Buckle up, it's time to migrate

GitLab migration: See you later Azure; hello Google Cloud Platform

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / Roi and Roi

GitLab is migrating from Microsoft Azure to the Google Cloud Platform. What tools will they use and why is the migration happening?

As some developers are #movingtogitlab, all eyes are on GitLab to see what they will do next. In the wake of Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, GitLab made their Ultimate and Gold offerings free for educational institutions and open source projects. Now, they come with some more news that may shake things up.

On June 25th, GitLab announced that they will be moving away from Azure and onto their new home with the Google Cloud Platform. What does this migration mean and will it affect anything?

Why migrate?

Why migrate? Why now? One of the main reasons given for the switch is the rising-star Kubernetes.  GitLab is putting all their chips behind Kubernetes, stating in their migration announcement that: “…we’ve chosen GCP as our cloud provider because of our desire to run GitLab on Kubernetes. Google invented Kubernetes, and GKE has the most robust and mature Kubernetes support. Migrating to GCP is the next step in our plan to make ready for your mission-critical workloads.”

Developers’ love for Kubernetes is easy to see across the board. Meanwhile, on GitHub, it was the most-discussed repo of 2017 according to the State of the Octoverse. 2018 continues to be a strong year for Kubernetes and we doubt that its popularity will fall any time soon.

SEE ALSO: How well do you know your GitLab trivia?

Does the migration away from Microsoft Azure have anything to do with Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub or is it mere coincidence? The announcement does not address this and according to the Git infra lead Andrew Newdigate on Twitter in response to speculation: “GitLab has been working on this project since last year, long before we were aware of the GitHub acquisition.” That puts the nail in the theory unless future updates say otherwise.

The tools for migration

GitLab will be utilizing Geo to migrate over to the Google Cloud Platform. Geo creates a mirrored, read-only GitLab instance and can clone and fetch projects.

Speed, speed, speed is Geo’s main advantage. It massively cuts down the time of cloning and fetching large repos from across the globe. The benefits of this time-saving tool will be useful as GitLab migrates and puts Geo to the test of its capabilities. Previous testing done by GitLab says the system is ready to go and that Geo can handle the massive amounts of data that will be transferred from the Azure datacenter in Virginia to the new Google Cloud Platform in South Carolina.

Getting prepared with GitLab

In preparation for the switch, GitLab has a preflight checklist that will be followed down to the letter, a failover procedure, their test plan, and a failback procedure. (Of course, the team will have access to their docs during the server change. The necessary repos have been mirrored onto a private server, so fear not!)

SEE ALSO: GitLab is stepping up its game in the midst of “git wars”

Migration rehearsals so far have taken around two hours, with careful documentation for how long each phase took and how to make the migration even faster so that GitLab can hit the ground running. If you want to keep an eye on the known issues that are solved, look at the GitLab Migration tracker and see all the work that is going into this flight plan.

Currently, the migration is scheduled for July 28th, 2018 and the forecast calls for smooth skies. We have high hopes for GitLab and await the migration!

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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