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GitLab 9 Brings Subgroups, Deploy Boards, and Integrated Monitoring

| by Sergio De Simone Follow 6 Followers on Mar 31, 2017. Estimated reading time: 4 minutes |

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GitLab has announced version 9 of its collaborative platform for software development. Some of its most notable new features are subgroups and integrated performance monitoring, among others.

Available both in the community and enterprise editions, subgroups aim to represent complex hierarchical structures that are found in many organizations. For example, in a given project, you could have a subgroup for the backend team, one for the frontend, and another for the design, each with its own repositories and, possibly, subgroups. GitLab supports up to 20 levels of nesting of subgroups. Members of a groups inherit all of the privileges of its parent group and can be the target of specific group mentions, thus allowing a finer-grade control of notifications.

A feature that will improve teams' productivity is the further integration of the Prometheus monitoring system into GitLab CI/CD pipeline. In particular, GitLab 9 makes it easy to use monitoring for development environments, including Review Apps, which are ephemeral environments tied to the lifecycle of a specific branch. Currently, GitLab allows to monitor CPU and memory usage, but in the future it is planned to be able to gauge the performance impact of a merge and support more metrics.

Another major new feature, though only available in the premium enterprise edition, are Deploy Boards, which will allow users to watch a Kubernetes deploy through all of its phases on multiple servers, making it easy to identify any possible issues without accessing Kubernetes.

GitLab 9 includes many more features, some of them only available in the enterprise editions, such as support for exporting issues, database load balancing, and many more that you can read about in the official announcement.

InfoQ has spoken with Sid Sijbrandij, Co-Founder and CEO at GitLab.

GitLab is often though of as a web-based Git repo manager. Still, it has grown with so many features that go well beyond that, including CI/CD, issue management, analytics, and chat. How would you define today’s GitLab? What is the balance of its features?

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working to make modern software development more accessible to enterprise development teams. We’ve moved from offering lightweight issue tracking, version control and CI in a single platform to now connecting every step in the software development lifecycle into a single elegant UI. GitLab today is the number one solution for self-hosted Git repository management with approximately two-thirds of the market.

In 9.0, we released new features that improve collaboration and discreet ownership, allow visibility throughout code deployments and enable built-in application monitoring. Specifically these features include: subgroups, deploy boards, and performance monitoring.

The balance with GitLab is that we’ve created a solution with everyone in mind. Everything we do is about making software development easier and more accessible to everyone and streamlining development through every stage of the process.

A few weeks ago, GitLab incurred a major incident leading to a long outage and data loss. How have the organization and affected customers recovered from that? How far along are you on the road to implementing the improvements in your recovery procedures that were announced at that time? Finally, what is the lesson you learned?

Immediately following the outage we began putting a process in place to rectify the situation and we are still actively dedicating all our efforts to improving GitLab.com’s infrastructure as a whole to ensure this type of incident never happens again. More specifically, as the blogpost indicates, we are working on solutions for disaster recovery and making improvements to our abuse reporting and response systems. As GitLab is developed in the open, people can follow our progress directly on our issue tracker.

We learned a few valuable lessons from the outage. First, we learned that it is of the utmost importance for us to invest time, money & energy into our infrastructure. Second, that it is best to be open and communicative to your community when an issue does occur. Transparency is one of our core values as a company so for us it was essential to alert our community of the issue right away and keep them updated on the recovery process in real time. Finally, we always knew we were part a powerful, supportive community but the hundreds of messages of encouragement we received from users, partners and even competitors made it even more apparent.

The incident erased metadata around 5,000 projects, 5,000 comments and 700 new user accounts. Their code, files, etc. were not affected and we worked with the affected users to resume access to their accounts & data whenever possible. None of our GitLab Enterprise customers, GitHost customers, or self-hosted GitLab CE users lost data or were affected by the outage.

What’s on GitLab's roadmap for the next few months?

GitLab 9.0 is just the beginning for the new features and functionalities we plan to roll out in the months to come on our path to becoming the most popular SaaS solution for public repositories. GitLab 9.1 will release on April 22 and include new service desk functionalities among other new features like including zero downtime migrations and updates to our issue board. This will mark our 65th consecutive monthly product release, a velocity we’re very proud of as it is unparalleled in the industry.

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