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rejected -

This blueprint was surpassed by the infrastructure blueprint

Cells: Deployment Architecture

This section describes the existing deployment architecture of GitLab.com and contrasts it with the expected Cells architecture.

1. Before Cells - Monolithic architecture

The diagram represents simplified GitLab.com deployment components before the introduction of a Cells architecture. This diagram intentionally omits some services that are not relevant for the architecture overview (Cloudflare, Consul, PgBouncers, …). Those services are considered to be Cell-local, with the exception of Cloudflare.

The component blocks are:

  • Separate components that can be deployed independently.
  • Components that are independent from other components and offer a wide range of version compatibility.

The application layer services:

  • Are strongly interconnected and require to run the same version of the application. Read more in !131657.
  • Each service is run across many nodes and scaled horizontally to provide sufficient throughput.
  • Services that interact with other services using an API (REST, gRPC), Redis or DB.

The dependent services:

  • Are updated infrequently and selectively.
  • Might use cloud managed services.
  • Each service is clustered and might be run across different availability zones to provide high availability.
  • Object storage is also accessible directly to users if a pre-signed URL is provided.

2. Development Cells - Adapting application to Cellular architecture

The purpose of Development Cells is to model a production-like architecture to test and validate the changes introduced. This could be achieved with testing Cells on top of the Reference Architectures. Read more in #425197.

The differences compared to Before Cells are:

  • A Routing Service is developed by Cells.
  • Development Cells are meant to be run using a development environment only to allow prototyping of Cells without the overhead of managing all auxiliary services.
  • Development Cells represent a simplified GitLab.com architecture by focusing only on essential services required to be split.
  • Development Cells are not meant to be used in production.
  • Cluster-wide data sharing is done with a read-write connection to the main database of Cell 1: PostgreSQL main database, and Redis user-sessions database.

3. Initial Cells deployment - Transforming monolithic architecture to Cells architecture

The differences compared to Development Cells are:

  • A Cluster-wide Data Provider is introduced by Cells.
  • The Cluster-wide Data Provider is deployed with Cell 1 to be able to access cluster-wide data directly.
  • The Cluster-wide database is isolated from the main PostgreSQL database.
  • A Cluster-wide Data Provider is responsible for storing and sharing user data, user sessions (currently stored in Redis sessions cluster), routing information, and cluster-wide settings across all Cells.
  • Access to the cluster-wide database is done asynchronously:
    • Read access always uses a database replica.
    • A database replica might be deployed with the Cell.
    • Write access uses the dedicated Cluster-wide Data Provider service.
  • Additional Cells are deployed, upgraded and maintained via a GitLab Dedicated-like control plane.
  • Each Cell aims to run as many services as possible in isolation.
  • A Cell can run its own Gitaly cluster, or can use a shared Gitaly cluster, or both. Read more in !131657.
  • Shared Runners provided by GitLab are expected to be run locally on the Cell.
  • Infrastructure components might be shared across the cluster and be used by different Cells.
  • It is undefined whether Elasticsearch service would be better run cluster-wide or Cell-local.
  • Delay the decision how to scale the GitLab Pages - gitlab.io component.
  • Delay the decision how to scale the Registry - registry.gitlab.com component.

4. Hybrid Cells deployment - Initial complete Cells architecture

The differences compared to Initial Cells deployment are:

  • Removes coupling of Cell N to Cell 1.
  • The Cluster-wide Data Provider is isolated from Cell 1.
  • The cluster-wide databases (PostgreSQL, Redis) are moved to be run with the Cluster-wide Data Provider.
  • All application data access paths to cluster-wide data use the Cluster-wide Data Provider.
  • Some services are shared across Cells.

5. Target Cells - Fully isolated Cells architecture

The differences compared to Hybrid Cells deployment are:

Isolation of Services

Each service can be considered individually regarding its requirements, the risks associated with scaling the service, its location (cluster-wide or Cell-local), and impact on our ability to migrate data between Cells.

Cluster-wide services

Service Type Uses Description
Routing Service GitLab-built Cluster-wide Data Provider A general purpose routing service that can redirect requests from all GitLab SaaS domains to the Cell
Cluster-wide Data Provider GitLab-built PostgreSQL, Redis, Event Queue? Provide user profile and routing information to all clustered services

As per the architecture, the above services are required to be run cluster-wide:

  • Those are additional services that are introduced by the Cells architecture.

Cell-local services

Service Type Uses Migrate from cluster-wide to Cell Description
Redis Cluster Managed service Disk storage No problem Redis is used to hold user sessions, application caches, or Sidekiq queues. Most of that data is only applicable to Cells.
GitLab Runners Manager Managed service API, uses Google Cloud VM Instances No problem Significant changes required to API and execution of CI jobs

As per the architecture, the above services are required to be run Cell-local:

  • The consumer data held by the Cell-local services needs to be migratable to another Cell.
  • The compute generated by the service is substantial, and it is strongly desired to reduce impact of single Cell failure.
  • It is complex to run the service cluster-wide from the Cells architecture perspective.

Hybrid Services

Service Type Uses Migrate from cluster-wide to Cell Description
GitLab Pages GitLab-built Routing Service, Rails API No problem Serving CI generated pages under .gitlab.io or custom domains
GitLab Registry GitLab-built Object Storage, PostgreSQL Non-trivial data migration in case of split Service to provide GitLab container registry
Gitaly Cluster GitLab-built Disk storage, PostgreSQL No problem: Built-in migration routines to balance Gitaly nodes Gitaly holds Git repository data. Many Gitaly clusters can be configured in application.
Elasticsearch Managed service Many nodes required by sharding Time-consuming: Rebuild cluster from scratch Search across all projects
Object Storage Managed service   Not straightforward: Rather hard to selectively migrate between buckets Holds all user and CI uploaded files that is served by GitLab

As per the architecture, the above services are allowed to be run either cluster-wide or Cell-local:

  • The ability to run hybrid services cluster-wide might reduce the amount of work to migrate data between Cells due to some services being shared.
  • The hybrid services that are run cluster-wide might negatively impact Cell availability and resiliency due to increased impact caused by single Cell failure.
Service Type Uses Migrate from cluster-wide to Cell Description
Elasticsearch Managed service Many nodes requires by sharding Time-consuming: Rebuild cluster from scratch Search across all projects
Object Storage Managed service   Not straightforward: Rather hard to selectively migrate between buckets Holds all user and CI uploaded files that is served by GitLab

As per the architecture, the above services are allowed to be run either cluster-wide or Cell-local:

  • The ability to run above services cluster-wide might reduce the amount of work to migrate data between Cells due to some services being shared.
  • The hybrid services that are run cluster-wide might negatively impact Cell availability and resiliency due to increased impact caused by single Cell failure.