Test Import Project

For testing, we can import our own GitLab CE project (named gitlabhq in this case) under a group named qa-perf-testing. Project tarballs that can be used for testing can be found over on the performance-data project. A different project could be used if required.

There are several options for importing the project into your GitLab environment. They are detailed as follows with the assumption that the recommended group qa-perf-testing and project gitlabhq are being set up.

Importing the project

There are several ways to import a project.

Importing via UI

The first option is to simply import the Project tarball file via the GitLab UI:

  1. Create the group qa-perf-testing
  2. Import the GitLab FOSS project tarball into the Group.

It should take up to 15 minutes for the project to fully import. You can head to the project’s main page for the current status.

Note: This method ignores all the errors silently (including the ones related to GITALY_DISABLE_REQUEST_LIMITS) and is used by GitLab’s users. For development and testing, check the other methods below.

Importing via the import-project script

A convenient script, bin/import-project, is provided with performance project to import the Project tarball into a GitLab environment via API from the terminal.

Note that to use the script, it will require some preparation if you haven’t done so already:

  1. First, set up Ruby and Ruby Bundler if they aren’t already available on the machine.
  2. Next, install the required Ruby Gems via Bundler with bundle install.

For details how to use bin/import-project, run:

bin/import-project --help

The process should take up to 15 minutes for the project to import fully. The script will keep checking periodically for the status and exit once import has completed.

Importing via GitHub

There is also an option to import the project via GitHub:

  1. Create the group qa-perf-testing
  2. Import the GitLab FOSS repository that’s mirrored on GitHub into the group via the UI.

This method will take longer to import than the other methods and will depend on several factors. It’s recommended to use the other methods.

Importing via a Rake task

The Rake task was introduced in GitLab 12.6, replacing a GitLab.com Ruby script.

This script was introduced in GitLab 12.6 for importing large GitLab project exports.

As part of this script we also disable direct and background upload to avoid situations where a huge archive is being uploaded to GCS (while being inside a transaction, which can cause idle transaction timeouts).

We can simply run this script from the terminal:


Attribute Type Required Description
username string yes User name
namespace_path string yes Namespace path
project_path string yes Project name
archive_path string yes Path to the exported project tarball you want to import
bundle exec rake "gitlab:import_export:import[root, group/subgroup, testingprojectimport, /path/to/file.tar.gz]"

If you’re running Omnibus, run the following Rake task:

gitlab-rake "gitlab:import_export:import[root, group/subgroup, testingprojectimport, /path/to/file.tar.gz]"


Check the common errors listed below, what they mean, and how to fix them.

Exception: undefined method 'name' for nil:NilClass

The username is not valid.

Exception: undefined method 'full_path' for nil:NilClass

The namespace_path does not exist. For example, one of the groups or subgroups is mistyped or missing or you’ve specified the project name in the path.

The task will only create the project. If you want to import it to a new group or subgroup then create it first.

Exception: No such file or directory @ rb_sysopen - (filename)

The specified project export file in archive_path is missing.

Name can contain only letters, digits, emojis ...
Name can contain only letters, digits, emojis, '_', '.', dash, space. It must start with letter,
digit, emoji or '_'. and Path can contain only letters, digits, '_', '-' and '.'. Cannot start
with '-', end in '.git' or end in '.atom'

The project name specified in project_path is not valid for one of the specified reasons.

Only put the project name in project_path. If, for example, you put a path of subgroups in there it will fail with this error as / is not a valid character in a project name.

Name has already been taken and Path has already been taken

A project with that name already exists.

Importing via the Rails console

The last option is to import a project using a Rails console:

  1. Start a Ruby on Rails console:

    # Omnibus GitLab
    gitlab-rails console
    # For installations from source
    sudo -u git -H bundle exec rails console -e production
  2. Create a project and run Project::TreeRestorer:

    shared_class = Struct.new(:export_path) do
      def error(message)
        raise message
    user = User.first
    shared = shared_class.new(path)
    project = Projects::CreateService.new(user, { name: name, namespace: user.namespace }).execute
      #Enable Request store
      Gitlab::ImportExport::Project::TreeRestorer.new(user: user, shared: shared, project: project).restore
  3. In case you need the repository as well, you can restore it using:

    repo_path = File.join(shared.export_path, Gitlab::ImportExport.project_bundle_filename)
    Gitlab::ImportExport::RepoRestorer.new(path_to_bundle: repo_path,
                                           shared: shared,
                                           project: project).restore

    We are storing all import failures in the import_failures data table.

    To make sure that the project import finished without any issues, check:


Performance testing

For Performance testing, we should:

  • Import a quite large project, gitlabhq should be a good example.
  • Measure the execution time of Project::TreeRestorer.
  • Count the number of executed SQL queries during the restore.
  • Observe the number of GC cycles happening.

You can use this snippet: https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab/snippets/1924954 (must be logged in), which will restore the project, and measure the execution time of Project::TreeRestorer, number of SQL queries and number of GC cycles happening.

You can execute the script from the gdk/gitlab directory like this:

bundle exec rails r  /path_to_sript/script.rb project_name /path_to_extracted_project request_store_enabled


In this section we’ll detail any known issues we’ve seen when trying to import a project and how to manage them.

Gitaly calls error when importing

If you’re attempting to import a large project into a development environment, you may see Gitaly throw an error about too many calls or invocations, for example:

Error importing repository into qa-perf-testing/gitlabhq - GitalyClient#call called 31 times from single request. Potential n+1?

This is due to a n+1 calls limit being set for development setups. You can work around this by setting GITALY_DISABLE_REQUEST_LIMITS=1 as an environment variable, restarting your development environment and importing again.

Access token setup

Many of the tests also require a GitLab Personal Access Token. This is due to numerous endpoints themselves requiring authentication.

The official GitLab docs detail how to create this token. The tests require that the token is generated by an admin user and that it has the API and read_repository permissions.

Details on how to use the Access Token with each type of test are found in their respective documentation.