GitLab Documentation

GitLab Geo database replication

Note: This is the documentation for installations from source. For installations using the Omnibus GitLab packages, follow the database replication for Omnibus GitLab guide.

Note: Stages of the setup process must be completed in the documented order. Before attempting the steps in this stage, complete all prior stages.

This document describes the minimal steps you have to take in order to replicate your GitLab database into another server. You may have to change some values according to your database setup, how big it is, etc.

You are encouraged to first read through all the steps before executing them in your testing/production environment.

PostgreSQL replication

The GitLab primary node where the write operations happen will connect to primary database server, and the secondary ones which are read-only will connect to secondary database servers (which are read-only too).

Note: In many databases documentation you will see "primary" being referenced as "master" and "secondary" as either "slave" or "standby" server (read-only).

Since GitLab 9.4: We recommend using PostgreSQL replication slots to ensure the primary retains all the data necessary for the secondaries to recover. See below for more details.

Prerequisites

The following guide assumes that:

Step 1. Configure the primary server

  1. SSH into your GitLab primary server and login as root:

    sudo -i
    
  2. Add this node as the Geo primary by running:

    bundle exec rake geo:set_primary_node
    
  3. Create a replication user named gitlab_replicator:

    sudo -u postgres psql -c "CREATE USER gitlab_replicator REPLICATION ENCRYPTED PASSWORD 'thepassword';"
    
  4. Set up TLS support for the PostgreSQL primary server

    Warning: Only skip this step if you know that PostgreSQL traffic between the primary and secondary will be secured through some other means, e.g., a known-safe physical network path or a site-to-site VPN that you have configured.

    If you are replicating your database across the open Internet, it is essential that the connection is TLS-secured. Correctly configured, this provides protection against both passive eavesdroppers and active "man-in-the-middle" attackers.

    To generate a self-signed certificate and key, run this command:

    openssl req -nodes -batch -x509 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout server.key -out server.crt -days 3650
    

    This will create two files - server.key and server.crt - that you can use for authentication.

    Copy them to the correct location for your PostgreSQL installation:

    # Copying a self-signed certificate and key
    install -o postgres -g postgres -m 0400 -T server.crt ~postgres/9.x/main/data/server.crt
    install -o postgres -g postgres -m 0400 -T server.key ~postgres/9.x/main/data/server.key
    

    Add this configuration to postgresql.conf, removing any existing configuration for ssl_cert_file or ssl_key_file:

    ssl = on
    ssl_cert_file='server.crt'
    ssl_key_file='server.key'
    
  5. Edit postgresql.conf to configure the primary server for streaming replication (for Debian/Ubuntu that would be /etc/postgresql/9.x/main/postgresql.conf):

    listen_address = '1.2.3.4'
    wal_level = hot_standby
    max_wal_senders = 5
    min_wal_size = 80MB
    max_wal_size = 1GB
    max_replicaton_slots = 1 # Number of Geo secondary nodes
    wal_keep_segments = 10
    hot_standby = on
    

    Be sure to set max_replication_slots to the number of Geo secondary nodes that you may potentially have (at least 1).

    For security reasons, PostgreSQL by default only listens on the local interface (e.g. 127.0.0.1). However, GitLab Geo needs to communicate between the primary and secondary nodes over a common network, such as a corporate LAN or the public Internet. For this reason, we need to configure PostgreSQL to listen on more interfaces.

    The listen_address option opens PostgreSQL up to external connections with the interface corresponding to the given IP. See the PostgreSQL documentation for more details.

    You may also want to edit the wal_keep_segments and max_wal_senders to match your database replication requirements. Consult the PostgreSQL - Replication documentation for more information.

  6. Set the access control on the primary to allow TCP connections using the server's public IP and set the connection from the secondary to require a password. Edit pg_hba.conf (for Debian/Ubuntu that would be /etc/postgresql/9.x/main/pg_hba.conf):

    host    all             all                      127.0.0.1/32    trust
    host    all             all                      1.2.3.4/32      trust
    host    replication     gitlab_replicator        5.6.7.8/32      md5
    

    Where 1.2.3.4 is the public IP address of the primary server, and 5.6.7.8 the public IP address of the secondary one. If you want to add another secondary, add one more row like the replication one and change the IP address:

    host    all             all                      127.0.0.1/32    trust
    host    all             all                      1.2.3.4/32      trust
    host    replication     gitlab_replicator        5.6.7.8/32      md5
    host    replication     gitlab_replicator        11.22.33.44/32  md5
    
  7. Restart PostgreSQL for the changes to take effect.

  8. Choose a database-friendly name to use for your secondary to use as the replication slot name. For example, if your domain is secondary.geo.example.com, you may use secondary_example as the slot name.

  9. Create the replication slot on the primary:

    $ sudo -u postgres psql -c "SELECT * FROM pg_create_physical_replication_slot('secondary_example');"
      slot_name         | xlog_position
      ------------------+---------------
      secondary_example |
      (1 row)
    
  10. Now that the PostgreSQL server is set up to accept remote connections, run netstat -plnt to make sure that PostgreSQL is listening to the server's public IP.

  11. Verify that clock synchronization is enabled.

    Important: For Geo to work correctly, all nodes must have their clocks synchronized. It is not required for all nodes to be set to the same time zone, but when the respective times are converted to UTC time, the clocks must be synchronized to within 60 seconds of each other.

    If you are using Ubuntu, verify NTP sync is enabled:

    timedatectl status | grep 'NTP synchronized'
    

    Refer to your Linux distribution documentation to setup clock synchronization. This can easily be done using any NTP-compatible daemon.

Step 2. Add the secondary GitLab node

To prevent the secondary geo node trying to act as the primary once the database is replicated, the secondary geo node must be configured on the primary before the database is replicated.

  1. Visit the primary node's Admin Area ➔ Geo Nodes (/admin/geo_nodes) in your browser.
  2. Add the secondary node by providing its full URL. Do NOT check the box 'This is a primary node'.
  3. Optionally, choose which namespaces should be replicated by the secondary node. Leave blank to replicate all. Read more in selective replication.
  4. Click the Add node button.

The new secondary geo node will have the status Unhealthy. This is expected because we have not yet configured the secondary server. This is the next step.

Step 3. Configure the secondary server

  1. SSH into your GitLab secondary server and login as root:

    sudo -i
    
  2. Set up PostgreSQL TLS verification on the secondary

    Copy the generated server.crt file onto the secondary server from the primary, then install it in the right place:

    install -D -o postgres -g postgres -m 0400 -T server.crt ~postgres/.postgresql/root.crt
    

    PostgreSQL will now only recognize that exact certificate when verifying TLS connections. The certificate can only be replicated by someone with access to the private key, which is only present on the primary node.

  3. Test that the remote connection to the primary server works:

    sudo -u postgres psql --list -U gitlab_replicator -d "dbname=gitlabhq_production sslmode=verify-ca" -W -h 1.2.3.4
    

    When prompted enter the password you set in the first step for the gitlab_replicator user. If all worked correctly, you should see the database prompt.

    A failure to connect here indicates that the TLS or networking configuration is incorrect. Ensure that you've used the correct certificates and IP addresses throughout. If you have a firewall, ensure that the secondary is permitted to access the primary on port 5432.

  4. Edit postgresql.conf to configure the secondary for streaming replication (for Debian/Ubuntu that would be /etc/postgresql/9.*/main/postgresql.conf):

    wal_level = hot_standby
    max_wal_senders = 5
    checkpoint_segments = 10
    wal_keep_segments = 10
    hot_standby = on
    
  5. Restart PostgreSQL for the changes to take effect.

  6. Optional since GitLab 9.1, and required for GitLab 10.0 or higher: Enable tracking database on the secondary server

  7. Otherwise, continue to initiate the replication process.

Enable tracking database on the secondary server

Geo secondary nodes use a tracking database to keep track of replication status and recover automatically from some replication issues.

It is added in GitLab 9.1, and since GitLab 10.0 it is required.

  1. Verify that clock synchronization is enabled.

    Important: For Geo to work correctly, all nodes must have their clocks synchronized. It is not required for all nodes to be set to the same time zone, but when the respective times are converted to UTC time, the clocks must be synchronized to within 60 seconds of each other.

    If you are using Ubuntu, verify NTP sync is enabled:

    timedatectl status | grep 'NTP synchronized'
    

    Refer to your Linux distribution documentation to setup clock synchronization. This can easily be done using any NTP-compatible daemon.

  2. Create database_geo.yml with the information of your secondary PostgreSQL database. Note that GitLab will set up another database instance separate from the primary, since this is where the secondary will track its internal state:

    sudo cp /home/git/gitlab/config/database_geo.yml.postgresql /home/git/gitlab/config/database_geo.yml
    
  3. Edit the content of database_geo.yml in production: like the example below:

    #
    # PRODUCTION
    #
    production:
      adapter: postgresql
      encoding: unicode
      database: gitlabhq_geo_production
      pool: 10
      username: gitlab_geo
      # password:
      host: /var/opt/gitlab/geo-postgresql
    
  4. Create the database gitlabhq_geo_production in that PostgreSQL instance.

  5. Set up the Geo tracking database:

    bundle exec rake geo:db:migrate
    

Step 4. Initiate the replication process

Below we provide a script that connects to the primary server, replicates the database and creates the needed files for replication.

The directories used are the defaults for Debian/Ubuntu. If you have changed any defaults, configure it as you see fit replacing the directories and paths.

Warning: Make sure to run this on the secondary server as it removes all PostgreSQL's data before running pg_basebackup.

  1. SSH into your GitLab secondary server and login as root:

    sudo -i
    
  2. Save the snippet below in a file, let's say /tmp/replica.sh. Modify the embedded paths if necessary:

    #!/bin/bash
    
    PORT="5432"
    USER="gitlab_replicator"
    echo ---------------------------------------------------------------
    echo WARNING: Make sure this script is run from the secondary server
    echo ---------------------------------------------------------------
    echo
    echo Enter the IP or FQDN of the primary PostgreSQL server
    read HOST
    echo Enter the password for $USER@$HOST
    read -s PASSWORD
    echo Enter the required sslmode
    read SSLMODE
    
    echo Stopping PostgreSQL and all GitLab services
    gitlab-ctl stop
    
    echo Backing up postgresql.conf
    sudo -u postgres mv /var/opt/gitlab/postgresql/data/postgresql.conf /var/opt/gitlab/postgresql/
    
    echo Cleaning up old cluster directory
    sudo -u postgres rm -rf /var/opt/gitlab/postgresql/data
    rm -f /tmp/postgresql.trigger
    
    echo Starting base backup as the replicator user
    echo Enter the password for $USER@$HOST
    sudo -u postgres /opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/pg_basebackup -h $HOST -D /var/opt/gitlab/postgresql/data -U gitlab_replicator -v -x -P
    
    echo Writing recovery.conf file
    sudo -u postgres bash -c "cat > /var/opt/gitlab/postgresql/data/recovery.conf <<- _EOF1_
      standby_mode = 'on'
      primary_conninfo = 'host=$HOST port=$PORT user=$USER password=$PASSWORD sslmode=$SSLMODE'
      trigger_file = '/tmp/postgresql.trigger'
    _EOF1_
    "
    
    echo Restoring postgresql.conf
    sudo -u postgres mv /var/opt/gitlab/postgresql/postgresql.conf /var/opt/gitlab/postgresql/data/
    
    echo Starting PostgreSQL and all GitLab services
    gitlab-ctl start
    
  3. Run it with:

    bash /tmp/replica.sh
    

    When prompted, enter the IP/FQDN of the primary, and the password you set up for the gitlab_replicator user in the first step.

    You should use verify-ca for the sslmode. You can use disable if you are happy to skip PostgreSQL TLS authentication altogether (e.g., you know the network path is secure, or you are using a site-to-site VPN). This is not safe over the public Internet!

    You can read more details about each sslmode in the PostgreSQL documentation; the instructions above are carefully written to ensure protection against both passive eavesdroppers and active "man-in-the-middle" attackers.

The replication process is now over.

MySQL replication

We don't support MySQL replication for GitLab Geo.

Troubleshooting

Read the troubleshooting document.


Leave a comment below if you have any feedback on the documentation. For support and other inquires, see getting help.