Gitlab hero border pattern left svg Gitlab hero border pattern right svg

Category Direction - Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration (CI) is an important part of any software development cycle, and defined as part of the Verify stage here at GitLab. CI must be easy to use, reliable, and accurate in terms of results, so that's the core of where we focus. While we are very proud that we are recognized as the leading CI/CD tool on the market, as well as a leader in the 2019 Q3 Cloud Native CI Wave, it's important for us that we continue to innovate in this area and provide not just a "good enough" solution, but a great one.

As we continue to improve the experience of running a pipeline, we also want to focus on helping you better understand the health of your pipelines. Making it easy to run a pipeline is our first focus and this applies to both running a pipeline manually as well as triggering one from a merge request. Our next goal is to provide statistics about your executed pipelines. Detailed information about your historical pipelines can lead to actionable insights that guide where you need to tune your CI configurations to make your pipelines run more efficiently.

Additional Resources

Note that features related to authoring/defining pipelines are in another category, so be sure to check out Pipeline Authoring if that's what you're looking for.

What's Next & Why

In gitlab#30101 we are making it easier to run a pipeline by pre-filling the variables on the Run Pipeline form. This eliminates the need to manually enter all the required key/value pairs of variables necessary to successfully execute the pipeline.

Maturity Plan

Since this category is already at the "Lovable" maturity level (see our definitions of maturity levels), it is important to us that we defend that position in the market. As such, we are balancing prioritization of important P2 issues and items from our backlog of popular smaller feature requests in addition to delivering new features that move the vision forward. If you feel there are any gaps or items that would risk making GitLab no longer lovable for you, please let us know.

Competitive Landscape

The majority of CI market conversation is between us, Jenkins, and GitHub Actions at this point. Atlassian has built BitBucket Pipelines, a more modernized version of Bamboo, which is still in the early stages. Microsoft is maintaining (at least for now) Azure DevOps at the same time as GitHub. CodeFresh and CircleCI have both released container-based plugin model, similar to GitHub Actions. CircleCI in particular is known for very fast startup times and we're looking to ensure we keep up or get even faster. Jenkins is largely seen as a legacy tool, and most people we speak with are interested in moving off to something more modern. We are addressing this with our Jenkins Importer category which is designed to make this as easy as possible.

Analyst Landscape

There are a few key findings from the Forrester Research analysts on our CI solution. GitLab is seen as capable as the solutions provided by the hyperclouds themselves, and well ahead of other neutral solutions. This can give our users flexibility when it comes to which cloud provider(s) they want to use. We are also seen as the best end to end leader, with other products not keeping up and not providing as comprehensive solutions. What this tells us is that it is important for us to continue to innovate and make it hard or even impossible for competitors to maintain pace.

As such, our path to improving our analyst performance matches our solutions above in terms of staying ahead of our competitors.

Top Customer Success/Sales Issue(s)

The most popular Customer Success issues as determined in FQ1-20 survey of the Technical Account Managers was filtering pipelines by status or branch. Also important for the sales team is gitlab#205494 which will allow for easier use of GitLab's security features when not using GitLab's CI.

In addition to features, our sales team has requested a Jenkins importer in order to make migrating to GitLab easier: this is being delivered via the Jenkins Importer category, but is mentioned here for completeness.

Top Customer Issue(s)

Our top customer issues (search results) include the following:

Another item with a lot of attention is to normalize job tokens in a more flexible way, so that they can have powerful abilities when needed and still not introduce security risks (gitlab#3559).

We also have a few issues about making variables available before includes are processed, however there is a "chicken and egg" problem here that has been difficult to solve. Child/parent pipelines solves some use cases, but not all, and in the meantime we are continuing the discussion in the issue gitlab#1809. If you're interested in technical discussion around the challenges and want to participate in solving them, please see the conversation here. There are two related epics here, Use a variable inside other variables in .gitlab-ci.yml and Raw (unexpanded) variables MVC

Top Internal Customer Issue(s)

Our top internal customer issues (search results) include the following:

Our top dogfooding issues (search results) are:

Top Vision Item(s)

Looking into the future, we have plans to provide a UI that provides detailed information and statistics about executed pipelines (gitlab#7838).

Git is a trademark of Software Freedom Conservancy and our use of 'GitLab' is under license