Adding a new Service to Omnibus GitLab

In order to add a new service to GitLab, you should follow these steps:

  1. Fetch and compile the software during build
  2. Add a top-level configuration object for the service
  3. Include the service in the services list
  4. Create enable and disable recipes for the service
  5. Determine and document how log rotation will be handled

Optionally another common task is to add additional configuration parsing for the service.

Fetch and compile the software during build

You need to add a new Software Definition for your service if it is not already included in the project.

Add a top-level configuration object for the service

The cookbooks and recipes located in files/gitlab-cookbooks are what get run during gitlab-ctl reconfigure in instances where the Omnibus GitLab package has been installed. This is where we will need to add the settings for a new service.

Define the default attributes

Pick one of the existing cookbooks to configure your service within, or create a new cookbook if your service warrants its own.

Within the cookbook there should be an attributes/default.rb file. This is where you want to define the Default Attributes for your service. For a service you should define an enable option by default.

default['gitlab']['best_service']['enable'] = false
default['gitlab']['best_service']['dir'] = '/var/opt/gitlab/best-service'
default['gitlab']['best_service']['log_directory'] = '/var/log/gitlab/best-service'
  • default is how you define basic cookbook attributes.
  • ['gitlab'] contains the cookbook name.
  • ['best_service'] is the name of your service.
  • enable, dir, and log_directory are our configuration settings.
  • /var/opt/gitlab is where the working directory and configuration files for the services are placed.
  • /var/log/gitlab is where logs are written to for the GitLab package.

Define all your settings that you want configurable in the package here. Default them to nil if you need to calculate their defaults based on other settings for now.

Naming convention

A service is referred to mainly in three scenarios:

  1. Accessing the Chef attributes corresponding to the service
  2. Referencing items such as users, groups, and paths corresponding to the service
  3. Passing the service name to methods which look up on service properties similar to the following examples:
    • “Is the service enabled?”
    • “Get the log ownership details corresponding to this service”
    • “Generate runit configuration for this service”

For the first case mentioned above, we use underscores to differentiate words in the service name. For the other two cases, we use hyphens to differentiate words in the service name. Since the configuration is mainly used as a Ruby object, using underscores instead of hyphens is more flexible (for example, underscores make it cleaner to use symbols in configuration hashes).

For example, if we take GitLab Pages, the attributes are available as Gitlab['gitlab_pages'] and node['gitlab_pages'] while the default directories and paths might look like /var/log/gitlab/gitlab-pages and /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-pages. Similarly, method calls will look like service_enabled?("gitlab-pages").

Create a configuration Mash for your service

In order for user to be able to configure your service from /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb you will need to add a top level Mash for the service.

In files/gitlab-cookbooks/package/libraries/config/gitlab.rb you will find the list of attribute methods.

If your service exists within the attributes for the GitLab cookbook, you should add it as an attribute within the attribute_block('gitlab') block. Otherwise, if your service has its own cookbook, add it above.


For an EE only attribute, use ee_attribute instead.


Add service configuration to the settings template

We maintain a global configuration template where examples of how to configure the services are available, commented out.

This file becomes the /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb on fresh installs of the package.

Once you want to expose your service’s configuration to users for them to change, add it to this file. files/gitlab-config-template/gitlab.rb.template

### Best Service configuration
# best_service['enable'] = true
# best_service['dir'] = '/var/opt/gitlab/best-service'
# best_service['log_directory'] = '/var/log/gitlab/best-service'

The values provided are not meant to reflect the defaults, but are to make it easier to uncomment to use the service. If that isn’t possible you can use values clearly meant to be replaced like YOURSECRET etc. Or use the default when it makes the most sense.

Include the service in the services list

In order to allow the service to be easily enable/disabled within the recipes, it should be added to the services list and given appropriate groups.

In the files/gitlab-cookbooks/package/libraries/config/services.rb file, add the service to the appropriate Config class, Base or EE depending on whether the service is only for GitLab EE.

service 'best_service', groups: ['bestest']

Specifying groups makes it easier to disable/enable multiple related services as once.

If none of the existing groups match with what your service does, and you don’t currently need to enable/disable the service using a group. Don’t bother adding at this time.

Some examples of existing groups you may want to use:

  • If the service is enabled in omnibus be default, it should add the DEFAULT_GROUP group.
  • If the service should really not be disabled in almost any scenario, add the SYSTEM_GROUP.
  • If the service relies on GitLab Rails having been configured, add the rails group.
  • If the service is a new Prometheus exporter, add the prometheus group.

Create enable and disable recipes for the service

Enable recipe

The enable recipe should be created as files/gitlab-cookbooks/<cookbook-name>/recipes/<service-name>.rb if it being added to an existing cookbook. If the service has its own cookbook, the enable recipe can be created as files/gitlab-cookbooks/<cookbook-name>/recipes/enable.rb.

In the recipe you will want to create the working directory in /var/opt/gitlab for your service. You will want to ensure the system user that runs your service is created. Render any configuration files needed for your service into your working directory.

Near the end of the recipe you will want to make a call to the runit service definition to define your recipe. In order for this work you will need to have created a run file in the cookbooks templates/default directory. These file names start with sv- followed by the service name, followed by the runit action name.

A service typically needs a run, log-run, and log-config.


<%= "s#@svlogd_size" if @svlogd_size %>
<%= "n#@svlogd_num" if @svlogd_num %>
<%= "t#@svlogd_timeout" if @svlogd_timeout %>
<%= "!#@svlogd_filter" if @svlogd_filter %>
<%= "u#@svlogd_udp" if @svlogd_udp %>
<%= "p#@svlogd_prefix" if @svlogd_prefix %>


exec chpst -P \
  -U root:<%= @options[:log_group] || 'root' %> \
  -u root:<%= @options[:log_group] || 'root' %> \
  svlogd -tt <%= @options[:log_directory] %>


exec 2>&1
<%= render("mount_point_check.erb") %>
cd <%= node['gitlab']['best-service']['dir'] %>
exec chpst -P /opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/best-service -config-flags -etc

Depending on what you are running, and which user should run it, your run file should be configured differently. Look in our other -run.erb for examples.

Within your recipe, the runit service should be called and started:

runit_service "best-service" do
    configItem: 'value',
    log_directory: logging_settings[:log_directory],
    log_user: logging_settings[:runit_owner],
    log_group: logging_settings[:runit_group],
  log_options logging_settings[:options]

if node['gitlab']['bootstrap']['enable']
  execute "/opt/gitlab/bin/gitlab-ctl start best-service" do
    retries 20

Log Directory

The example settings referenced above that include logging_settings make use of the LogfilesHelper class in order to provide a consistent reference to the configuration settings for the service log directory, the log group assigned to the log directory, and the group used for svlogd execution.

To make use of these settings, please include the LogfilesHelper class in your enable.rb for your service, for example:

logfiles_helper =
logging_settings = logfiles_helper.logging_settings('best-service')

Please add best-service to the list of services in the default_logdir_ownership class method with the default user/group that should be used for the log directory user/group. If you don’t have a specific user/group need - default to { username: gitlab_user, group: gitlab_group }

Disable recipe

The disable recipe should be created as files/gitlab-cookbooks/<cookbook-name>/recipes/<service-name>_disable.rb if it being added to an existing cookbook. If the service has its own cookbook, the disable recipe can be created as files/gitlab-cookbooks/<cookbook-name>/recipes/disable.rb.

The recipe needs to container any cleanup you want to do when you service is disabled, and have a call to disable the runit service.

runit_service "best-service" do
  action :disable

Determine and document how log rotation will be handled

In Omnibus, log rotation for a given service can be handled by logrotate, svlogd, both or neither. The new service should be included in the log rotation table with an indication about what is responsible for managing and rotating the logs for that service. When adding a service to Omnibus GitLab, you should:

  • Ensure that log rotation is in place for the new service.
  • Open a merge request to have the new service added to the log rotation table.

If a new log is added that is not using runit (svlogd), the log must be manually added to the logrotate configuration. The Improve logrotate handling issue has more information.

Additional configuration parsing for the service

If you want to populate certain configuration options based on other options being set by the user, we add a library for your service to parse variables.

The library should be added as files/gitlab-cookbooks/<cookbook name>/libraries/<service-name>.rb

The library should be a module named after your service that has a parse_variables method.

module BestService
  class << self
    def parse_variables
      # setup some additional configuration based on the values of the user provided configuration

We then need to have the GitLab configuration call your parse_variables method.

Go into files/gitlab-cookbooks/package/libraries/config/gitlab.rb and update your attribute to use the library.

attribute('best_service').use { BestService }

Note that sequence for parsing variables matters. So if your library expects to be parsed after another service’s library, you need to update your attribute with a priority value that comes later. (The default priority value is 20)

attribute('expected_service').use { ExpectedService }
attribute('best_service', sequence: 25).use { BestService }