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Category Direction - Runner SaaS

Runner SaaS

Runner SaaS is the product development effort that supports runners on GitLab SaaS product offerings. Our vision for Runner SaaS is to offer customers highly scalable, performant, and secure CI build capabilities that allow organizations with the most stringent separation of duties and compliance requirements to run their CI workloads on GitLab SaaS. This vision directly supports two product investment themes for FY23; GitLab hosted first and extending our lead in CI/CD.

Who we are focusing on?

Check out our Ops Section Direction "Who's is it for?" for an in depth look at the our target personas across Ops. For Runner, our "What's Next & Why" are targeting the following personas, as ranked by priority for support:

  1. Devon - DevOps Engineer
  2. Sasha - Software Developer
  3. Delaney - Development Team Lead
  4. Priyanka - Platform Engineer

Runner SaaS Solutions

Offer Name Offer Status
Runner SaaS for Linux GA
Runner SaaS for Windows Beta
Runner SaaS for macOS Beta

Strategic Priorities

The table below represents the current strategic priorities for Runner SaaS. This list will change with each monthly revision of this direction page.

Theme-Category Item Why? Target delivery QTR
Scalability Segmentation by plan type Today we do not delineate access to tiers of service on Runner SaaS by plan type. As we continue to grow GitLab SaaS, a critical next phase is to offer different Runner SaaS capabilities and service levels by plan type. This foundational capability not only sets the stage for those future offers, but is also another pillar in enabling us to consistently deliver service levels in line with our stated SLO targets. FY23 Q1
macOS Runner SaaS for macOS General Availability In Q3 FY22, we launched the Runner SaaS for macOS beta. To date, the user and customer demand for this service has been exceptional. And further reinforcing the one DevOps strategy, the current beta participants strongly favor having a fully integrated build solution for the Apple ecosystem embedded in GitLab. We plan to launch this offer in GA and to evolve it so that customers on GitLab SaaS can simply focus on writing code and be rest assured that the capabilities to build their software is fully managed by GitLab FY23 Q1
Scalability Implement a new autoscaling solution - Runner SaaS for Linux OS The Runner SaaS for Linux handles millions of CI jobs each month. The autoscaling architecture that is the foundation of this solution has served us well. However, since its introduction, we have launched new autoscaling solutions to manage the Runner SaaS for Windows and macOS. In addition, the core technology used for Linux, Docker Machine, is no longer maintained by Docker. Though we maintain a fork of Docker Machine, the right long-term strategy is to iterate towards the next generation autoscaler for the Runner SaaS. This architectural technology pivot will enable us to accomplish several goals. First - enabling GitLab to scale over the next five years. And in the near term, ensure that we can consistently achieve and exceed our CI Runners SLO goal of 99.95% availability. FY23 Q2
Windows Runner SaaS for Windows General Availability We launched the Runner SaaS for Windows in beta in FY21Q1. At the time, our initial plan was to transition the offer to GA within a few quarters. However, due to other strategic priorities, we delayed that timeline. Now users and customers rely on a Windows build solution hosted on GitLab SaaS for their mission-critical CI/CD builds, so we must migrate the Windows offer to GA. FY23 Q3

Ongoing Maintenance

In conjunction with the development work required to deliver the strategic priorities listed above, in each milestone, the Runner SaaS team will devote up to 40% of available developer capacity across the categories listed below.

Maturity Plan

The Runner SaaS maturity level is "Minimal". We are also evaluating this category with a Category maturity scorecard via gitlab&6090. For more information (see our definitions of maturity levels).

Competitive Landscape

Organizations that use Cloud-native CI/CD solutions, such as, CircleCI, and GitHub, can run their CI/CD pipelines and get to a first green build without setting up build servers, installing and configuring build agents, or runners.

In addition to eliminating CI build server maintenance costs, there are other critical considerations for organizations that can migrate 100% of their CI/CD processes to a cloud-native solution. These include security, reliability, performance, multiple build server and configuration options, and on-demand scale.

Competitive Matrix

Solution Build server environments offered Build server options
Runner SaaS Linux, Windows, macOS Linux = 1 vCPU, 3.75 GB RAM; Windows = 2 vCPU, 7.5 GB
GitHub Actions Linux, Windows, macOS Linux & Windows = Microsoft Azure Standard_DS2_v2 VM's ( 2 vCPU, 7 GB RAM; macOS = 3 vCPU, 14 GB RAM
CircleCI Linux, Windows, macOS CircleCI machine executor = 2 vCPU, 7.5 GB RAM, 4 vCPU, 15 GB RAM, 8 vCPU, 32 GB RAM, 16 vCPU, 64 GB RAM;

Give Feedback

If you have questions about a specific runner feature request or have a requirement that's not yet in our backlog, you can provide feedback or open an issue in the GitLab Runner repository.

Revision Date

This direction page was revised on: 2022-01-10

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