Create your GitLab Dedicated instance

Tier: Ultimate Offering: GitLab Dedicated

The instructions on this page guide you through the onboarding and initial setup of your GitLab Dedicated instance using Switchboard, the GitLab Dedicated portal.

Step 1: Get access to Switchboard

Your GitLab Dedicated instance will be set up using Switchboard. To gain access to Switchboard, provide the following information to your account team:

  • Expected number of users.
  • Initial storage size for your repositories in GB.
  • Email addresses of the users who are responsible to complete the onboarding and create your GitLab Dedicated instance.
  • Whether you want to bring your own encryption keys (BYOK). If so, GitLab provides an AWS account ID, which is necessary to enable BYOK.
  • Whether you want to use Geo migration for inbound migration of your Dedicated instance.

If you’ve been granted access to Switchboard, you will receive an email invitation with temporary credentials to sign in.

The credentials for Switchboard are separate from any other GitLab credentials you may already have to sign in to a GitLab self-managed or instance.

If you sign in to Switchboard through a VPN, you may experience a 403 Forbidden error. The workaround is to sign in directly rather than through a VPN.

After you first sign in to Switchboard, you must update your password and set up MFA before you can complete your onboarding to create a new instance.

Encrypted Data At Rest (BYOK)

To enable BYOK, you must do it before onboarding.

You can opt to encrypt your GitLab data at rest with AWS KMS keys, which must be made accessible to GitLab Dedicated infrastructure. Due to key rotation requirements, GitLab Dedicated only supports keys with AWS-managed key material (the AWS_KMS origin type).

In GitLab Dedicated, you can use KMS keys in two ways:

  • One KMS key for all services
  • Per-service KMS keys (Backup, EBS, RDS, S3)
    • Keys do not need to be unique to each service.
    • All services must be encrypted at rest.
    • Selective enablement of this feature is not supported.
    • Keys do not need to be unique to each service.

Create KMS keys in AWS

After you have received the AWS account ID, create your KMS keys using the AWS Console:

  1. In Configure key, select:
    1. Key type: Symmetrical
    2. Key usage: Encrypt and decrypt
    3. Advanced options:
      1. Key material origin: KMS
      2. Regionality: Multi-Region key
  2. Enter your values for key alias, description, and tags.
  3. Select key administrators.
  4. Optional. Allow or prevent key administrators from deleting the key.
  5. On the Define key usage permissions page, under Other AWS accounts, add the GitLab AWS account.

The last page asks you to confirm the KMS key policy. It should look similar to the following example, populated with your account IDs and usernames:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Id": "byok-key-policy",
    "Statement": [
            "Sid": "Enable IAM User Permissions",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": {
                "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::<CUSTOMER-ACCOUNT-ID>:root"
            "Action": "kms:*",
            "Resource": "*"
            "Sid": "Allow access for Key Administrators",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": {
                "AWS": [
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "*"
            "Sid": "Allow use of the key",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": {
                "AWS": [
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "*"
            "Sid": "Allow attachment of persistent resources",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": {
                "AWS": [
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "*"

For more information on how to create and manage KMS keys, see the AWS KMS documentation.

After you have created the keys, send GitLab the corresponding ARNs of each key so that GitLab can use to encrypt the data stored in your Dedicated instance.

Make sure the AWS KMS keys are replicated to your desired primary, secondary and backup region specified during onboarding.

Step 2: Create your GitLab Dedicated instance

Once signed in to Switchboard, you will need to go through a series of four steps to provide the information required to create your GitLab Dedicated instance.

  1. Confirm account details: Confirm key attributes of your GitLab Dedicated account:
    • Reference architecture: Corresponds with the number of users you provided to your account team when beginning the onboarding process. For more information, see reference architectures.
    • Total repository storage size: Corresponds with the storage size you provided to your account team when beginning the onboarding process.
    • If you need to make changes to these attributes, submit a support ticket.
  2. Tenant configuration: Provides the minimum required information needed to create your GitLab Dedicated instance:
    • Desired instance subdomain: The main domain for GitLab Dedicated instances is You choose the subdomain name where your instance is accessible from. For example,
    • Desired primary region: Primary AWS region in which your data is stored. Note the available AWS regions.
    • Desired secondary region: Secondary AWS region in which your data is stored. This region is used to recover your GitLab Dedicated instance in case of a disaster.
    • Desired backup region: An AWS region where the primary backups of your data are replicated. This can be the same as the primary or secondary region, or different.
    • Desired maintenance window: A weekly four-hour time slot that GitLab uses to perform routine maintenance and upgrade operations on all tenant instances. For more information, see maintenance windows.
  3. Security: You can provide your own KMS keys for encrypted AWS services. If you choose not to provide KMS keys, encryption keys are generated for your instance when it is created. For more information, see encrypting your data at rest.
  4. Summary: You confirm that the information you’ve provided in the previous steps is accurate before initiating the creation of your instance.
Some configuration settings (like the option to bring your own keys and your tenant name) are permanent and cannot be changed once your instance has been created.

It can take up to 3 hours to create the GitLab Dedicated instance. When the setup is complete, you will receive a confirmation email with further instructions on how to access your instance.

Step 3: Configure your GitLab Dedicated instance

Once your GitLab Dedicated instance is created, follow our recommendations on:

Also plan ahead if you need the following features:

Things to know

Maintenance window

Available scheduled maintenance windows, performed outside standard working hours:

  • APAC: Wednesday 1 PM - 5 PM UTC
  • EMEA: Tuesday 1 AM - 5 AM UTC
  • AMER Option 1: Tuesday 7 AM - 11 AM UTC
  • AMER Option 2: Sunday 9 PM - Monday 1 AM UTC

Consider the following notes:

  • The Dedicated instance is not expected to be down the entire duration of the maintenance window. Occasionally, a small period of downtime (on the order of a few tens of seconds) can occur while compute resources restart after they are upgraded. If it occurs, this small period of downtime typically happens during the first half of the maintenance window. Long-running connections may be interrupted during this period. To mitigate this, clients should implement strategies like automatic recovery and retry. Longer periods of downtime during the maintenance window are rare, and GitLab provides notice if longer downtime is anticipated.
  • In case of a performance degradation or downtime during the scheduled maintenance window, the impact to the system SLA is not counted.
  • The weekly scheduled maintenance window can be postponed into another window within the same week. This option needs to be agreed with the assigned Customer Success Manager at least one week in advance.
  • The scheduled weekly maintenance window is different from emergency maintenance.

GitLab release rollout schedule

GitLab Dedicated tenant instances are upgraded to the minor GitLab release within the pre-selected window using the scheduled described below.

Where T is the date of a minor GitLab release N. GitLab Dedicated instances are upgraded to the N-1 release as follows:

  1. At T+5 calendar days: Tenant instances in the EMEA and AMER Option 1 maintenance window are upgraded.
  2. At T+6 calendar days: Tenant instances in the APAC maintenance window are upgraded.
  3. At T+10 calendar days: Tenant instances in the AMER Option 2 maintenance window are upgraded.

For example, GitLab 16.9 released on 2024-02-15. Therefore, tenant instances in the EMEA and AMER Option 1 maintenance window are upgraded to 16.8 on 2024-02-20.

Emergency maintenance

In an event of a platform outage, degradation or a security event requiring urgent action, emergency maintenance will be carried out per the emergency change processes.

The emergency maintenance is initiated when urgent actions need to be executed by GitLab on a Dedicated tenant instance. Communication with the customer will be provided on best effort basis prior to commencing the maintenance, and full communication will follow after the immediate action is carried out. The GitLab Support Team will create a new ticket and send a message to the email addresses of the users listed in Switchboard during onboarding.

For example, when a critical security process is initiated to address an S1 vulnerability in GitLab, emergency maintenance is carried out to upgrade GitLab to the non-vulnerable version and that can occur outside of a scheduled maintenance window. Postponing emergency maintenance is not possible, because the same process must be applied to all existing Dedicated customers, and the primary concern is to ensure safety and availability of Dedicated tenant instances.