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.
|Content Last Reviewed||2023-03-08|
The Gitaly direction page belongs to the Systems Stage within the Enablement section, and is maintained by Mark Wood. The Gitaly Engineering team and stable counterparts can be found on the Engineering team page.
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, and Web IDE. 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.
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 management 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 within 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.
As our customers continue to grow their repositories (both in count and in size), it is critical that the underlying Gitaly services can scale appropriately to meet these demands. As a team, we have decided that the solution to several of the existing scalability issues surrounding Gitaly cluster is a paradigm shift in how we replicate Git data. As such, we have begun initial efforts in shifting to a decentralized architecture for Gitaly Cluster.
The highlights of this forward thinking approach are as follows:
Our customers all have different needs and Gitaly should properly handle all configurations, from the cost-conscious single node installation to the performance optimized multi-node high-availability installation. The following are all areas where we believe the Gitaly team can make meaningful impacts to our customers.
While this is not an area we own as a team, we believe that it is crucial for us to support the teams working in these areas to ensure that Git backups and data management allows for rapid and accurate restoration of Git data. The team is heavily involved in the GitLab disaster recovery working group, and are bringing the learnings of this group back to the Gitaly product.
Everyone has a budget for computation and storage, and it is not efficient or desired to over architect a solution to ensure that there is never service contention. For this reason, the Gitaly team is actively engaged on work that will allow the Gitaly service to defensively push back on traffic surges when they threaten system availability. The goals of this effort are to maintain system availability by rate limiting client commands (while ensuring data integrity) until the system is no longer overloaded. This will allow customers to "right size" their architecture without forcing over provisioning.
The next quarter of effort for Gitaly focuses around the following areas. This is not an exhaustive list, and based on other factors may be subject to change.
It is our goal to provide a stable and robust storage service for all Git traffic. As such, it is critical that we handle traffic efficiently, and fail gracefully when appropriate. The following epics outline work we wish to achieve in the short term with these goals in mind.
Allow the Gitaly service to defensively push back on traffic surges - This epic focuses on gracefully handling traffic spikes in a manner which is consistent and clear to our users. We want to design an experience that expects traffic surges, and as such, we want to be able to ensure that these surges to not cause any unexpected data loss or server failures. To be clear, it is not our intent to never return server busy messages as these are acceptable. However, we want to minimize these occurrences and when it is required to fail a request due to demand, clearly articulate the reasons.
Improve object pool support - Object pools are a great way for the Gitaly server to efficient pack data. Currently they are not used to their full potential, especially within a forking workflow when we replicate repositories. Our aim is to improve repository replication by making it aware of object pools and allow the replication to take advantage of the existing object pools. This effort will not only improve reliability and performance, it will also reduce the server overhead required around object pools.
Finalize the removal of the Gitaly Ruby Sidecar - Historically, Gitaly maintained a series of RPCs in Ruby called the Ruby Sidecar for Gitaly. This was done for efficiency reasons when Gitaly was first created as a project, but as we've matured Gitaly, it has become clear that this has become a maintenance issue. The team has worked diligently over multiple years to eliminate all Ruby code in the Gitaly codebase and just recently merged an MR to remove the final bits of Ruby code. However, there is still some cleanup work to be done outside of Gitaly, and we aim to finalize this effort in the next couple of releases.
The Gitaly team is actively working on supporting the Disaster Recovery Working Group. As such, we are actively working to integrate write-ahead logging for repository creations and deletions.
We are also working on bringing repository backup ownership into Gitaly as we feel this is the overall best place for this functionality long term. To do this, we are focusing on allowing direct to object storage backups and restoration.
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.
BIC (Best In Class) is an indicator of forecated near-term market performance based on a combination of factors, including analyst views, market news, and feedback from the sales and product teams. It is critical that we understand where GitLab appears in the BIC landscape.
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.
Support large repositories
As applications mature, the existing code base continues to grow. As such, average repository sizes are on the rise and version control systems must be able to handle these large repositories in a performant manner. Additionally, many development tasks may require version control of large files, which again, should be handled seamlessly.
Ensure data safety
Application code has a very high value to organizations. It is unacceptable to have a solution which does not make it easy to ensure the integrity of your data, as well as provide easy means of backing up and restoring your data should something go wrong. Ideally, these solutions should use efficient and cost effective storage to optimize your business infrastructure.
Important competitors are GitHub.com and Perforce which, in relation to Gitaly, compete with GitLab in terms of raw Git performance and support for enormous repositories respectively.
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.
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 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:
Gitaly is a non-marketable category, and is therefore not assigned a maturity level.
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.