Gitlab in Docker

isotopp image Kristian Köhntopp -
November 22, 2020
a featured image

These installation notes are mostly a note to myself, documenting the installation process of a Gitlab Omnibus Container in Docker, plus Gitlab Runners.

OS Setup

We are installing into /export/gitlab, a 10G xfs slice from the local flash pool:

# lvcreate -n gitlab -L 10G data
# mkfs -t xfs /dev/data/gitlab
# mkdir /export/gitlab
# mount /dev/data/gitlab /export/gitlab
# echo "/dev/data/gitlab\t/export/gitlab\txfs\tbsdgroups,usrquota,grpquota,attr2,nofail,noatime 1 2" >> /etc/fstab

# mkdir /export/gitlab/{gitlab,gitlab-runner}
# mkdir /export/gitlab/gitlab/{config,data,logs}


We are using docker-compose to run this, with a .env (dotenv) like so:

# cat .env

And a docker-compose.yaml like so:

version: "3"

    container_name: "gitlab"
    hostname: "gitlab"
    image: "gitlab/gitlab-ce:latest"
    restart: always
    hostname: "${GITLAB_DOMAIN}"
        external_url ""        
      - '${GITLAB_HTTP_PORT}:80'
      - '${GITLAB_HTTPS_PORT}:443'
      - '${GITLAB_SSH_PORT}:22'
      - '${GITLAB_HOME}/config:/etc/gitlab'
      - '${GITLAB_HOME}/logs:/var/log/gitlab'
      - '${GITLAB_HOME}/data:/var/opt/gitlab'

## vim: syntax=yaml ts=2 sw=2 sts=2 sr et ai

When starting this with docker-compose up, we can follow the full horribleness of the installation process in the console: The Gitlab Omnibus container collects a large number of processes internally, including a postgres, puma, nginx and a number of additional components, and configures itself internally using Chef. It is the Anti-Container.


The initial run will produce a gitlab.rb config file in /export/gitlab/gitlab/config/gitlab.rb. The file is over 100KB in size, and will contain deactivated config.

A very minimal, runnable base config for me looks like this:

# grep -v "^#" gitlab.rb | uniq

external_url ''

gitlab_rails['smtp_enable'] = false

gitlab_rails['gitlab_email_enabled'] = false

gitlab_rails['gitlab_default_can_create_group'] = false
gitlab_rails['gitlab_username_changing_enabled'] = false

gitlab_rails['gitlab_shell_ssh_port'] = 2222

gitlab_kas['enable'] = false

TLS Forwarding from host to container

The internal ports need to be exported to the home network, so we need an Apache TLS forwarding config.

We are using this:

<VirtualHost *:80>

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/gitlab-error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/gitlab-access.log combined

    Alias /.well-known/acme-challenge /var/lib/dehydrated/acme-challenges
    <Directory /var/lib/dehydrated>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride None
        Require all granted
    <If "!-f '%{REQUEST_FILENAME}'">
        RedirectMatch permanent ^/(.*) "$1"

<VirtualHost *:443>

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/gitlab-ssl-error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/gitlab-ssl-access.log combined

    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile /var/lib/dehydrated/certs/
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /var/lib/dehydrated/certs/
    SSLCertificateChainFile /var/lib/dehydrated/certs/

#   SSLProxyEngine on
    ProxyPreserveHost On
    ProxyPass "/" "" nocanon
    ProxyPassReverse "/" ""
    AllowEncodedSlashes NoDecode

    DocumentRoot /var/www/

# vim: syntax=apache ts=4 sw=4 sts=4 sr noet

We are terminating the TLS at the Apache and forward plaintext to the nginx, which then forwards to the internal Ruby. This is silly, but I was not feeling like pulling that ball of string apart.

The ProxyPass ... nocanon and AllowEncodedSlashes NoDecode are necessary to avoid internal Error on various URLs that require passing on of // and /-/ URL fragments (several issues, for example here ).

Basic Setup

Admin Login is with “root”, and will guide you through a password change and some basic setup.

I created users for the family, and groups for my work and for the little one.

Once you have groups, pushing existing repositories into gitlab is quickly done with

# git push --set-upstream ssh://$(git rev-parse --show-toplevel | xargs basename).git $(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)

This will create a repo for the user or group (here: kris) that has a name identical to the current directory. The xargs basename expression can be replaced with the desired literal name instead.

Afterwards, it may be useful to git remote remove origin, git remote add origin .... A quick git pull --rebase and git branch --set-upstream-to=origin/master master will exercise and config the local push and pull operations, too.

A “hello-ci” project

We are creating a basic Python project for gitlab-runner, for testing, kk/probe.

# cat
#! /usr/bin/env python3

import src

if __name__ == '__main__':
    print(f'Hi, {src.my_name()}!')


# cat src/
from src.main import my_name  # noqa


# cat src/
def my_name():
    return "Kris"

In a src/tests/ directory, we are running pytest:

#! /usr/bin/env python3

import src

def test_my_name():
    assert src.my_name() == "Kris"

At the toplevel, we put our requirements.txt:


and a tox.ini:


addopts = -ra -q

We can now build a .gitlab-ci.yml, also at the toplevel:

  image: python:3.8

  - python --version
  - pip install -r requirements.txt

  - Test

  stage: Test
    - flake8

  stage: Test
  - pwd
  - ls -l
  - python -c "import sys;print(sys.path)"
  - pytest src

Yes, the testing cruft in the pytest setup can later go away…

Now, to make this work, we need to install gitlab-runner in a docker variant, and config it.

Gitlab Runner

At this point, the runner still needs to be docker-compose‘ed. I hacked it for testing like this:

# mkdir -p /export/gitlab/gitlab-runner
# cd !$
# mkdir config
# cat doit
docker run -d --name gitlab-runner \
  --restart always \
  -v /export/gitlab/gitlab-runner/config:/etc/gitlab-runner \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \

This will create a config.toml in the config directory. We can

# docker exec -it gitlab-runner bash
root@ffd124dab4aa:/# gitlab-runner register
# gitlab-runner  register
Runtime platform                                    arch=amd64 os=linux pid=47 revision=8fa89735 version=13.6.0
Running in system-mode.

Enter the GitLab instance URL (for example,
Enter the registration token:
Enter a description for the runner:
[ffd124dab4aa]: A test runner
Enter tags for the runner (comma-separated):

The token required for registration can be obtained as described here .

I registered group runners for each of my two internal groups, and a shared runner for the (empty) rest.

All of this will rewrite the config.toml. I then upped the concurrency to 6 (8 threads available in the hardware).

Later on, it will turn out that the docker images in my Ubuntu are not writeable as needed, a helper image needs to be added.

The helper_image line has been added manually below, according to this note :

# cat /export/gitlab/gitlab-runner/config/config.toml
concurrent = 6
check_interval = 0

  session_timeout = 1800

  name = "JX_Snack (Docker)"
  url = ""
  token = "TheToken
  executor = "docker"
    helper_image = "gitlab/gitlab-runner-helper:x86_64-6fbc7474"
    tls_verify = false
    image = "python:3"
    privileged = false
    disable_entrypoint_overwrite = false
    oom_kill_disable = false
    disable_cache = false
    volumes = ["/cache"]
    shm_size = 0

For easier testing, it may be useful to allow CI runs on untagged commits. This can be set up as root in https://.../admin/runners for the desired test runner.

Allowing the runner to pick up untagged jobs can be useful for testing. It needs to be disabled later.

With some random committing we can now trigger and debug the pipeline we defined earlier above. Eventually it will actually do something.

Eventually, a testing success.

Having a gitlab and a CI/CD pipeline allows us to package the Python Discord Bot development process for the little one in a way that allows him to focus on the various stages of the development process sequentially. For now, testing and deployment can happen magically, we will visit that only later.