Blog DevOps Platform Migrating repositories to GitLab just became easier
Published on October 26, 2021
4 min read

Migrating repositories to GitLab just became easier

Automate data and user migration into GitLab using open core software Congregate.


As customers begin their journey with GitLab, they often start by moving their source code repositories to GitLab. The GitLab Professional Services team has been helping customers with large scale migrations for years and during this time have built a utility to automate the migration process - Congregate. To ensure we’re aligned with the GitLab values of transparency and collaboration, we’re making it available to customers and partners. As of today, Congregate has been moved to a source available disposition.

For smaller customers this might not be too important because they can use GitLab import functionality to migrate themselves. But for customers moving hundreds or thousands of source code repositories and associated users to GitLab, this is a game changer. And perhaps most importantly, our growing team of channel services partners can now leverage Congregate functionality as they help customers move data. And for each contribution that partners or customers make back to Congregate, the larger community benefits.

Why are you doing this? Customers pay you for these services!

GitLab Professional Services falls under the umbrella of Customer Success and its mission is to deliver value to all customers by engaging in a consistent, repeatable, scalable way across defined segments so that customers see the value in their investment with GitLab. While Professional Services needs to maintain a balanced business (we are not a cost center), we believe that our paramount goal is to help our customers. As GitLab grows and the number of customers also increases, we will rely more heavily on our channel partners. We see making Congregate source available as a means to reach the largest quantity of customers with the highest quality migration service offering. Similar to how GitLab has over 3,000 contributions from the wider community, we think welcoming contributions for this migration tool will help ensure GitLab and its partners converge on a single solution rather than diverging to many.

What do you mean by Source Available?

Congregate will be licensed under the GitLab EE license. For services partners and customers, this means:

Legal Guidelines

I’m a partner, will GitLab PS support my migration?

  • No, but support is available on a fee-based engagement. As an example if you have a customer migration that you need support on, you can engage GitLab PS as the Prime and GitLab will work with you to subcontract the engagement to you and provide the necessary support.
  • If a Partner is using Congregate on its own contract directly with the customer, GitLab PS will not provide support for Congregate. As such, Congregate is a USE AT YOUR OWN RISK tool.
  • Customer engagements on a partner contract intending to migrate to can be subcontracted to GitLab PS to help with these migration activities.

Note: GitLab PS will always need to be involved for migrations to as certain elevated privileges are required to maintain data integrity.

It's just a bunch of scripted API calls, what's so special?

Congregate is using all of the published APIs so there isn’t a ton of “secret sauce” in the project. However, we have spent time optimizing for performance using multiprocessing techniques to reduce the time it takes to gather and push data. We’ve also created a standard logging format to provide auditability of what happened during a migration. Congregate can migrate data from many popular source systems to help the majority of our prospects and customers move to GitLab.

How can I use it?

We are releasing a learning path for partners (or customers) to earn a certified GitLab migration engineer badge. This learning journey will initially be released to GitLab team members and partners. It will include general information about importing data into GitLab, quizzes and exams to validate your knowledge, and a hands-on workshop where you will use Congregate to move data to a test GitLab instance. Once you pass, you will receive a badge that you can post in a #humblebrag to your social media network - that's what social media is for, right? We recommend going through this training to understand how to use Congregate. As a partner, you can access this certification learning journey here.

Certified Migration Services Engineer

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