The following page may contain information related to upcoming products, features and functionality. It is important to note that the information presented is for informational purposes only, so please do not rely on the information for purchasing or planning purposes. Just like with all projects, the items mentioned on the page are subject to change or delay, and the development, release, and timing of any products, features or functionality remain at the sole discretion of GitLab Inc.
This strategy is a work in progress, and everyone can contribute. Please comment and contribute in the linked issues and epics. Sharing your feedback directly on GitLab.com is the best way to contribute to our strategy and vision.
If you would like support from the Gitaly team, please see the team's page detailing How to contact the Gitaly team.
Gitaly is the service responsible for the storage and maintenance of all Git repositories in GitLab. Git repositories are essential to GitLab, for Source Code Management, Wikis, Snippets, Design Management, Web IDE, and every stage of the DevOps lifecycle to the right of Create - Verify, Package, Release, Configure, Govern, Monitor and Secure - depends on the project repositories. Because the majority of GitLab capabilities depend on information stored in Git repositories, performance and availability are of primary importance.
GitLab is used to store Git repositories by small teams of a few people all the way up to large enterprises with many terabytes of data. For this reason, Gitaly has been built to scale from small single server GitLab instances, to large high availability architectures.
Continued investment in large software projects over many years can result in extremely large Git repositories. Contributing to the development of features like partial clone in Git, and improving Gitaly and GitLab for enterprise scale repositories is an ongoing area of investment.
Gitaly provides multiple interfaces to read and write Git data:
While GitLab is the largest user of the Gitaly project, it is important to note that Gitaly is a standalone project that can be adopted separately from GitLab. As such, we strive to ensure that all business specific decisions are made within the GitLab application. Our belief is that Gitaly should provide the ability for management interfaces, but not make any specific decisions.
For example, some users may want the ability to move repositories between different storage nodes for either cost savings or performance reasons. While Gitaly should provide an easy to use interface to efficiently move repositories, the calling application should be making the decisions around which repositories to move where.
Processes requiring no business data or inputs should be fully contained withing Gitaly. These types of processes include repository maintenance and storage maintenance type tasks. We believe that these types of features provide substantial value for projects utilizing Gitaly and provide a compelling reason to chose Gitaly as a repository storage architecture.
In order to support highly available Git repository storage, Gitaly Cluster has been released. This provides redundant storage benefits such as voted writes, read distribution, and data redundancy. For full documentation, please see the details on Configuring Gitaly Cluster.
Systems Administrators directly interact with Gitaly when installing, configuring, and managing a GitLab server, particularly when high availability is a requirement. In the past, systems administrators needed to create and manage an NFS cluster to configure a high availability GitLab instance, and manually manage the failover to new Gitaly nodes mounted on the same NFS cluster. In order to scale such a solution individual storage nodes needed to be re-sized, or a sharded Gitaly approach was required. Now that Gitaly Cluster is available, is possible to eliminate the NFS cluster from architecture and rely on Gitaly for replication. Gitaly Cluster brings with it automatic failover, horizontal scaling, and read access across replicas will deliver 99.999% uptime (five 9's) and improved performance without regular intervention. Systems administrators will have fewer applications to manage, as the last projects are migrated to GitLab and other version control systems are retired.
Developers will benefit from increasing performance of repositories of all shapes and sizes, on the command line and in the GitLab application, as performance improvements continue. Once support for monolithic repositories reaches minimal and continues maturing, developers will no longer be split between Git and legacy version control systems, as projects consolidate increasingly on Git. Developers that heavily use binary assets, like Game Developers, will at long last be able to switch to Git and eliminate Git LFS by adopting native large file support in Git.
The performance and availability of Gitaly is matter of importance for GitLab Administrators. The inability to access Git repositories on a GitLab server is an outage event, and for a large instance would prevent thousands of people from doing their job. The release of Gitaly Cluster is a major achievement in improving fault tolerance and performance. Continued iteration is needed to further improve fault tolerance, performance, and continue the roll out to GitLab.com.
It should be noted that the following direction is aligned with our Gitaly Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Please refer to our handbook page about OKRs for more information about how OKRs work at GitLab.
The Gitaly team is dedicated to focusing on improving the robustness of the Gitaly product. We have completed a prioritization effort and have coordinated our near term focus on improving data safety, and improving stability for large repositories.
Work is being tracked in this epic.
This is a continuation of effort that began last quarter. While we made tremendous progress in this area, we believe that we need to continue focusing on providing our users the highest level of data consistency and data safety. As such, we are continuing with this theme for at least another quarter, with the following focus areas:
Work is being tracked in this epic.
Git is the market leading Version Control System (VCS), but many organizations with extremely large projects continue to use centralized version control systems like CVS, SVN, and Perforce. These organizations have often widely adopted Git, but isolated large legacy repositories remain elsewhere. Improvements to Git like partial clone and spare checkout, when integrated into Gitaly, will make it possible to standardize on Git for extremely large repositories, and allow organizations to consolidate on GitLab.
Our goal is to investigate and develop options to make very large repositories scale better and improve their stability.
Currently we are focusing on fixing cases which cause Gitaly to create replication jobs.
Work is being tracked in this epic.
We are currently utilizing Gitaly Cluster for some of our repository storage here at GitLab. However, we would like to expand this utilization to receive additional feedback from our own community. As such, we have partnered with the Infrastructure team to identify specific areas where we would like to improve. Below is a partial list of our goals:
We recently announced the release of our first iteration of incremental backups which are designed to significantly reduce the repository backup time for self-managed customers only. We are actively seeking feedback as well as working to allow this feature to be available for our GitLab.com customers as well.
Description - We recently recognized that there is a possibility of the Praefect Database getting out of sync with the Gitaly Cluster nodes. This problem only impacts those users utilizing Gitaly Cluster and taking snapshot backups. While we do not recommend snapshot backups be used for Gitaly Cluster installations, we recognize that while we continue to develop an incremental backup solution, some customers have no choice. As such we have introduced commands to allow for manual reconciliation.
Just recently, we have added additional documentation updates to further clarify the usage of these manual commands:
In order to best represent our Transparency Value, it is just as important to clarify what the Gitaly team cannot prioritize currently. This does not mean that we do not recognize the need for some of these features, simply that we have a finite team.
Better Support for Administrative User Journeys
We want to ensure that in the future, we support user journeys such as adding, removing, and replacing nodes cleanly, and provide a basic administrative dashboard to monitor node health.
Partial Clone is built-in to Git and available in GitLab 13.0 or newer. Scalar is compatible with partial clone, and Microsoft is contributing to its improvement based on their learnings from the GVFS protocol.
Divergent solution for CDN Offloading
While we recognize that a lot of good work has gone into independent solutions, we are committed to work with the Git community on a CDN approach. We intend to support, implement, and contribute to this solution as it be comes available. This is currently being explored in our Support Git CDN offloading epic.
Gitaly is a non-marketable category, and is therefore not assigned a maturity level.
Customers and prospects evaluating GitLab (GitLab.com and self hosted) benchmark GitLab's performance against GitHub.com, including Git performance. The Git performance of GitLab.com for easily benchmarked operations like cloning, fetching and pushing, show that GitLab.com similar to GitHub.com.
Perforce competes with GitLab primarily on its ability to support enormous repositories, either from binary files or monolithic repositories with extremely large numbers of files and history. This competitive advantage comes naturally from its centralized design which means only the files immediately needed by the user are downloaded. Given sufficient support in Git for partial clone, and sufficient performance in GitLab for enormous repositories, existing customers are waiting to migrate to GitLab.
The version control systems market is expected to be valued at close to US$550mn in the year 2021 and is estimated to reach US$971.8md by 2027 according to Future Market Insights which is broadly consistent with revenue estimates of GitHub ($250mn ARR) and Perforce ($130mn ARR). The opportunity for GitLab to grow with the market, and grow it's share of the version control market is significant.
Git is the market leading version control system, demonstrated by the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey where over 88% of respondents use Git. Although there are alternatives to Git, Git remains dominant in open source software, usage by developers continues to grow, it installed by default on macOS and Linux, and the project itself continues to adapt to meet the needs of larger projects and enterprise customers who are adopting Git, like the Microsoft Windows project.
According to a 2016 Bitrise survey of mobile app developers, 62% of apps hosted by SaaS provider were hosted in GitHub, and 95% of apps are hosted in by a SaaS provider. These numbers provide an incomplete view of the industry, but broadly represent the large opportunity for growth in SaaS hosting on GitLab.com, and in self hosted where GitLab is already very successful.
This section contains messaging, questions, and resources for our sales counterparts to successfully position and sell Gitaly Cluster. It is important to note that Gitaly Cluster is not perfect for every installation. Our goal is to provide options for our customers so they can choose the best repository storage mechanism for their particular business needs.
Gitaly is a centralized service which handles all access to files to file storage for GitLab. Gitaly services Git requests from the GitLab web application, command line, and via the API. Gitaly is highly configurable and can utilize one or more storage locations to read / write repository data.
The Gitaly service is required for all GitLab installs, and is a separate product from Gitaly Cluster. While Gitaly handles accessing repository storage, Gitaly Cluster provides a highly available repository storage solution for our customers.
Gitaly Cluster was built to address the industry-wide difficulty around expanding Git repository storage in addition to the lack of high availability (HA) Git storage for critical applications. A prominent theme in industry is the idea of an ever expanding NFS storage location for repository storage. While this can work, over time performance degrades, and management becomes increasingly complex. Additionally, while the NFS file system is ideal for many types of files, it's well documented that the types of file accesses created by Git repository access can cause performance issues.
Our goal with Gitaly cluster is to build a Git repository storage system capable of scaling with our users needs, and providing a configurable level of redundancy to keep businesses operating, iterating, and growing.
Gitaly Cluster is a unique open-core project aimed at providing a scalable and high availability platform for Git repository storage. Gitaly Cluster enable horizontal scalability, allowing our customers to grow their storage in a simple, and well defined manner. We also capitalize on the redundant copies of data needed for HA by increasing read performance through read-distribution.
Customers should utilize Gitaly Cluster in a few key situations:
Customers may not desire to utilize Gitaly Cluster for the following reasons:
Enablement Presentation (Internal GitLab Only)
As we mentioned above, one of our priorities is to improve the Gitaly Cluster documentation. In order to do this, we would appreciate any problems be raised as an issue under our documentation epic. Additionally, if you receive assistance from the Gitaly team in resolving a customer issue, please help us clarify our documentation to help future teammates and customers.
As Gitaly and Gitaly Cluster evolve, it is sometimes necessary to deprecate features. When this occurs, we will follow the documented Deprecations, removals and breaking changes procedure. This ensures that all stable counterparts within GitLab are informed, and that the GitLab Documentation is also updated to keep our customers informed.
In addition, we will track all deprecations throughout the 14.x milestones, and breaking changes occurring in the 15.0 milestone on the following epic:
Users do not see Gitaly as a distinct feature or interface of GitLab. Git performance is the most significant user facing area where improvements are frequently requested, however the source of the performance problem can vary significantly.