Introducing the next generation of the Container Registry

Apr 12, 2022 · 4 min read
Tim Rizzi GitLab profile

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In the coming weeks, we will begin the second phase of the rollout of the new version of the Container Registry on Prior to deploying this update, we wanted to clearly communicate the planned changes, what to expect, and why we are excited.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to comment in the epic.


In Milestone 8.8, GitLab launched the MVC of the Container Registry. This feature integrated the Docker Distribution registry into GitLab so that any GitLab user could have a space to publish and share container images.

But there was an inherent limitation with Docker Distribution, as all metadata associated with a given image/tag was stored in the object storage backend. This made using that metadata to build API features (like storage usage visibility, sorting, and filtering) unfeasible. The most recent Container Registry update added a new PostgreSQL backend, which is used to store the metadata. Additionally, this new version also includes an automatic online garbage collector to remove untagged images and recover storage space.

In November 2021, we started phase 1 of the migration. This completed in January 2022 without any significant issues. Since then, every new image repository pushed to uses the new, metadata database-backed registry. Today, nearly 20% of Container Registry traffic is already routed to the new version.

Now we are ready to begin Phase 2 of the migration. This will migrate image repositories created before January 22, 2022, to the new Container Registry. Once complete, we can unblock many of the features that you've been asking for.

Why we are excited

The plan

We're planning a phased migration, starting with repositories. After that, we'll move on to the Free tier, then on to Premium and Ultimate. We'll roll this out incrementally to maintain safety for customers and provide our team with an opportunity to identify and address any concerns.


Migration begins: April 18th, 2022 Migration ends: July 8th, 2022.

Tentative dates by tier:

For more information about the planned, percentage-based rollout, please refer to this epic.

What to expect


“Learn more about @gitlab's Container Registry update” – Tim Rizzi

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