Resource Group

Introduced in GitLab 12.7.

By default, pipelines in GitLab CI/CD run in parallel. The parallelization is an important factor to improve the feedback loop in merge requests, however, there are some situations that you may want to limit the concurrency on deployment jobs to run them one by one. Resource Group allows you to strategically control the concurrency of the jobs for optimizing your continuous deployments workflow with safety.

Add a resource group

Provided that you have the following pipeline configuration (.gitlab-ci.yml file in your repository):

build:
  stage: build
  script: echo "Your build script"

deploy:
  stage: deploy
  script: echo "Your deployment script"
  environment: production

Every time you push a new commit to a branch, it runs a new pipeline that has two jobs build and deploy. But if you push multiple commits in a short interval, multiple pipelines start running simultaneously, for example:

  • The first pipeline runs the jobs build -> deploy
  • The second pipeline runs the jobs build -> deploy

In this case, the deploy jobs across different pipelines could run concurrently to the production environment. Running multiple deployment scripts to the same infrastructure could harm/confuse the instance and leave it in a corrupted state in the worst case.

In order to ensure that a deploy job runs once at a time, you can specify resource_group keyword to the concurrency sensitive job:

deploy:
  ...
  resource_group: production

With this configuration, the safety on the deployments is assured while you can still run build jobs concurrently for maximizing the pipeline efficency.

Requirements

Limitations

Only one resource can be attached to a resource group.

Process modes

Version history

You can choose a process mode to strategically control the job concurrency for your deployment preferences. The following modes are supported:

  • Unordered: This is the default process mode that limits the concurrency on running jobs. It’s the easiest option to use and useful when you don’t care about the execution order of the jobs. It starts processing the jobs whenever a job ready to run.
  • Oldest first: This process mode limits the concurrency of the jobs. When a resource is free, it picks the first job from the list of upcoming jobs (created, scheduled, or waiting_for_resource state) that are sorted by pipeline ID in ascending order.

    This mode is useful when you want to ensure that the jobs are executed from the oldest pipeline. This is less efficient compared to the unordered mode in terms of the pipeline efficiency, but safer for continuous deployments.

  • Newest first: This process mode limits the concurrency of the jobs. When a resource is free, it picks the first job from the list of upcoming jobs (created, scheduled or waiting_for_resource state) that are sorted by pipeline ID in descending order.

    This mode is useful when you want to ensure that the jobs are executed from the newest pipeline and cancel all of the old deploy jobs with the skip outdated deployment jobs feature. This is the most efficient option in terms of the pipeline efficiency, but you must ensure that each deployment job is idempotent.

Change the process mode

To change the process mode of a resource group, you need to use the API and send a request to edit an existing resource group by specifying the process_mode:

  • unordered
  • oldest_first
  • newest_first

An example of difference between the process modes

Consider the following .gitlab-ci.yml, where we have two jobs build and deploy each running in their own stage, and the deploy job has a resource group set to production:

build:
  stage: build
  script: echo "Your build script"

deploy:
  stage: deploy
  script: echo "Your deployment script"
  environment: production
  resource_group: production

If three commits are pushed to the project in a short interval, that means that three pipelines run almost at the same time:

  • The first pipeline runs the jobs build -> deploy. Let’s call this deployment job deploy-1.
  • The second pipeline runs the jobs build -> deploy. Let’s call this deployment job deploy-2.
  • The third pipeline runs the jobs build -> deploy. Let’s call this deployment job deploy-3.

Depending on the process mode of the resource group:

  • If the process mode is set to unordered:
    • deploy-1, deploy-2, and deploy-3 do not run in parallel.
    • There is no guarantee on the job execution order, for example, deploy-1 could run before or after deploy-3 runs.
  • If the process mode is oldest_first:
    • deploy-1, deploy-2, and deploy-3 do not run in parallel.
    • deploy-1 runs first, deploy-2 runs second, and deploy-3 runs last.
  • If the process mode is newest_first:
    • deploy-1, deploy-2, and deploy-3 do not run in parallel.
    • deploy-3 runs first, deploy-2 runs second and deploy-1 runs last.

Pipeline-level concurrency control with Cross-Project/Parent-Child pipelines

See the how to control the pipeline concurrency in cross-project pipelines.

API

See the API documentation.

Read more how you can use GitLab for safe deployments.

Troubleshooting

Avoid dead locks in pipeline configurations

Since oldest_first process mode enforces the jobs to be executed in a pipeline order, there is a case that it doesn’t work well with the other CI features.

For example, when you run a child pipeline that requires the same resource group with the parent pipeline, a dead lock could happen. Here is an example of a bad setup:

# BAD
test:
  stage: test
  trigger:
    include: child-pipeline-requires-production-resource-group.yml
    strategy: depend

deploy:
  stage: deploy
  script: echo
  resource_group: production

In a parent pipeline, it runs the test job that subsequently runs a child pipeline, and the strategy: depend option makes the test job wait until the child pipeline has finished. The parent pipeline runs the deploy job in the next stage, that requires a resource from the production resource group. If the process mode is oldest_first, it executes the jobs from the oldest pipelines, meaning the deploy job is going to be executed next.

However, a child pipeline also requires a resource from the production resource group. Since the child pipeline is newer than the parent pipeline, the child pipeline waits until the deploy job is finished, something that will never happen.

In this case, you should specify the resource_group keyword in the parent pipeline configuration instead:

# GOOD
test:
  stage: test
  trigger:
    include: child-pipeline.yml
    strategy: depend
  resource_group: production # Specify the resource group in the parent pipeline

deploy:
  stage: deploy
  script: echo
  resource_group: production