Geo self-service framework (alpha)

Note: This document might be subjected to change. It’s a proposal we’re working on and once the implementation is complete this documentation will be updated. Follow progress in the epic.
Note: The Geo self-service framework is currently in alpha. If you need to replicate a new data type, reach out to the Geo team to discuss the options. You can contact them in #g_geo on Slack or mention @geo-team in the issue or merge request.

Geo provides an API to make it possible to easily replicate data types across Geo nodes. This API is presented as a Ruby Domain-Specific Language (DSL) and aims to make it possible to replicate data with minimal effort of the engineer who created a data type.


Before digging into the API, developers need to know some Geo-specific naming conventions.

A model is an Active Model, which is how it is known in the entire Rails codebase. It usually is tied to a database table. From Geo perspective, a model can have one or more resources.
A resource is a piece of data that belongs to a model and is produced by a GitLab feature. It is persisted using a storage mechanism. By default, a resource is not a replicable.
Data type
Data type is how a resource is stored. Each resource should fit in one of the data types Geo supports: :- Git repository :- Blob :- Database
For more detail, see Data types.
Geo Replicable
A Replicable is a resource Geo wants to sync across Geo nodes. There is a limited set of supported data types of replicables. The effort required to implement replication of a resource that belongs to one of the known data types is minimal.
Geo Replicator
A Geo Replicator is the object that knows how to replicate a replicable. It’s responsible for: :- Firing events (producer) :- Consuming events (consumer)
It’s tied to the Geo Replicable data type. All replicators have a common interface that can be used to process (that is, produce and consume) events. It takes care of the communication between the primary node (where events are produced) and the secondary node (where events are consumed). The engineer who wants to incorporate Geo in their feature will use the API of replicators to make this happen.
Geo Domain-Specific Language
The syntactic sugar that allows engineers to easily specify which resources should be replicated and how.

Geo Domain-Specific Language

The replicator

First of all, you need to write a replicator. The replicators live in ee/app/replicators/geo. For each resource that needs to be replicated, there should be a separate replicator specified, even if multiple resources are tied to the same model.

For example, the following replicator replicates a package file:

module Geo
  class PackageFileReplicator < Gitlab::Geo::Replicator
    # Include one of the strategies your resource needs
    include ::Geo::BlobReplicatorStrategy

    # Specify the CarrierWave uploader needed by the used strategy
    def carrierwave_uploader


    # Specify the model this replicator belongs to
    def model

The class name should be unique. It also is tightly coupled to the table name for the registry, so for this example the registry table will be package_file_registry.

For the different data types Geo supports there are different strategies to include. Pick one that fits your needs.

Linking to a model

To tie this replicator to the model, you need to add the following to the model code:

class Packages::PackageFile < ApplicationRecord
  include ::Gitlab::Geo::ReplicableModel

  with_replicator Geo::PackageFileReplicator


When this is set in place, it’s easy to access the replicator through the model:

package_file = Packages::PackageFile.find(4) # just a random id as example
replicator = package_file.replicator

Or get the model back from the replicator:

=> <Packages::PackageFile id:4>

The replicator can be used to generate events, for example in ActiveRecord hooks:

  after_create_commit -> { replicator.publish_created_event }


The framework behind all this is located in ee/lib/gitlab/geo/.