Dec 11, 2018 - Priyanka Sharma    

Announcing GitLab Serverless

The true value of serverless is best realized via a single-application DevOps experience – that's why we're launching GitLab Serverless.

Serverless is the latest innovation in cloud computing that promises to alter the cost-benefit equation for enterprises. As our CEO, Sid Sijbrandij says, "All roads lead to compute." There is a race among providers to acquire as many workloads from enterprises as possible, at the cheapest cost. The latter is where serverless comes in: serverless computing is an execution model in which the cloud provider acts as the server, dynamically managing the allocation of machine resources. Pricing is based on the actual resources consumed by an application, rather than on pre-purchased units of capacity.

This field began with the release of AWS Lambda in November 2014. In the four short years since then, it has become a well-known workflow that enterprises are eager to adopt. Today, we are announcing GitLab Serverless to enable our users to take advantage of the benefits of serverless.

GitLab Serverless is launching Dec. 22

GitLab is the only single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle. As part of that vision, we will release GitLab Serverless in GitLab 11.6, coming later this month, to allow enterprises to plan, build, and manage serverless workloads with the rest of their code from within the same GitLab UI. It leverages Knative, which enables autoscaling down to zero and back up to run serverless workloads on Kubernetes. This allows businesses to employ a multi-cloud strategy and leverage the value of serverless without being locked into a specific cloud provider.

In order to bring the best-in-class to our users, we partnered with TriggerMesh founder Sebastien Goasguen and his team. Sebastien has been part of the serverless landscape since the beginning. He built a precursor to Knative, Kubeless. He is actively involved with the Knative community and understands the workflow from soup to nuts. Sebastien says, "We are excited to help GitLab enable all their users to deploy functions directly on the Knative function-as-a-service clusters. We believe that these additions to GitLab will give those users the best possible experience for complete serverless computing from beginning to end."

"Serverless first"

As any attendees at AWS re:Invent would have noticed, the behemoth is putting all its energies behind serverless. We heard stories from the likes of Trustpilot about changing their engineering culture to "serverless first." This is because serverless cloud providers save money by not having to keep idle machines provisioned and running, and are passing on the benefits to their customers. While this is amazing news, it is hard to truly embrace a workflow if it lives outside of developers' entrenched habits. GitLab has millions of users and is used by over 100,000 organizations, and with GitLab Serverless they can now enjoy the cost savings and elegant code design serverless brings, from the comfort of their established workflows.

As with all GitLab endeavors, making serverless multi-cloud and accessible to everyone is a big, hairy, audacious goal. Today, Knative can be installed to a Kubernetes cluster with a single click via the GitLab Kubernetes integration. It shipped in GitLab 11.5.

How to activate GitLab Serverless

Starting with the release of GitLab 11.6 on Dec. 22, the "Serverless" tab will be available for users as an alpha offering. Please do check it out and share your feedback with us.

  1. Go to your GitLab instance and pick your project of choice.
  2. Click on the Operations menu item in the sidebar.
  3. Pick Serverless to view the list of all the functions you have defined. You will also be able to see a brief description as well as the Knative cluster the function is deploying to.

Serverless list view

To dig further, click into the function for more info.

function detail view

All this goodness will be available Dec. 22. In the meantime, we would love to see you at KubeCon Seattle, where our product and engineering experts are attending to talk all things serverless with attendees. Hope to see you at booth S44!

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