Supported Geo data types

A Geo data type is a specific class of data that is required by one or more GitLab features to store relevant information.

To replicate data produced by these features with Geo, we use several strategies to access, transfer, and verify them.

Data types

We distinguish between three different data types:

See the list below of each feature or component we replicate, its corresponding data type, replication, and verification methods:

Type Feature / component Replication method Verification method
Database Application data in PostgreSQL Native Native
Database Redis N/A (1) N/A
Database Elasticsearch Native Native
Database SSH public keys PostgreSQL Replication PostgreSQL Replication
Git Project repository Geo with Gitaly Gitaly Checksum
Git Project wiki repository Geo with Gitaly Gitaly Checksum
Git Project designs repository Geo with Gitaly Gitaly Checksum
Git Project Snippets Geo with Gitaly Gitaly Checksum
Git Personal Snippets Geo with Gitaly Gitaly Checksum
Git Group wiki repository Geo with Gitaly Not implemented
Blobs User uploads (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs User uploads (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs LFS objects (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs LFS objects (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs CI job artifacts (file system) Geo with API Not implemented
Blobs CI job artifacts (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs Archived CI build traces (file system) Geo with API Not implemented
Blobs Archived CI build traces (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs Container registry (file system) Geo with API/Docker API Not implemented
Blobs Container registry (object storage) Geo with API/Managed/Docker API (2) Not implemented
Blobs Package registry (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs Package registry (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs Infrastructure registry (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs Infrastructure registry (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs Versioned Terraform State (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs Versioned Terraform State (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs External Merge Request Diffs (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs External Merge Request Diffs (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs Pipeline artifacts (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs Pipeline artifacts (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
Blobs Pages (file system) Geo with API SHA256 checksum
Blobs Pages (object storage) Geo with API/Managed (2) Not implemented
  • (1): Redis replication can be used as part of HA with Redis sentinel. It’s not used between Geo sites.
  • (2): Object storage replication can be performed by Geo or by your object storage provider/appliance native replication feature.

Git repositories

A GitLab instance can have one or more repository shards. Each shard has a Gitaly instance that is responsible for allowing access and operations on the locally stored Git repositories. It can run on a machine:

  • With a single disk.
  • With multiple disks mounted as a single mount-point (like with a RAID array).
  • Using LVM.

GitLab does not require a special file system and can work with:

  • NFS.
  • A mounted Storage Appliance (there may be performance limitations when using a remote file system).

Geo triggers garbage collection in Gitaly to deduplicate forked repositories on Geo secondary sites.

Communication is done via Gitaly’s own gRPC API, with three possible ways of synchronization:

  • Using regular Git clone/fetch from one Geo site to another (with special authentication).
  • Using repository snapshots (for when the first method fails or repository is corrupt).
  • Manual trigger from the Admin Area (a combination of both of the above).

Each project can have at most 3 different repositories:

  • A project repository, where the source code is stored.
  • A wiki repository, where the wiki content is stored.
  • A design repository, where design artifacts are indexed (assets are actually in LFS).

They all live in the same shard and share the same base name with a -wiki and -design suffix for Wiki and Design Repository cases.

Besides that, there are snippet repositories. They can be connected to a project or to some specific user. Both types are synced to a secondary site.

Blobs

GitLab stores files and blobs such as Issue attachments or LFS objects into either:

  • The file system in a specific location.
  • An Object Storage solution. Object Storage solutions can be:
    • Cloud based like Amazon S3 Google Cloud Storage.
    • Hosted by you (like MinIO).
    • A Storage Appliance that exposes an Object Storage-compatible API.

When using the file system store instead of Object Storage, use network mounted file systems to run GitLab when using more than one node.

With respect to replication and verification:

  • We transfer files and blobs using an internal API request.
  • With Object Storage, you can either:
    • Use a cloud provider replication functionality.
    • Have GitLab replicate it for you.

Database

GitLab relies on data stored in multiple databases, for different use-cases. PostgreSQL is the single point of truth for user-generated content in the Web interface, like issues content, comments as well as permissions and credentials.

PostgreSQL can also hold some level of cached data like HTML-rendered Markdown and cached merge-requests diff. This can also be configured to be offloaded to object storage.

We use PostgreSQL’s own replication functionality to replicate data from the primary to secondary sites.

We use Redis both as a cache store and to hold persistent data for our background jobs system. Because both use-cases have data that are exclusive to the same Geo site, we don’t replicate it between sites.

Elasticsearch is an optional database that for advanced searching capabilities. It can improve search in both source-code level, and user generated content in issues, merge requests, and discussions. Elasticsearch is not supported in Geo.

Limitations on replication/verification

The following table lists the GitLab features along with their replication and verification status on a secondary site.

You can keep track of the progress to implement the missing items in these epics/issues:

Replicated data types behind a feature flag

The replication for some data types is behind a corresponding feature flag:

Version history
  • They’re deployed behind a feature flag, enabled by default.
  • They’re enabled on GitLab.com.
  • They can’t be enabled or disabled per-project.
  • They are recommended for production use.
  • For GitLab self-managed instances, GitLab administrators can opt to disable them.

Enable or disable replication (for some data types)

Replication for some data types are released behind feature flags that are enabled by default. GitLab administrators with access to the GitLab Rails console can opt to disable it for your instance. You can find feature flag names of each of those data types in the notes column of the table below.

To disable, such as for package file replication:

Feature.disable(:geo_package_file_replication)

To enable, such as for package file replication:

Feature.enable(:geo_package_file_replication)
caution
Features not on this list, or with No in the Replicated column, are not replicated to a secondary site. Failing over without manually replicating data from those features causes the data to be lost. To use those features on a secondary site, or to execute a failover successfully, you must replicate their data using some other means.
Feature Replicated (added in GitLab version) Verified (added in GitLab version) Object Storage replication (see Geo with Object Storage) Notes
Application data in PostgreSQL Yes (10.2) Yes (10.2) No  
Project repository Yes (10.2) Yes (10.7) No  
Project wiki repository Yes (10.2) Yes (10.7) No  
Group wiki repository Yes (13.10) No No Behind feature flag geo_group_wiki_repository_replication, enabled by default.
Uploads Yes (10.2) Yes (14.6) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Replication is behind the feature flag geo_upload_replication, enabled by default. Verification was behind the feature flag geo_upload_verification, removed in 14.8.
LFS objects Yes (10.2) Yes (14.6) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). GitLab versions 11.11.x and 12.0.x are affected by a bug that prevents any new LFS objects from replicating.

Replication is behind the feature flag geo_lfs_object_replication, enabled by default. Verification was behind the feature flag geo_lfs_object_verification, removed in 14.7.
Personal snippets Yes (10.2) Yes (10.2) No  
Project snippets Yes (10.2) Yes (10.2) No  
CI job artifacts Yes (10.4) No Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Verified only manually using Integrity Check Rake Task on both sites and comparing the output between them. Job logs also verified on transfer.
CI Pipeline Artifacts Yes (13.11) Yes (13.11) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Persists additional artifacts after a pipeline completes.
Container Registry Yes (12.3) No No Disabled by default. See instructions to enable.
Content in object storage (beta) Yes (12.4) No No  
Infrastructure Registry Yes (14.0) Yes (14.0) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Behind feature flag geo_package_file_replication, enabled by default.
Project designs repository Yes (12.7) No No Designs also require replication of LFS objects and Uploads.
Package Registry Yes (13.2) Yes (13.10) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Behind feature flag geo_package_file_replication, enabled by default.
Versioned Terraform State Yes (13.5) Yes (13.12) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Replication is behind the feature flag geo_terraform_state_version_replication, enabled by default. Verification was behind the feature flag geo_terraform_state_version_verification, which was removed in 14.0.
External merge request diffs Yes (13.5) Yes (14.6) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Replication is behind the feature flag geo_merge_request_diff_replication, enabled by default. Verification was behind the feature flag geo_merge_request_diff_verification, removed in 14.7.
Versioned snippets Yes (13.7) Yes (14.2) No Verification was implemented behind the feature flag geo_snippet_repository_verification in 13.11, and the feature flag was removed in 14.2.
GitLab Pages Yes (14.3) Yes (14.6) Via Object Storage provider if supported. Native Geo support (Beta). Behind feature flag geo_pages_deployment_replication, enabled by default. Verification was behind the feature flag geo_pages_deployment_verification, removed in 14.7.
Server-side Git hooks Not planned No No Not planned because of current implementation complexity, low customer interest, and availability of alternatives to hooks.
Elasticsearch integration Not planned No No Not planned because further product discovery is required and Elasticsearch (ES) clusters can be rebuilt. Secondaries use the same ES cluster as the primary.
Dependency proxy images Not planned No No Blocked by Geo: Secondary Mimicry. Replication of this cache is not needed for disaster recovery purposes because it can be recreated from external sources.
Vulnerability Export Not planned No No Not planned because they are ephemeral and sensitive information. They can be regenerated on demand.

Limitation of verification for files in Object Storage

GitLab managed Object Storage replication support is in beta.

Locally stored files are verified but remote stored files are not.