Jan 17, 2022
Available now on GitLab

The latest features available on GitLab SaaS

New features are regularly released to GitLab SaaS (GitLab.com), with a packaged release available for GitLab Self-Managed on the 22nd of every month. Read on to learn more about the new features available on GitLab.com. Note that it may take a few days for a feature to become fully available on GitLab.com, due to deployment schedule and potential feature flags.

Additional information on past releases is available; be sure to check out the release for other features we've launched recently. We also have information about upcoming releases if you're interested in seeing what we are doing next.

Key improvements released in GitLab Preview

OpenID Connect support for GitLab CI/CD

Connecting GitLab CI/CD to cloud providers using environment variables works fine for many use cases but does not scale well if you need advanced permissions management or would prefer a signed, short-lived, contextualized connection to your cloud provider. GitLab 12.10 shipped initial support for JWT token-based connection (CI_JOB_JWT) to enable HashiCorp Vault users to safely retrieve secrets. That implementation was restricted to Vault, while the logic we built JWT upon opened up the possibility to connect to other providers as well. In GitLab 14.7, we are introducing a CI_JOB_JWT_V2 environment variable that can be used to connect to AWS, GCP, Vault, and likely many other cloud services.

With the new CI_JOB_JWT_V2 variable you can connect to AWS to retrieve secrets or to deploy within your account. You can manage access rights to your cluster using AWS IAM roles. We have documentation on setting up OIDC connection with AWS, GCP, and Azure.

The new variable is automatically injected into your pipeline but is not backward compatible with the current CI_JOB_JWT. Until GitLab 15.0, the CI_JOB_JWT will continue to work normally but this will change in a future release. We’ll keep you posted. The secrets stanza today uses the CI_JOB_JWT_V1 variable. If you use the secrets stanza, you don’t have to make any changes yet. We plan to change this behaviour in a future release, and we will notify you about the change in time.

OpenID Connect support for GitLab CI/CD

Streaming audit events

You can now stream audit events to a destination of your choosing! This is a great way to correlate GitLab audit events with other data streams you have, maintain a backup of audit events, or build out your own automation to take action when a specific audit event happens.

You can specify an HTTPS endpoint with our new GraphQL API and events are sent to it as webhooks. These messages contain the same information as the Audit Events UI about what type of change happened, when it happened, who was involved, as well as some additional metadata.

Once you receive those messages, you can filter based on person, type, or inject that data into another third-party tool. This is a great way to trigger any custom automation you have built if, for example, a new user is created or a key setting is changed. We’re excited to see what you use streaming audit events for and would love to hear from you about it! Let us know by commenting on the epic.

Other improvements in GitLab Preview

GitLab UI identifies to administrators that a user is locked

In previous versions of GitLab, administrators could not see in the UI that a user was locked. Now, the GitLab UI identifies locked users to administrators, which helps confirm they are locked.

GitLab UI identifies to administrators that a user is locked

Setting to enable personalization questions during group creation

In previous releases, we added personalization questions to the group creation process. This information might be helpful for our SaaS users on gitlab.com, but less helpful for self-managed instances. We found out that these additional questions confuse the users and complicate the group creation process. In this release, thanks to Jonas Wälter’s contribution, we’ve added the ability for GitLab administrators to disable these questions.

Setting to enable personalization questions during group creation

Sort Docker tags in the Container Registry browser

You can now sort the list of tags in the Container Registry tag details page by name. Previously, there was no sort functionality. This sometimes required you to scroll through many pages to find a specific tag. By default, the tags list is now sorted by name in ascending order. You may also change the sort order to descending. See this issue to track any further work on tag sorting.

Static Analysis analyzer updates

GitLab Static Analysis is comprised of a set of many security analyzers that the GitLab Static Analysis team actively manages, maintains, and updates. Below are the analyzer updates released during 14.6. These updates bring additional coverage, bug fixes, and improvements.

If you include the GitLab managed vendored SAST template (SAST.gitlab-ci.yml) you do not need to do anything to receive these updates. However, if you override or customize your own CI/CD template, you need to update your CI/CD configurations. To remain on a specific version of any analyzer, you can pin to a minor version of an analyzer. Pinning to a previous version prevents you from receiving automatic analyzer updates and requires you to manually bump your analyzer version in your CI/CD template.

Backup and restore supports Terraform state files

The GitLab-managed Terraform state backend can store your Terraform state securely, sparing you the need to set up additional remote resources. Before GitLab 14.7, our backup and restore rake tasks did not support Terraform state files. GitLab now includes Terraform state files in backups created with the command gitlab-backup create. Administrators no longer need to have a separate backup strategy for these files to protect against data loss. Note that this only applies to items stored in the file system. If you are storing Terraform state files using object storage, enable backups with your object storage provider.

Go to Git blame from code search results

Users often want to understand more about code search results, such as when was a file changed or by whom. Now users can easily answer these questions with fewer clicks by using the View blame link in Global Search results. This change adds an additional link next to lines of code when hovering over results from a code search.

Go to Git blame from code search results

LDAP failover support

You can now specify multiple hosts (using hosts) in your GitLab LDAP configuration. GitLab will use the first reachable host. This ensures continuity of access to GitLab should one of your LDAP hosts become unresponsive.

Thanks to Mathieu Parent for the contribution!

Runner status badges in Admin view

You can now easily visualize the state of all the runners on your instance. The Admin Area for runners now includes status badges and big, bold numbers, so you can see critical data at a glance, improving your runner fleet management experience.

Runner status badges in Admin view

Major Gitleaks performance improvements

Building on the large rule expansion included in GitLab 14.5, we are updating our GitLab Secret Detection analyzer, Gitleaks, to the next major version: (v8). This new, major version includes massive performance updates and a complete rewrite of its core detection engine. Secret Detection historical scans should now run much faster, with a large reduction in memory usage. This means both faster detection and shorter (and more efficient) pipelines. This change also sets us up to make more performance improvements that will improve all non-historical Secret Detection job runs in the future.

Here’s some real world performance data showcasing the speed and memory decreases of v8:

  • Large repo (~82K commits) https://github.com/rails/rails
    • memory: 800 MB -> 120 MB (6.67x reduction)
    • scan time: 28 minutes -> 1 minute 24 seconds (21x speedup)
  • Medium Repo (~600 commits) https://github.com/zricethezav/gitleaks
    • memory: 300 MB -> 30 MB (10x reduction)
    • scan time: 27 seconds -> 8.9 seconds (3x speedup)
  • Small Repo (~36 commits) - https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/tests/secrets
    • memory: 26 MB -> 8.4 MB (3x reduction)
    • scan time: 315 ms -> 277 ms

We want to give Zachary Rice a special shoutout, as not only is he a member of the GitLab team, but he’s the creator and maintainer of the open source Gitleaks project, which has helped many organizations, both public and private, search their codebases for leaked secrets. We are thrilled to support his work with Gitleaks, as well as his contributions to the wider open source community.

Delete an agent from the UI

The GitLab Agent for Kubernetes is tested and adopted by hundreds of GitLab customers each month, a few users noticed that it is not straightforward to remove a registered Agent from GitLab. Until now, the agent could be removed only through the GraphQL API. Introduced in GitLab 14.7, you can delete an agent directly from the GitLab UI.

When you delete the agent, GitLab revokes its tokens and the given connection stops working immediately.

Backup and restore supports package registry files

With the GitLab Package Registry, you can use GitLab as a private or public registry for a variety of supported package managers. Before GitLab 14.7, our backup and restore Rake tasks did not support package registry files. GitLab now includes package registry files in backups created with the command gitlab-backup create. Administrators no longer need to have a separate backup strategy for these files to protect against data loss. Note that this only applies to items stored in the file system. If you are storing package registry files using object storage, enable backups with your object storage provider.


Please check out the changelog to see all the named changes:


If you are setting up a new GitLab installation please see the download GitLab page.


Check out our update page.

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