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Continuous Integration (CI) is an important part of any software development cycle, and defined as part of the Verify stage here at GitLab. As declared in our Ops Section direction, we recognize a key advantage of GitLab CI is that we can define pipelines as code, while making CI easy to use, reliable, and accurate in terms of its results. 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, and it's important for us that we continue to innovate in this area and provide not just a "good enough" solution, but a speedy and reliable one.
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 automatically when submitting a code commit or a merge request. In addition, we want to provide data for examining your pipeline's performance, so that you can optimize CI configurations to make your pipelines run more efficiently.
Check out our Ops Section Direction "Who's is it for?" for an in depth look at the our target personas across Ops. For Continuous Integration, our "What's Next & Why" are targeting the following personas, as ranked by priority for support:
As part of the FY23 Product Themes we plan to support the following areas.
This is a key milestone to delivering our top priority of enforcement of CI/CD minutes limits for public projects. We are on track to deliver the work in the FY23-Q2 to add limits for public projects while retaining a superior experience for the Open Source Projects that belong to GitLab's Open Source Program.
We have heard from GitLab SaaS users that they would like to set quotas on projects like Self Managed namespace admins can. We have set a stretch goal to deliver Configure CI/CD Quotas by project in the first half of the year.
As we talk to more DevOps Engineers we are learning about new use cases we need to support around viewing pipelines and jobs. So to Improve Key workflow usability we are also prioritizing the pipeline and jobs views such as gitlab#293862, including the addition of a job status filter. We are also improving the experience between pipelines types via gitlab#217718.
We are also working with the UX department to address high severity UX issues that affect the usability of the GitLab Platform.
Our current maturity is at "Complete" and the next maturity target is "Lovable" (see our definitions of maturity levels). We previously reached "Lovable" in 2017, after being listed a CI Leader. In order to maintain this lead while staying ahead of the changing DevOps landscape needs for stability, performance and quality we need to restablish a strong foundation of the core elements for CI. As such, we are prioritizing bugs and user experience improvements, while continuing to design and validate features for future implementation that move our vision forward. The following investments will be key to moving our maturity forward in the next two quarters of 2022:
These investments will lay the ground work to deliver on the top vision items in 2022 (see Epic#4794) which involve features under these key areas:
Our strategy above to regain a category maturity of "Lovable" is two-fold - first, a renewed focus on strengthening the core features of CI that support running a pipeline; and second, deliver features that provides you with a better understanding of how your jobs and pipelines are performing. To execute with purpose on these plans means there are opportunities in the CI category that we will not be pursuing. While this is not an exhaustive list, below are popular features/topics representing groups of issues that are currently not on our roadmap.
The majority of CI market conversation is between us, Jenkins, and GitHub Actions at this point. An example of this placement is from Jet Brain's 5th annual Developer Ecosystem Survey which has placed GitLab as #2 CI solution for enterprises. 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 Actions but for personal usage GitHub Actions is gaining traction among developers. 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.
From GitHub's 2022 Roadmap, we are seeing GitLab-reminiscent features which include Pull Request Merge Queue, akin to Merge Trains with a fit-finish that we aim to make easier in gitlab#294169. Also to note is an emphasis on governance and controls with Audit Log streaming, bringing parity to the capabilities GitLab has created with the Compliance group's Audit Event streaming.
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.
The Field teams are typically most interested in uptier features like Premium and Ultimate. The top requested issues in these tiers include a Group Level Dashboard and adding metrics for pipeline and job data to be exported for OpenTelemetry. 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.
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. There are two related epics here, Use a variable inside other variables in .gitlab-ci.yml and Raw (unexpanded) variables MVC
Our top internal customer issues (search results) include the following:
Our top dogfooding issues (search results) are:
Looking to the future, we have plans to help you better monitor and understand your pipeline epic#4794. Having details about pipeline activities (such as job duration) will allow you to see and react to what's happening while your pipeline is running. Beyond using data simply for reactive purposes, we have plans for a customizable UI for historical pipelines analytics so you can see the trends that will guide your planning and decision making.
Even further into the future, we are looking to expand insights and predications of CI use to help you reduce waste in our 3-year vision via gitlab&4793.