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Design :: Kubernetes Clusters Designations

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Idea/Problem Statement

As Kubernetes becomes more mature in the GitLab environment, we'll need to ensure we maintain consistent structure for what systems receive a Kubernetes Cluster, where that cluster is to be located, and which applications are applicable to be installed on our various clusters. We should also strive to maintain a compact infrastructure and limit ourselves with how many clusters we deploy to minimize the administrative effort of building out tooling and spending time and effort maintaining a large number of clusters. This document shall provide a guideline to specify which applications can be placed on clusters of similar types to avoid cluster sprawl.

This goal of this document is to define classifications for various types of applications:

What this document does not cover:

Please note this document will cover only clusters and applications for which the Infrastructure team of will take part in maintaining. Any clusters or applications built by other teams not discussed with our team ahead of this do not fall under the realm for which this document is targeting.


We shall classify the application type in order to specify where applications get placed inside of our Infrastructure. This classification will determine which clusters will contain specific applications, as well as the criteria for locating future applications.

Implementation Considerations

All kubernetes clusters shall be configured in their corresponding project where we define the boundaries of user access controls. All production data is normally housed in our gitlab-production project. Any other environment that has mock data for the purposes of testing the GitLab product will have its own cluster in the appropriate project. All systems or services which are not part of, but still maintain sensitive information shall exist in a shared GCP project (separate from gitlab-production) which contains its own Kubernetes cluster. And finally, any application which will not contain any sensitive user data shall reside in yet another GCP project. This will ensure we maintain a layer of security and access controls to each project and therefore each cluster that we are maintaining. consists of a large set of infrastructure components and private data. Clusters would consist of anything related to ensuring redundancy, operation, and monitoring of the website.

The project named gitlab-services will contain all applications that are created internally which are not part of the .com infrastructure but may contain secret or personal information. These will go on one cluster. Additional clusters will be created if needed for the purposes of having a testing environment for any applications which will only contain mock data.

Any cluster that does not contain any sensitive personal information of our community will go on a different cluster. These applications MAY not have any secondary cluster for testing. Instead we may namespace the applications to distinguish between production and a staging environment for said application.

Examples are the following:

Application Example GCP Project Example Kubernetes Cluster Designation gitlab-production Operations gitlab-staging1 Operations gitlab-dev Operations gitlab-ops Operations
version gitlab-services GitLab Company Operations
license gitlab-services GitLab Company Operations
customers gitlab-services GitLab Company Operations
forum gitlab-marketing GitLab Supporting Application
contributors gitlab-marketing GitLab Supporting Application
about gitlab-marketing GitLab Supporting Application
design gitlab-marketing GitLab Supporting Application


There can always be exceptions to the above. Create a merge request to start the discussion.