Moving repositories managed by GitLab

You can move all repositories managed by GitLab to another file system or another server.

Moving data within a GitLab instance

The GitLab API is the recommended way to move Git repositories:

  • Between servers.
  • Between different storage.
  • From single-node Gitaly to Gitaly Cluster.

For more information, see:

Move Repositories

GitLab repositories can be associated with projects, groups, and snippets. Each of these types have a separate API to schedule the respective repositories to move. To move all repositories on a GitLab instance, each of these types must be scheduled to move for each storage.

caution
To move repositories into a Gitaly Cluster in GitLab versions 13.12 to 14.1, you must enable the gitaly_replicate_repository_direct_fetch feature flag.
caution
Repositories can be permanently deleted by a call to /projects/:project_id/repository_storage_moves that attempts to move a project already stored in a Gitaly Cluster back into that cluster. See this issue for more details.

Each repository is made read-only for the duration of the move. The repository is not writable until the move has completed.

To move repositories:

  1. Ensure all storages are accessible to the GitLab instance. In this example, these are <original_storage_name> and <cluster_storage_name>.
  2. Configure repository storage weights so that the new storages receives all new projects. This stops new projects from being created on existing storages while the migration is in progress.
  3. Schedule repository moves for:

Bulk schedule project moves

Use the API to schedule project moves:

  1. Schedule repository storage moves for all projects on a storage shard using the API. For example:

    curl --request POST --header "Private-Token: <your_access_token>" \
         --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
         --data '{"source_storage_name":"<original_storage_name>","destination_storage_name":"<cluster_storage_name>"}' \
         "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/project_repository_storage_moves"
    
  2. Query the most recent repository moves using the API. The response indicates either:
    • The moves have completed successfully. The state field is finished.
    • The moves are in progress. Re-query the repository move until it completes successfully.
    • The moves have failed. Most failures are temporary and are solved by rescheduling the move.
  3. After the moves are complete, use the API to query projects and confirm that all projects have moved. None of the projects should be returned with the repository_storage field set to the old storage. For example:

    curl --header "Private-Token: <your_access_token>" --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
    "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects?repository_storage=<original_storage_name>"
    

    Alternatively use the rails console to confirm that all projects have moved. Run the following in the rails console:

    ProjectRepository.for_repository_storage('<original_storage_name>')
    
  4. Repeat for each storage as required.

Bulk schedule snippet moves

Use the API to schedule snippet moves:

  1. Schedule repository storage moves for all snippets on a storage shard. For example:

    curl --request POST --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: <your_access_token>" \
         --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
         --data '{"source_storage_name":"<original_storage_name>","destination_storage_name":"<cluster_storage_name>"}' \
         "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/snippet_repository_storage_moves"
    
  2. Query the most recent repository moves The response indicates either:
    • The moves have completed successfully. The state field is finished.
    • The moves are in progress. Re-query the repository move until it completes successfully.
    • The moves have failed. Most failures are temporary and are solved by rescheduling the move.
  3. After the moves are complete, use the rails console to confirm that all snippets have moved. No snippets should be returned for the original storage. Run the following in the rails console:

    SnippetRepository.for_repository_storage('<original_storage_name>')
    
  4. Repeat for each storage as required.

Bulk schedule group moves

Use the API to schedule group moves:

  1. Schedule repository storage moves for all groups on a storage shard . For example:

     curl --request POST --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: <your_access_token>" \
          --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
          --data '{"source_storage_name":"<original_storage_name>","destination_storage_name":"<cluster_storage_name>"}' \
          "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/group_repository_storage_moves"
    
  2. Query the most recent repository moves . The response indicates either:
    • The moves have completed successfully. The state field is finished.
    • The moves are in progress. Re-query the repository move until it completes successfully.
    • The moves have failed. Most failures are temporary and are solved by rescheduling the move.
  3. After the moves are complete, use the rails console to confirm that all groups have moved. No groups should be returned for the original storage. Run the following in the rails console:

    GroupWikiRepository.for_repository_storage('<original_storage_name>')
    
  4. Repeat for each storage as required.

Migrating to another GitLab instance

Using the API isn’t an option if you are migrating to a new GitLab environment, for example:

  • From a single-node GitLab to a scaled-out architecture.
  • From a GitLab instance in your private data center to a cloud provider.

The rest of the document looks at some of the ways you can copy all your repositories from /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories to /mnt/gitlab/repositories.

We look at three scenarios:

  • The target directory is empty.
  • The target directory contains an outdated copy of the repositories.
  • How to deal with thousands of repositories.
caution
Each of the approaches we list can or does overwrite data in the target directory /mnt/gitlab/repositories. Do not mix up the source and the target.

The GitLab backup and restore capability should be used. Git repositories are accessed, managed, and stored on GitLab servers by Gitaly as a database. Data loss can result from directly accessing and copying Gitaly’s files using tools like rsync.

Target directory is empty: use a tar pipe

If the target directory /mnt/gitlab/repositories is empty the simplest thing to do is to use a tar pipe. This method has low overhead and tar is almost always already installed on your system. However, it is not possible to resume an interrupted tar pipe: if that happens then all data must be copied again.

sudo -u git sh -c 'tar -C /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories -cf - -- . |\
  tar -C /mnt/gitlab/repositories -xf -'

If you want to see progress, replace -xf with -xvf.

tar pipe to another server

You can also use a tar pipe to copy data to another server. If your git user has SSH access to the new server as git@newserver, you can pipe the data through SSH.

sudo -u git sh -c 'tar -C /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories -cf - -- . |\
  ssh git@newserver tar -C /mnt/gitlab/repositories -xf -'

If you want to compress the data before it goes over the network (which costs you CPU cycles) you can replace ssh with ssh -C.

The target directory contains an outdated copy of the repositories: use rsync

caution
Using rsync to migrate Git data can cause data loss and repository corruption. These instructions are being reviewed.

If the target directory already contains a partial / outdated copy of the repositories it may be wasteful to copy all the data again with tar. In this scenario it is better to use rsync. This utility is either already installed on your system, or installable by using apt or yum.

sudo -u git  sh -c 'rsync -a --delete /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories/. \
  /mnt/gitlab/repositories'

The /. in the command above is very important, without it you can get the wrong directory structure in the target directory. If you want to see progress, replace -a with -av.

Single rsync to another server

caution
Using rsync to migrate Git data can cause data loss and repository corruption. These instructions are being reviewed.

If the git user on your source system has SSH access to the target server you can send the repositories over the network with rsync.

sudo -u git sh -c 'rsync -a --delete /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories/. \
  git@newserver:/mnt/gitlab/repositories'

Thousands of Git repositories: use one rsync per repository

caution
Using rsync to migrate Git data can cause data loss and repository corruption. These instructions are being reviewed.

Every time you start an rsync job it must:

  • Inspect all files in the source directory.
  • Inspect all files in the target directory.
  • Decide whether or not to copy files.

If the source or target directory has many contents, this startup phase of rsync can become a burden for your GitLab server. You can reduce the workload of rsync by dividing its work in smaller pieces, and sync one repository at a time.

In addition to rsync we use GNU Parallel. This utility is not included in GitLab, so you must install it yourself with apt or yum.

This process does not clean up repositories at the target location that no longer exist at the source.

Parallel rsync for all repositories known to GitLab

caution
Using rsync to migrate Git data can cause data loss and repository corruption. These instructions are being reviewed.

This syncs repositories with 10 rsync processes at a time. We keep track of progress so that the transfer can be restarted if necessary.

First we create a new directory, owned by git, to hold transfer logs. We assume the directory is empty before we start the transfer procedure, and that we are the only ones writing files in it.

# Omnibus
sudo mkdir /var/opt/gitlab/transfer-logs
sudo chown git:git /var/opt/gitlab/transfer-logs

# Source
sudo -u git -H mkdir /home/git/transfer-logs

We seed the process with a list of the directories we want to copy.

# Omnibus
sudo -u git sh -c 'gitlab-rake gitlab:list_repos > /var/opt/gitlab/transfer-logs/all-repos-$(date +%s).txt'

# Source
cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H sh -c 'bundle exec rake gitlab:list_repos > /home/git/transfer-logs/all-repos-$(date +%s).txt'

Now we can start the transfer. The command below is idempotent, and the number of jobs done by GNU Parallel should converge to zero. If it does not, some repositories listed in all-repos-1234.txt may have been deleted/renamed before they could be copied.

# Omnibus
sudo -u git sh -c '
cat /var/opt/gitlab/transfer-logs/* | sort | uniq -u |\
  /usr/bin/env JOBS=10 \
  /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails/bin/parallel-rsync-repos \
    /var/opt/gitlab/transfer-logs/success-$(date +%s).log \
    /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories \
    /mnt/gitlab/repositories
'

# Source
cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H sh -c '
cat /home/git/transfer-logs/* | sort | uniq -u |\
  /usr/bin/env JOBS=10 \
  bin/parallel-rsync-repos \
    /home/git/transfer-logs/success-$(date +%s).log \
    /home/git/repositories \
    /mnt/gitlab/repositories
`

Parallel rsync only for repositories with recent activity

caution
Using rsync to migrate Git data can cause data loss and repository corruption. These instructions are being reviewed.

Suppose you have already done one sync that started after 2015-10-1 12:00 UTC. Then you might only want to sync repositories that were changed by using GitLab after that time. You can use the SINCE variable to tell rake gitlab:list_repos to only print repositories with recent activity.

# Omnibus
sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:list_repos SINCE='2015-10-1 12:00 UTC' |\
  sudo -u git \
  /usr/bin/env JOBS=10 \
  /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails/bin/parallel-rsync-repos \
    success-$(date +%s).log \
    /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories \
    /mnt/gitlab/repositories

# Source
cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:list_repos SINCE='2015-10-1 12:00 UTC' |\
  sudo -u git -H \
  /usr/bin/env JOBS=10 \
  bin/parallel-rsync-repos \
    success-$(date +%s).log \
    /home/git/repositories \
    /mnt/gitlab/repositories