DIR
  tar xzf /tmp/gitlab.tar.gz
  rm -f /tmp/gitlab.tar.gz
  chmod a+w $CI_PROJECT_DIR
)

The first step of the script downloads gitlab-master.tar.gz from Google Cloud Storage. There is a GitLab CI job named cache-repo that is responsible for keeping that archive up-to-date. Every two hours on a scheduled pipeline, it does the following:

  1. Creates a fresh clone of the gitlab-org/gitlab repository on GitLab.com.
  2. Saves the data as a .tar.gz.
  3. Uploads it into the Google Cloud Storage bucket.

When a CI job runs with this configuration, the output looks something like this:

$ eval "$CI_PRE_CLONE_SCRIPT"
Downloading archived master...
Extracting tarball into /builds/group/project...
Fetching changes...
Reinitialized existing Git repository in /builds/group/project/.git/

Note that the Reinitialized existing Git repository message shows that the pre-clone step worked. The runner runs git init, which overwrites the Git configuration with the appropriate settings to fetch from the GitLab repository.

CI_REPO_CACHE_CREDENTIALS contains the Google Cloud service account JSON for uploading to the gitlab-ci-git-repo-cache bucket. (If you’re a GitLab Team Member, find credentials in the GitLab shared 1Password account.

Note that this bucket should be located in the same continent as the runner, or you can incur network egress charges.

CI configuration internals

Stages

The current stages are:

  • sync: This stage is used to synchronize changes from gitlab-org/gitlab to gitlab-org/gitlab-foss.
  • prepare: This stage includes jobs that prepare artifacts that are needed by jobs in subsequent stages.
  • build-images: This stage includes jobs that prepare Docker images that are needed by jobs in subsequent stages or downstream pipelines.
  • fixtures: This stage includes jobs that prepare fixtures needed by frontend tests.
  • test: This stage includes most of the tests, DB/migration jobs, and static analysis jobs.
  • post-test: This stage includes jobs that build reports or gather data from the test stage’s jobs (for example, coverage, Knapsack metadata, and so on).
  • review-prepare: This stage includes a job that build the CNG images that are later used by the (Helm) Review App deployment (see Review Apps for details).
  • review: This stage includes jobs that deploy the GitLab and Docs Review Apps.
  • dast: This stage includes jobs that run a DAST full scan against the Review App that is deployed in stage review.
  • qa: This stage includes jobs that perform QA tasks against the Review App that is deployed in stage review.
  • post-qa: This stage includes jobs that build reports or gather data from the qa stage’s jobs (for example, Review App performance report).
  • pages: This stage includes a job that deploys the various reports as GitLab Pages (for example, coverage-ruby, and webpack-report (found at https://gitlab-org.gitlab.io/gitlab/webpack-report/, but there is an issue with the deployment).
  • notify: This stage includes jobs that notify various failures to Slack.

Default image

The default image is defined in .gitlab-ci.yml.

It includes Ruby, Go, Git, Git LFS, Chrome, Node, Yarn, PostgreSQL, and Graphics Magick.

The images used in our pipelines are configured in the gitlab-org/gitlab-build-images project, which is push-mirrored to gitlab/gitlab-build-images for redundancy.

The current version of the build images can be found in the “Used by GitLab section”.

Dependency Proxy

Some of the jobs are using images from Docker Hub, where we also use ${GITLAB_DEPENDENCY_PROXY} as a prefix to the image path, so that we pull images from our Dependency Proxy.

${GITLAB_DEPENDENCY_PROXY} is a group CI/CD variable defined in gitlab-org as ${CI_DEPENDENCY_PROXY_GROUP_IMAGE_PREFIX}/. This means when we use an image defined as:

image: ${GITLAB_DEPENDENCY_PROXY}alpine:edge

Projects in the gitlab-org group pull from the Dependency Proxy, while forks that reside on any other personal namespaces or groups fall back to Docker Hub unless ${GITLAB_DEPENDENCY_PROXY} is also defined there.

Default variables

In addition to the predefined CI/CD variables, each pipeline includes default variables defined in .gitlab-ci.yml.

Common job definitions

Most of the jobs extend from a few CI definitions defined in .gitlab/ci/global.gitlab-ci.yml that are scoped to a single configuration keyword.

Job definitions Description
.default-retry Allows a job to retry upon unknown_failure, api_failure, runner_system_failure, job_execution_timeout, or stuck_or_timeout_failure.
.default-before_script Allows a job to use a default before_script definition suitable for Ruby/Rails tasks that may need a database running (for example, tests).
.setup-test-env-cache Allows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for setting up test environment for subsequent Ruby/Rails tasks.
.rails-cache Allows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for Ruby/Rails tasks.
.static-analysis-cache Allows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for static analysis tasks.
.coverage-cache Allows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for coverage tasks.
.qa-cache Allows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for QA tasks.
.yarn-cache Allows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for frontend jobs that do a yarn install.
.assets-compile-cache Allows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for frontend jobs that compile assets.
.use-pg11 Allows a job to run the postgres 11 and redis services (see .gitlab/ci/global.gitlab-ci.yml for the specific versions of the services).
.use-pg11-ee Same as .use-pg11 but also use an elasticsearch service (see .gitlab/ci/global.gitlab-ci.yml for the specific version of the service).
.use-pg12 Allows a job to use the postgres 12 and redis services (see .gitlab/ci/global.gitlab-ci.yml for the specific versions of the services).
.use-pg12-ee Same as .use-pg12 but also use an elasticsearch service (see .gitlab/ci/global.gitlab-ci.yml for the specific version of the service).
.use-kaniko Allows a job to use the kaniko tool to build Docker images.
.as-if-foss Simulate the FOSS project by setting the FOSS_ONLY='1' CI/CD variable.
.use-docker-in-docker Allows a job to use Docker in Docker.

rules, if: conditions and changes: patterns

We’re using the rules keyword extensively.

All rules definitions are defined in rules.gitlab-ci.yml, then included in individual jobs via extends.

The rules definitions are composed of if: conditions and changes: patterns, which are also defined in rules.gitlab-ci.yml and included in rules definitions via YAML anchors

if: conditions

if: conditions Description Notes
if-not-canonical-namespace Matches if the project isn’t in the canonical (gitlab-org/) or security (gitlab-org/security) namespace. Use to create a job for forks (by using when: on_success|manual), or not create a job for forks (by using when: never).
if-not-ee Matches if the project isn’t EE (that is, project name isn’t gitlab or gitlab-ee). Use to create a job only in the FOSS project (by using when: on_success|manual), or not create a job if the project is EE (by using when: never).
if-not-foss Matches if the project isn’t FOSS (that is, project name isn’t gitlab-foss, gitlab-ce, or gitlabhq). Use to create a job only in the EE project (by using when: on_success|manual), or not create a job if the project is FOSS (by using when: never).
if-default-refs Matches if the pipeline is for master, main, /^[\d-]+-stable(-ee)?$/ (stable branches), /^\d+-\d+-auto-deploy-\d+$/ (auto-deploy branches), /^security\// (security branches), merge requests, and tags. Note that jobs aren’t created for branches with this default configuration.
if-master-refs Matches if the current branch is master or main.  
if-master-push Matches if the current branch is master or main and pipeline source is push.  
if-master-schedule-2-hourly Matches if the current branch is master or main and pipeline runs on a 2-hourly schedule.  
if-master-schedule-nightly Matches if the current branch is master or main and pipeline runs on a nightly schedule.  
if-auto-deploy-branches Matches if the current branch is an auto-deploy one.  
if-master-or-tag Matches if the pipeline is for the master or main branch or for a tag.  
if-merge-request Matches if the pipeline is for a merge request.  
if-merge-request-title-as-if-foss Matches if the pipeline is for a merge request and the MR has label ~”pipeline:run-as-if-foss”  
if-merge-request-title-update-caches Matches if the pipeline is for a merge request and the MR has label ~”pipeline:update-cache”.  
if-merge-request-title-run-all-rspec Matches if the pipeline is for a merge request and the MR has label ~”pipeline:run-all-rspec”.  
if-security-merge-request Matches if the pipeline is for a security merge request.  
if-security-schedule Matches if the pipeline is for a security scheduled pipeline.  
if-nightly-master-schedule Matches if the pipeline is for a master scheduled pipeline with $NIGHTLY set.  
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-schedule Limits jobs creation to scheduled pipelines for the gitlab-org group on GitLab.com.  
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-master Limits jobs creation to the master or main branch for the gitlab-org group on GitLab.com.  
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-merge-request Limits jobs creation to merge requests for the gitlab-org group on GitLab.com.  
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-and-security-tag Limits job creation to tags for the gitlab-org and gitlab-org/security groups on GitLab.com.  
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-and-security-merge-request Limit jobs creation to merge requests for the gitlab-org and gitlab-org/security groups on GitLab.com.  
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-and-security-tag Limit jobs creation to tags for the gitlab-org and gitlab-org/security groups on GitLab.com.  
if-dot-com-ee-schedule Limits jobs to scheduled pipelines for the gitlab-org/gitlab project on GitLab.com.  
if-cache-credentials-schedule Limits jobs to scheduled pipelines with the $CI_REPO_CACHE_CREDENTIALS variable set.  
if-rspec-fail-fast-disabled Limits jobs to pipelines with $RSPEC_FAIL_FAST_ENABLED CI/CD variable not set to "true".  
if-rspec-fail-fast-skipped Matches if the pipeline is for a merge request and the MR has label ~”pipeline:skip-rspec-fail-fast”.  
if-security-pipeline-merge-result Matches if the pipeline is for a security merge request triggered by @gitlab-release-tools-bot.  

changes: patterns

changes: patterns Description
ci-patterns Only create job for CI configuration-related changes.
ci-build-images-patterns Only create job for CI configuration-related changes related to the build-images stage.
ci-review-patterns Only create job for CI configuration-related changes related to the review stage.
ci-qa-patterns Only create job for CI configuration-related changes related to the qa stage.
yaml-lint-patterns Only create job for YAML-related changes.
docs-patterns Only create job for docs-related changes.
frontend-dependency-patterns Only create job when frontend dependencies are updated (that is, package.json, and yarn.lock). changes.
frontend-patterns Only create job for frontend-related changes.
backend-patterns Only create job for backend-related changes.
db-patterns Only create job for DB-related changes.
backstage-patterns Only create job for backstage-related changes (that is, Danger, fixtures, RuboCop, specs).
code-patterns Only create job for code-related changes.
qa-patterns Only create job for QA-related changes.
code-backstage-patterns Combination of code-patterns and backstage-patterns.
code-qa-patterns Combination of code-patterns and qa-patterns.
code-backstage-qa-patterns Combination of code-patterns, backstage-patterns, and qa-patterns.

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