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Plan to Monitor (p2m) Demo

Note: This is the latest video. Work to catch up these demo instructions to match the video is underway.


Today, modern software development teams need version control for everything, automated testing, support for complex build and deployment configurations, and end-to-end visibility and traceability so they can work to improve their software development and operations over time. But for most teams, getting this tooling right is incredibly difficult.

This demonstration will highlight GitLab’s single platform for the complete DevOps lifecycle, from plan to monitor, through issues, planning, merge request, CI, CD, and monitoring.

If you encounter issues replicating this demo on GKE or on your own Kubernetes cluster please open an issue. We're still working to improve this demo further, please see all open idea-to-production issues.


  • Disable desktop notifications (on a Mac, top-right corner, option click).
  • Open up new browser window so the audience doesn’t see all your other open tabs.
  • Resize your browser window to something reasonable for sharing. 1280x720 is a good option. Here's a handy AppleScript if you're on a Mac and using Chrome. Add it to your User Scripts folder and show the Script menu in your menu bar, and it'll be really easy to trigger.
  • Consider just sharing web browser window so the audience isn’t distracted by notes or other windows.
  • If displaying full-screen, go to 'Displays' settings, Resolution: Scaled, Larger text.
  • Consider opening this page on an iPad that has screen lock disabled.

GitLab installation

There are four options:

  1. Log in at (for GitLab sales people)
  2. Set up a cluster on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)
  3. set up a cluster on Azure Container Service (ACS)
  4. Offline local demo environment with Minikube

If you need to use a license, GitLab team-members have access to You can generate a license there to use in your demo, using the manual creation option. Please keep the users count low and the expiration date sometime in the near feature, so that if the license is ever leaked, there would be little benefit to anybody using it who shouldn't be.

Project set up


  • Delete previous GitLab groups you made last time
  • Delete previous Kubernetes namespace for projects (kubectl delete namespace minimal-ruby-app-<project-id>)
  • Delete previous Mattermost team or at least leave Mattermost team

Create a user

Note: If using a shared demo, each demo-giver only needs to do this once.

Now let's register a new user in our GitLab server.

  • Click Register
  • Create a user with your name and email address (no verification sent)

Create a group (optional, if showing Chat)

We've got GitLab running and we're logged in. Since we'll want to work as a team, we'll create a GitLab group. Groups allow you to organize projects into directories and quickly gives users access to several projects at once. You can even nest subgroups under groups to match your org structure. Let’s give ours a unique name.

  • Click hamburger menu in top-left corner > Groups
  • Click New Group
  • Give the group a unique name, perhaps the name of the company you're demoing to, or a made up name (all lowercase, no spaces or special characters other than -)
  • Change Visibility level to Public
  • Click Create group

Create a project

Note: If you've given the demo before, make sure to delete the minimal-ruby-app project first.

Now let’s create a new project. I'll import from a really simple example app just to save myself some typing.

  • Click New Project
  • Under Import project, click Repo by URL
  • Set Git repository URL to
  • Set Project name to minimal-ruby-app
  • Make it public

Set up GitLab Auto DevOps

Now we’re ready to configure GitLab Auto DevOps, which is the easiest way to configure GitLab CI/CD with a bunch of best practices already built in. Let’s go to the CI/CD settings. We just need to enable Auto DevOps and give it a base domain.

  • Go to Settings > CI/CD
  • Expand Auto DevOps
  • Check the box Default to Auto DevOps pipeline
  • Change domain to (or the base domain you are using) by creating the KUBE_INGRESS_BASE_DOMAIN variable
  • Leave the default of Continuous deployment to production
  • Click Save changes

Now we see it kicked off the first pipeline, which I'll dig into later, but for now, it's great to know that without any effort, we've got a fully functional CI/CD pipeline.

Great, that completes our setup.

Project permissions (optional)

Okay, so everything we need to bring an application from plan to monitor is set up. But let's assume you want to safeguard your source code before handing this over to your developers. I'll take you through a few key ways you can outline project permissions and manage your team's workflows.

User roles and permissions: Since this is a public project, we’ll want to ensure that we have a way to manage what actions each team member can take. For example, we may want only certain people to be able to merge to master or to be able to adjust the CI project configuration.

Change a user’s permission level: In GitLab, permissions are managed at a user and group level and they apply to projects and GitLab CI. We have five different role types, so you can set granular permissions and keep your code and configurations management secure. To save your admins time and the headache of managing multiple logins, GitLab integrates with your Active Directory and LDAP. You can just connect GitLab to your LDAP server and it will automatically sync users, groups, and admins.

Project settings: In addition to permissions, we also have features to help you manage the team’s workflow and bake quality control into your development process.

Navigate to project settings for protected branches: It’s no secret that code review is essential to keeping code quality high. But when the team is on a deadline, there could be an incentive to skip code review and force-push changes. Therefore, in addition to permissions, we also allow you to identify protected branches to prevent people from pushing code without review. The master branch is protected by default but you can easily protect other branches, like your QA branch, and restrict push and merge access to certain users or groups.

Navigate to project settings for merge request approvals: If you want to take code review a step further and ensure your code is always reviewed and signed off by specific team members, you can enable merge request approvals. GitLab lets you set the number of necessary approvals and predefine a list of approvers or approval groups that will need to approve every merge request in the project.

Permissions, merge request approvals, and protected branches help you build quality control into your development process so you can confidently hand GitLab over to your developers to get started on turning their ideas into a reality.

Plan to Monitor (formerly Idea to Production) (main demo)

Issue (Plan)

Let's create our first issue, starting from an issue board.

  • Go to Issues > Boards
  • Click on + in Backlog column
  • Set Title to Make homepage prettier
  • Submit issue
  • Click X to close issue if needed

Board (Plan)

Inspiration is perishable, so let's pick this one up right away. Since this is our first time, we have to add a couple columns here to match our workflow. These columns are fully-customizable and you can have multiple Issue Boards per project to help your team organize their releases. I'll just add the default "To Do" and "Doing" columns.

  • Add default lists

There. Now we can just move the new issue from the backlog into the Doing column, because we want to resolve this issue right now.

  • Drag issue from Backlog to Doing

Commit (Create)

Now let’s get coding! I'll click through to the issue and create a new merge request. This creates a new branch for me, starting with the issue number to keep them associated and automatically specifies that this merge request will close the issue once it's merged.

  • Click on issue title in issue board card
  • Click Create merge request

Clicking through to the branch, I see that it's a really simple app. Viewing the files I can see it's basically just Hello World, but with some random timings to make monitoring more interesting. I'm going to go ahead and update the message and remove the TODO comment using the WebIDE.

  • Click on branch name (e.g. 1-make-homepage-prettier)
  • Click on server.rb
  • Click WebIDE button

The WebIDE, which is a part of GitLab gives me a development environment without any configuration necessary on my client. I can edit multiple files, stage my changes, preview them, commit, and view the resulting pipeline statuses all from the IDE.

  • Change Hello, world! to <h1>Hello, world!</h1>
  • Delete the #TODO: use HTML line
  • Click the Commit... button

When I commit changes the WebIDE immediately shows me the diffs so I can do a quick check of my changes. I can then stage the changes I want to commit, add a commit message, and then I have some options about branching. Since we already have a merge request started on this branch I'll just commit to the existing branch.

  • Double-click on server.rb to move it to Staged changes
  • For the commit message type Added HTML
  • Make sure Commit to <your branch name> branch is selected (eg. Commit to 1-make-homepage-prettier branch)
  • Click the Commit button
  • If popup asks to show notifications, click Allow

Build Stage (Verify)

After the commit, we can see in the WebIDE that it automatically kicked off the CI/CD Pipeline that will test our contributed code. We can see the pipeline contains many stages including Build, Test, Review, dynamic testing, and then Cleanup.

  • Click on rocket icon in the top right of the WebIDE

In the build job, we build the Docker container image and push it to the built-in container registry.

  • Click on the View log button in the Build stage
  • Slide open the resulting pane to show more at once

If we didn't have a Dockerfile, it would have used Heroku buildpacks to detect the language and framework and build an appropriate Docker image.

Runner progress

(optional: if CI/CD is taking a while)

While it’s running, we can head back to our Kubernetes console to see that our GitLab Runner is working directly with Kubernetes to spawn new containers for each job, as they are needed. It even creates a namespace for the project, providing isolation.

  • Go to Kubernetes
  • Change Namespace to default
  • Click on Pods
  • Change the Namespace drop-down to minimal-ruby-app-<number>
  • Click on Pods

Test stage (Verify)

Let's look at this same pipeline from a different view.

  • Click the < View jobs button to get back to pipeline view
  • Click the Pipeline ###### (should be a link) at the top of the panel

In the Test stage we see six jobs…

Code Quality (Verify)

  • Click code_quality

The code_quality job, runs static analysis on your code to look for stylistic and other quality problems. Catching these types of problems early makes them 100's of times cheaper to fix, and helps keep technical debt away.

Container scanning (Security)

(optional: requires GitLab Ultimate)
  • Click back (to pipeline view)
  • Click container_scanning

The container_scanning job analyzes your application environments (your containers) for known security vulnerabilities. This makes sure that your application is running in as secure an environment as possible from the start.

Dependency scanning (Security)

(optional: requires GitLab Ultimate)
  • Click back (to pipeline view)
  • Click dependency_scanning

The dependency_scanning job finds and reports on security vulnerabilities in the libraries your application is dependent on. This catches reliance on vulnerable libraries and provides the opportunity to correct them before development gets too far.

License compliance (Verify)

(optional: requires GitLab Ultimate)
  • Click back (to pipeline view)
  • Click license_management

The license_management job analyzes your application dependencies and highlights the presence of licenses you don't want to use, or new ones that need a decision. This catches reliance on libraries with unwanted licenses early, before it is more costly to change.

Static Application Security Testing (Security)

(optional: requires GitLab Ultimate)
  • Click back (to pipeline view)
  • Click sast

The sast job runs static application security testing on your code to look for known security vulnerabilities. Catching security vulnerabilities early means less work to resolve the issues, less costs, and safer code from the start.

Test (Verify)

  • Click back (to pipeline view)
  • Click test

The test job detects the language used, again using Heroku buildpacks, and runs the language appropriate tests you've defined. In this case it's Ruby, so it runs rake test.

Review (Create)

Review apps

When the tests pass, it automatically creates a temporary review app in our Kubernetes cluster.

  • Go Back (to pipeline view)
  • Click on Review

Here we see a bunch of steps it’s doing automatically for us with the highlight being a deployment to Kubernetes, using our default Helm chart. If the app had a Helm chart in the project itself, it would have used that custom chart instead. Or I can even add a project variable to point to another chart. But here, we’re using the default.

To see the beauty of the review app, let’s go back to the merge request.

  • Click on the commit ID above the pipeline to get to the commit page
  • From the commit page, go to the linked MR (begins with a “!”)

Here we see a new line showing us that it was deployed to the review app, and here’s the URL to actually see my changes running live. This is great because I don’t want to trust reading the code; I want to see it live in a production-like environment and this review app provides that.

  • Click on external link to review app

So this is what we just changed, and any new changes pushed to our branch will automatically update the app.

Now back to the merge request…

  • Close review app tab
  • Click Expand on Code quality

We see there’s a new line for the code quality. We see that it likes that we removed the TODO. If we made things worse, it would show up here as well.

And there's a new line for the security scanning, showing that no security vulnerabilities were detected.

Code review

At this point we'd usually ask for another developer on the team to review our merge request. They can see the exact code that has changed, comment on it, and we'd see a thread of the discussion, as well as get an email notification, of course.

  • Close review app tab
  • Close environment tab
  • Click on Changes
  • Click on a changed line to show ability to comment
  • Comment "Looks good", Comment
  • Go to Discussion tab to see comment

Merge to master

This all looks great so let’s remove the WIP status and merge the changes into the master branch.

  • Click Resolve WIP status
  • Check Remove source branch
  • Click Merge

Production (Package & Release)

  • Click on CI/CD > Pipelines
  • Click on top pipeline

Now we see it’s kicked off a new pipeline. And inside this pipeline, it looks familiar, but a little different. Instead of creating a review app, this one is deploying right into production. This is continuous deployment at its best.

Environments with deployment history

  • Go to Environments

Going to the Environments page, I see production listed here and the last deploy happened less than a minute ago. And I can easily click through to see what it looks like.

  • Click external URL link (left-most button)

There we go! We've got our new formatting changes; all the way from plan to monitor!

  • Close production app tab

Scaling and Deploy Boards (Configure) (optional: requires GitLab EE)

Now, there’s more to this page. Here I see the deploy board for production. Right now it's only showing a single pod, but let’s go and scale that up. I’ll go to CI/CD settings and add a project variable to set the PRODUCTION_REPLICAS to 4.

Now let’s go back. And I can redeploy.

Soon we’ll see the deploy board update in realtime as the fleet rolls out, and we can wait a bit to see the deploy finish.

Monitoring (Monitor)

So that's a high level status of the deploy, but how about monitoring the ongoing health of your app environments? Clicking on the graph icon, I see response metrics, with latency, error rate, and throughput, and system metrics, with CPU and memory usage, and all of these are taken from the built-in Prometheus monitoring, the leading open-source monitoring solution. There’s not much to see right now, but this will show the last 8 hours so you can monitor how your app is doing. There's lines for each deploy as well, so you can corelate changes in performance caused by recent deployments. Application performance monitoring can help your team be more strategic, preventing errors vs. simply reacting to them. Imagine if your application monitoring tool could help you avoid pushing poor-performing code in the first place, saving your business future downstream costs? That's exactly where we are heading.

Closing the loop (optional)

Let's close the loop here and go back to our merge request. Since it's already been merged, we have to look for it in the right tab.

  • Go to Merge Requests > Merged
  • Click on top merge request

On the merge request, we now see another status showing that this code has indeed been deployed to production. This is great for managers looking at closed merge requests to know if they've actually been deployed or not. But we go further and show feedback about your application's performance, right on the merge request, telling you how much your memory usage changed before and after the merge request was deployed.

Custom pipeline - staging and canary (optional: requires GitLab EE)

So that covers Auto DevOps from build, test, code quality, review app, deploy to production, and monitoring. Pretty awesome. But what if you want to do something differently?

Well, here I’ll go to manually set up CI, but instead of having to start from scratch and re-create all that we just saw, I can pick Auto DevOps from the templates, and import the whole thing.

  • Go to Overview
  • Click on Set up CI
  • Pick Auto DevOps template

There’s a lot in here, but it’s not as scary as it first looks. And there’s some helpful tips in here already. Say I’m not ready for continuous deployment to production, I can just uncomment out this staging job. And if I want to add canary deployments, I uncomment this one. I then just need to uncomment this one last line to make my deployments to production manual and I’m ready to go.

  • Remove leading . from staging job
  • Remove leading . from canary job
  • Remove # in front of when: manual line in production job

So I save this into master. And now I see another pipeline is kicked off. This one again looks familiar, but there are two new stages for staging and canary.

  • Commit changes to master
  • Go to CI/CD > Pipelines
  • Click on top pipeline

Let's just wait for staging to finish deploying. There, now we can go back to environments and see there's a new staging environment. With this configuration staging is going to be automatically updated with the latest changes.

  • Go to CI/CD > Environments
  • Click on staging external URL
  • Close staging tab

But production is no longer going to update automatically. When we're ready, we have to manually promote from staging to production. But we’re not going to ship directly to the entire production fleet. GitLab supports canary deploys, basically letting you deploy to a smaller portion of your fleet to reduce risk. So here I'll click on the Canary manual action to start the deployment. And I can even see my canary deployment happening in the deploy board!

  • Click on staging manual action dropdown, select Canary
  • Expand staging deploy board

Now there's one new pod in production running the new canary code, and it's taking a portion of production traffic, but the rest of the pods are still running the old code. This is a great way to reduce risk in deployments.

When we’ve validated that the canary is working as expected, we can then go and ship it completely to production. Let's go ahead and do that now.

  • Click on production manual action, select Production
  • Wait for deployment to finish
  • Click on production external URL

Great, now it’s in production!

So whether you want continuous deployment to production, or a continuous delivery flow that’s more under your control, or even if you want something else altogether, we’ve got you covered.

  • Close production tab

Feedback (Cycle Analytics) (optional)

To help you spot bottlenecks in your development process, GitLab has a built-in dashboard that tracks how long it takes the team to move from plan to monitor.

  • Go to Overview > Cycle Analytics

Here we can see some metrics on the overall health of our project, and then a breakdown of average times spent in each stage on the way from plan to monitor. So far, we're doing amazingly well, by completing a release cycle in minutes.

This is great for managers looking to better understand their company's release cycle time, which is critical to staying competitive and responding to customers and changing market needs.

Instance Monitoring (optional)

Not only does Prometheus monitor your apps, but it monitors the GitLab instance itself. Let's go to the Prometheus dashboard.

  • Visit Prometheus (Change the domain to match the domain used for your GitLab installation)

Let’s look at a couple simple queries that show how your GitLab instance is performing. Here’s our CPU usage:

  • Copy 1 - rate(node_cpu{mode="idle"}[5m]) into the Expression bar; hit enter.
  • Click Graph

And then memory usage:

  • Copy (1 - ((node_memory_MemFree + node_memory_Cached) / node_memory_MemTotal)) * 100 into the Expression Bar; hit enter.


So that's it. In less than 10 minutes, we took an idea through the complete DevOps lifecyle, with issue tracking, planning with an issue board, committing to the repo, testing with continuous integration, reviewing with a merge request and a review app, debugging in the terminal, deploying to production, scaling the application, application performance monitoring, and closing the feedback loop with cycle analytics. And all of this on top of a container scheduler that allows GitLab, the GitLab Runners for CI, and the applications that we deploy, to scale. Welcome to GitLab, the single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle, helping you bring modern applications from plan to monitor, quickly and reliably.