Setting Up a GitLab Pipeline: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of setting up a GitLab pipeline. From configuring GitLab with Kubernetes clusters to setting up environments in Kubernetes, this guide will cover all the essential aspects of pipeline setup and configuration. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Configuring GitLab with Kubernetes Cluster is essential for setting up a GitLab pipeline
  • Understanding runner and billing information is crucial for pipeline management
  • Infrastructure and Tech Stack play a significant role in pipeline setup
  • SSH Key Setup is important for secure Git repository access
  • Hands-on Guide for GitLab System Administration provides practical insights into pipeline management

Configuring GitLab with Kubernetes Cluster

Setting Up a GitLab Pipeline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Setting Up GitLab Integration Tutorials

Configuring GitLab with group-level Kubernetes cluster integration tutorials provide a comprehensive guide to setting up GitLab with Kubernetes. This includes creating a Jenkins pipeline and getting started tutorials. For a seamless experience, consider upgrading to GitLab Premium for enhanced features and support. Here’s a quick overview of the key features:

  • Integration Tutorials
  • Create a Jenkins Pipeline
  • Getting Started Tutorials
  • Cloud Omnibus-as-a-Service

For best results, ensure that your GitLab instance is equipped with the necessary resources to leverage the full potential of GitLab Premium. As a tip, consider exploring the benefits of GitLab Premium to streamline your pipeline setup and configuration process.

Creating a Jenkins Pipeline

When creating a Jenkins pipeline, it’s important to ensure that the workflow is structured and efficient. Utilize the downstream pipelines feature to establish a seamless flow of continuous integration workflows. This feature allows developers to trigger subsequent pipelines from within an existing pipeline, enhancing pipeline visibility and providing insights into the subsequent pipeline’s execution. To implement downstream pipelines in GitLab, define the trigger section in your .gitlab-ci.yml file and specify any necessary variables within the variables section. Let’s walk through an example to illustrate how this can be achieved:

  1. Define the trigger section in the .gitlab-ci.yml file
  2. Specify any necessary variables within the variables section

This will ensure a smooth and efficient pipeline setup, allowing for better visibility and control over the continuous integration workflows.

Environments Training

Training your team to manage environments in GitLab is crucial for a streamlined workflow. GitLab Runner integrates seamlessly with Kubernetes, offering a robust solution for your CI/CD pipelines. Understanding installation, configuration, and job parallelization is essential for maximizing efficiency.

Auto DevOps simplifies the entire process by providing a pre-configured pipeline that works out of the box for most projects. However, customizing the executors and ensuring scalability to meet your specific needs is where the real power lies.

Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your team is on the right track:

  • Familiarize with the GitLab Runner and its integration with Kubernetes.
  • Understand the Auto DevOps defaults and how they apply to your project.
  • Customize the pipeline configuration to fit your team’s workflow.
  • Scale runners to meet the demand of your jobs and ensure parallel execution.

Remember, regular training sessions can significantly improve your team’s proficiency in managing environments and pipelines. Keep the knowledge flowing!

Cloud Omnibus-as-a-Service

Cloud Omnibus-as-a-Service (COaaS) is a comprehensive solution that simplifies the deployment and management of your applications in the cloud. By leveraging COaaS, you can streamline your DevOps processes and ensure a consistent environment across your development, testing, and production stages.

Key Benefits:

  • Scalability: Easily adjust resources to meet demand.
  • Efficiency: Reduce overhead with automated workflows.
  • Security: Implement robust security measures out-of-the-box.

To get started with COaaS, follow these steps:

  1. Choose your cloud provider and set up your account.
  2. Connect your GitLab project repository with the COaaS platform.
  3. Configure your CI/CD pipeline to work with COaaS.
  4. Define your data model and set catalog RBAC (Role-Based Access Control).
  5. Ingest data into your catalog for easy access and management.

Tip: Always test your pipeline configurations in a staging environment before deploying to production to catch any potential issues early.

Remember, while COaaS offers a robust set of features, it’s important to tailor the service to your organization’s specific needs. Evaluate your tech stack and ensure compatibility for a smooth integration.

Runner and Billing Information


When working with GitHub, it’s important to ensure that your repositories are well-organized and easily accessible. Consider using the following table to track licenses and issues for various tools and IDEs:

Tool/IDE Licenses Tracked Issues Tracked
GoLand Yes Yes
RubyMine Yes Yes
Webstorm Yes Yes
Sublime Text Yes Yes
vim No Yes
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) Yes Yes

Additionally, here are some tips for effective GitHub usage:

  • Use GitLab Web IDE for quick edits and commits.
  • Consider using GitLab Repositories for automation and access tokens.
  • Utilize GitLab keyword search paths to efficiently search for specific content within your repositories.


GitLab is a powerful tool that provides remote git repositories and integrated CI/CD automation capabilities. When setting up GitLab integration, it’s important to follow these key steps:

  1. Set up GitLab project repository
  2. Create the Terraform configuration files
  3. Configure GitLab pipeline using .gitlab-ci.yml
  4. Add AWS credentials in GitLab
  5. Set up the remote backend
  6. Configure the backend for local development
  7. Implement pipeline conditions and destroy the pipeline

Remember to use bold for important keywords and italics for subtle emphasis. Here’s a summary of the steps:

Step Description
1 Set up GitLab project repository
2 Create the Terraform configuration files
3 Configure GitLab pipeline using .gitlab-ci.yml
4 Add AWS credentials in GitLab
5 Set up the remote backend
6 Configure the backend for local development
7 Implement pipeline conditions and destroy the pipeline

Keep in mind that these steps are crucial for a successful GitLab integration.


Integrating Bitbucket with your GitLab pipeline offers a seamless experience for teams using Bitbucket as their code hosting platform. To ensure a secure and efficient setup, follow these steps to save your API key into a repository secret:

  1. Open the repository where you want to run the pipeline.
  2. Click on Settings to access the repository options.
  3. Select the Security dropdown.
  4. Choose Actions from the list.
  5. Locate the section for secrets and add your API key here.

Tip: Never save passwords or API keys directly in your code. Using repository secrets helps keep sensitive information secure while still being accessible for your pipelines.

Remember that Bitbucket’s integration with GitLab can enhance your migration experience, offering performance improvements and a smoother transition process. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the differences in pipeline development terms between Bitbucket and other platforms like GitLab, where only one .gitlab-ci.yml pipeline is allowed per project.

Self-hosted Runner Information

Code is executed on virtual servers that are, typically, hosted by the code hosting platform. Please note, runners hosted by your code hosting platform provide a certain amount of free time. After that, billing charges may apply depending on how your account is setup. You also have the ability to host your own runners. That is beyond the scope of this article, but checkout the links below for more information if you’re interested in setting that up:

  • Repo-hosted runner billing information:
    • GitHub
    • GitLab
    • Bitbucket
  • Self-hosted runner information:
    • GitHub
    • GitLab
    • Bitbucket

Additionally, if you’re using the free tier of GitLab you can still follow this guide, but it may ask you to provide a credit card to verify your account. You’ll see something like this the first time you try to run a pipeline:

How to setup pipelines

This guide provides details for multiple code hosting platforms. Where steps are unique, they are presented without a selection option. If code is specific to a platform (i.e. GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket) you will see a selection option for

Pipeline Setup and Configuration

Free Tier Usage

GitLab’s Free Tier offers a generous amount of resources for individuals and small teams looking to get started with continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD). It’s an excellent way to familiarize yourself with GitLab’s features without any upfront investment.

Before diving in, it’s important to understand the limitations that come with the Free Tier. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • CI/CD minutes: Limited to 400 minutes per month
  • Number of jobs: Maximum concurrent jobs is limited
  • Artifacts storage: Limited artifact storage space

Tip: To make the most of your CI/CD minutes, consider grouping jobs or using manual triggers for non-essential tasks.

If your project grows or you need more resources, upgrading to a paid tier is seamless. The transition allows for more minutes, larger storage, and additional features that can significantly enhance your workflow.

Pipeline Setup Guide

When setting up your pipeline, it’s important to ensure that each step is carefully configured to meet your specific requirements. Start by defining the stages and jobs in your pipeline, and then proceed to configure the triggers, variables, and environment settings. Use italics for subtle emphasis where needed. Additionally, consider implementing a table to present structured, quantitative data, such as a comparison of different pipeline configurations or performance metrics. This can provide a clear visual representation of the data for easy analysis and decision-making. Remember, the key to a successful pipeline setup is thorough planning and attention to detail.

Platform-specific Steps

When setting up your GitLab pipeline, it’s essential to tailor the configuration to the specific platform you’re working with. Whether you’re deploying to AWS, Azure, or a private cloud, each environment has its own set of nuances that must be addressed.

For instance, if you’re using AWS, you’ll need to ensure that your IAM roles and policies are correctly configured for the GitLab Runner. Similarly, for Azure, you might need to set up service principals and assign the necessary permissions.

Here’s a quick checklist for platform-specific setup:

  • AWS: Configure IAM roles, set up S3 buckets for artifacts, and ensure EC2 instances have the right policies.
  • Azure: Create service principals, configure Azure Active Directory (AAD) integration, and set up Blob storage for artifacts.
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP): Set up service accounts, configure GCP storage, and ensure Kubernetes Engine permissions are in place.

Tip: Always verify your platform’s security guidelines to maintain compliance and protect your infrastructure.

Remember, the key to a successful pipeline is not just in the setup but also in the ongoing maintenance. Regularly review your platform-specific configurations to adapt to any changes in the service offerings or security requirements.

Infrastructure and Tech Stack

Educational Services

In the realm of educational services, GitLab offers a comprehensive support handbook and a range of tech stack guides, including Articulate 360, Credly, and Instruqt. These resources provide valuable insights and best practices for leveraging GitLab’s infrastructure and tech stack effectively. For a detailed overview of the educational services and tech stack offerings, refer to the table below:

Service Description
GitLab Education Services Comprehensive support and training resources
Articulate 360 Interactive e-learning authoring tool
Credly Digital credentials and badges platform
Instruqt Hands-on learning platform

Remember to explore these resources to enhance your understanding of GitLab’s infrastructure and tech stack.

Support Handbook

The Support Handbook is an essential resource for navigating the multifaceted role of support engineering within our organization. It provides comprehensive guidelines and best practices for various support channels and engineer responsibilities.

Support Engineer Resources offer a wealth of information, from career paths to mentorship opportunities, ensuring that our staff are well-equipped to handle the dynamic nature of customer support. The handbook also includes detailed data analysis techniques to help our team make informed decisions.

For those involved in community support and global groups, the handbook outlines procedures for branch out sessions and effective communication strategies. Additionally, it serves as a home base for managing SGG values in Zendesk and offers a structured training plan for continuous learning.

Remember, the Support Handbook is a living document; it evolves with our team and the technologies we support. Regularly refer to it to stay updated on the latest support strategies and tools.

Tech Stack Guides

Choosing the right tech stack is crucial for the success of your projects. Our Tech Stack Guides provide a comprehensive overview of the tools and technologies that integrate seamlessly with GitLab, ensuring you make informed decisions for your development needs.

Articulate 360, Credly, and Instruqt are among the highlighted platforms within our guides. Each platform offers unique features that cater to different aspects of the software development lifecycle.

Remember, a well-chosen tech stack can significantly enhance your team’s productivity and project outcomes.

For a deeper dive into the specifics, our guides include detailed comparisons, best practices, and strategic advice to help you tailor your tech stack to your project’s requirements. Here’s a quick look at some of the key areas covered:

  • Integration capabilities with GitLab
  • Performance benchmarks
  • Security compliance standards
  • Community support and resources

Stay ahead of the curve by leveraging our Tech Stack Guides to build a robust and efficient development environment.

Product Training

Product training at GitLab is an essential component for ensuring that team members are well-versed with the platform’s capabilities. From Sales Kickoff events to Technical Questions for Sales, the focus is on continuous education and skill enhancement. The training is structured to cater to various roles, including Customer Success Managers, Solutions Architects, and Strategic Account Leaders.

The Field Enablement Spotlight emphasizes the importance of staying updated with GitLab’s evolving features and services. It’s not just about knowing the product but also about understanding how to leverage it effectively in different scenarios. Here’s a quick overview of the key training modules:

  • Field Accreditation Program
  • Product Certification for GitLab Field Team Members
  • Professional Services Offerings
  • Setting up your Development Environment

Remember, the goal of product training is not only to impart knowledge but also to empower team members to facilitate customer success and drive adoption. It’s a continuous journey that aligns with GitLab’s commitment to collaboration and innovation.

SSH Key Setup for Git Repository

SSH Key Connection

When setting up a pipeline for projects that connect to their git repository using an SSH key, it’s important to follow the same steps as the prior page. Before moving on, follow steps 1-5 from the prior page. Create a pipeline job that runs when PRs are created in Bitbucket. For this job, set it up using the bitbucket-pipelines.yml file as in the prior step. The YAML file will look pretty similar to our earlier job, but pass in the required variables to the Python script using export statements. Update this section to match your setup based on the comments in the file.

Be sure to configure the following Jenkins Credentials of Secret Text type. Here is an example for Jenkinsfile groovy pipeline file. For advanced configuration such as proxies or self-signed certificates, click here. Creating a GitLab group access token, configuring the GitLab integration, and mapping appHost & listening to hooks are essential steps. It’s important to configure the integration to use hooks and deploy the GitLab integration. Open up your repository where you want to run the pipeline and click on Settings to open up the repository options. From the Security dropdown, click on Actions and then click the New repository secret button. It will ask you for a name, so let’s call ours DBT_API_KEY. In the Value section, paste in the key you copied from dbt Cloud. Copy/paste the name exactly because it’s used in the scripts below. Finally, click Add secret to complete the process.

Pipeline Setup Steps

When setting up the pipeline, it’s important to follow a structured approach. Start by defining the key project plan and verifying the pipeline authoring group. Next, focus on the frontend architecture process and the resources required for the pipeline authoring group. Once these are in place, move on to the pipeline execution group and assess the risk map. Additionally, consider the project plans for CI data partitioning and the primary key conversions. Remember to review the weekly project plans for any necessary improvements and ensure the security group and runner group are verified. This step-by-step process will ensure a smooth setup of the pipeline.

Job Configuration

When configuring SSH key connection for your Git repository, it’s important to ensure secure and seamless access. Start by generating a new SSH key pair using the ssh-keygen command. Once generated, add the public key to your GitLab account settings. For the private key, ensure it’s securely stored and never shared. Here’s a quick reference table for the key steps:

Step Description
1 Generate SSH key pair using ssh-keygen
2 Add public key to GitLab account settings
3 Securely store private key

Remember, the private key should never be shared or exposed to unauthorized users. As a best practice, consider using a passphrase to further secure the private key.

Tip: Always keep your private key secure and avoid sharing it with anyone, even within your team.

Hands-on Guide for GitLab System Administration

Setting Up a GitLab Pipeline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Lab Sessions

In this hands-on lab session, you will gain practical experience in GitLab system administration. You will have the opportunity to work with various tools and features, including GitLab CI/CD, project management, and security essentials. The lab sessions will cover a range of topics, such as setting up environments, configuring pipelines, and managing security. Throughout the sessions, you will have the chance to apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios and gain valuable insights into GitLab system administration.

  • Hands-On Lab 1 GitLab Project Management – Hands-On Lab 10
  • Hands-On Lab 2 GitLab Project Management – Hands-On Lab 3
  • Hands-On Lab 4 GitLab Project Management – Hands-On Lab 5
  • Hands-On Lab 6 GitLab Project Management – Hands-On Lab 7
  • Hands-On Lab 8 GitLab Project Management – Hands-On Lab 9
  • Hands-On Lab 1 GitLab Security Essentials – Hands-On Lab 2
  • Hands-On Lab 3 GitLab Security Essentials –

Partner Facilitator

In this section, we will explore the essential responsibilities and guidelines for a Partner Facilitator in the context of GitLab. The role of a Partner Facilitator involves a wide range of activities, including but not limited to:

  • Engagement Management
  • Opportunity Tracking
  • Scoping Guidelines

As a Partner Facilitator, it is crucial to ensure seamless collaboration and positioning of professional services. This involves leveraging the Git Essentials Thought Industries LMS Tech Stack Guide and GitLab Technical Certifications to deliver exceptional service operations. Additionally, the Partner Facilitator plays a key role in the Go To Market (Pre-Sales) and Post-Sales processes, ensuring successful delivery checklists and professional service operations. Remember, the Partner Facilitator is the linchpin in the successful implementation and scoping of professional services.

Terraform and AWS Integration

Local Development Backend

After setting up the local development backend, it’s time to integrate Terraform with AWS for infrastructure provisioning. Use Terraform to define and manage infrastructure as code, and leverage the power of AWS for scalable and reliable cloud services. Here’s a quick overview of the integration:

  • Implement a table for presenting structured, quantitative data. Ensure it’s succinct and formatted correctly in Markdown.
  • Use a bulleted or numbered list for less structured content, like steps, qualitative points, or a series of related items.

Tip: When integrating Terraform with AWS, ensure proper access and permissions are set up to maintain security and compliance.

Pipeline Conditions

Implementation: Configuring Downstream Pipelines

Implementing downstream pipelines in GitLab is a straightforward process. All you need to do is define the trigger section in your .gitlab-ci.yml file, and if necessary, specify any variables within the variables section.

Let’s walk through an example to illustrate how this can be achieved.

  • Define the trigger section in the .gitlab-ci.yml file
  • Specify any necessary variables within the variables section

Keep in mind that downstream pipelines allow developers to trigger subsequent pipelines from within an existing pipeline, establishing a seamless flow of continuous integration workflows.

GitLab Project Repository Setup

To set up the GitLab project repository, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the project in question and hover over the Settings option on the right-hand side.
  2. Click on the category that corresponds to the settings you want to edit.
  3. Make the necessary changes and save your settings.

Remember to configure the GitLab pipeline using the .gitlab-ci.yml file and add AWS credentials in GitLab for seamless integration with the remote backend. Implement pipeline conditions and destroy the pipeline as needed for efficient CI/CD processes.

For structured data, consider using a Markdown table to present quantitative information, and for less structured content, use a bulleted or numbered list to outline steps, qualitative points, or related items.

If you encounter any issues, refer to the GitLab documentation for troubleshooting tips and best practices.

Setting Up Environments in Kubernetes

Setting Up a GitLab Pipeline: A Step-by-Step Guide


After setting up the production environment, it’s important to ensure that the staging and review environments are also configured properly. These environments play a crucial role in the testing and validation of changes before they are deployed to production. Consistency across all environments is key to maintaining a reliable and efficient deployment process. To achieve this, consider implementing a table to compare the configurations of each environment, highlighting any differences that may impact the deployment process. Additionally, use a bulleted list to outline the steps for updating and maintaining the staging and review environments, ensuring that they align with the production environment standards.

Tip: Regularly review and update the configurations of staging and review environments to keep them in sync with the production environment, minimizing the risk of deployment issues.


Staging environments are critical for mimicking production settings and ensuring that your application behaves as expected before it goes live. When configuring your staging environment in Kubernetes, consider the following steps:

  1. Define resource quotas and limits to prevent overconsumption of cluster resources.
  2. Set up monitoring and logging to track application performance and troubleshoot issues.
  3. Implement network policies to control the flow of traffic and enhance security.
  4. Use ConfigMaps and Secrets for managing environment-specific configurations.
  5. Regularly update your staging environment to reflect changes in the production setup.

Tip: Always test your deployment strategies in the staging environment to refine your CI/CD pipeline and avoid disruptions in production.

Remember, the goal of a staging environment is to provide a reliable testing ground for your release candidates. It’s essential to maintain parity with production as closely as possible to catch any potential issues early on.


After the subheading ‘Review’, you can include a Markdown list to outline the basic configurations of Review and Stop Review jobs. These jobs serve as the basis for all the options when setting up a review environment in Kubernetes. Additionally, it is important to add the .werf-deploy-report.json file into the .gitignore for the provided example. The review environment is a temporary tier, so it should also have a cleanup process in place. This ensures that the environment is properly managed and maintained. Finally, the Review job defines the deployment of a review release to a dynamic environment, the name of which is based on a unique MR. This process is crucial for managing and deploying review environments effectively.

Pipeline Stages and Options

Configuring your GitLab pipeline stages is crucial for a streamlined CI/CD process. Each stage—Production, Staging, and Review—serves a specific purpose in the lifecycle of your code from development to deployment. Here’s a quick rundown on setting them up effectively:

  • Production: This is the live environment where your code is accessible to users. Ensure that deployments are stable and thoroughly tested.
  • Staging: A pre-production environment that mirrors production. Use this for final testing and client approvals.
  • Review: Typically used for short-lived testing of feature branches before they are merged into the main branch.

Choose a deployment strategy that aligns with your team’s workflow and risk tolerance. Common strategies include:

  1. Manual deployment for high control.
  2. Automated deployments using branch names for speed.
  3. Tagging releases for tracking and rollback capabilities.
  4. Branch-specific deployments for parallel development.

Tip: Always clean up your pipeline stages to prevent clutter and conserve resources. This includes removing old review apps and feature branches that are no longer needed.

Remember, the .gitlab-ci.yml file is your blueprint for pipeline configuration. Tailor it to fit your specific needs, and don’t hesitate to iterate on your process as your team grows and your project evolves.


In conclusion, setting up a GitLab pipeline is a crucial step in streamlining the software development process. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can confidently configure GitLab with group-level Kubernetes cluster integration, create a Jenkins pipeline, and optimize your development workflow. Remember, the key to success lies in understanding the nuances of pipeline conditions and leveraging the power of environments for different tiers. Happy coding!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I configure GitLab with a Kubernetes cluster?

To configure GitLab with a Kubernetes cluster, follow the integration tutorials and create a Jenkins pipeline. Additionally, you can use the Getting Started Tutorials and Cloud Omnibus-as-a-Service for further guidance.

What runner and billing information do I need to know?

You may need to provide billing information for GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and self-hosted runner information. If you’re using the free tier of GitLab, it may ask you to provide a credit card to verify your account.

What are the steps for pipeline setup and configuration?

The steps include free tier usage, pipeline setup guide, and platform-specific steps. These steps are tailored for different code hosting platforms like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.

How do I set up SSH keys for the Git repository?

To set up SSH keys for the Git repository, follow the SSH key connection steps and job configuration for the pipeline setup.

What are the hands-on guides for GitLab system administration?

The hands-on guides include lab sessions and partner facilitator support for GitLab system administration.

How do I integrate Terraform and AWS with GitLab?

To integrate Terraform and AWS with GitLab, you need to configure the backend for local development, implement pipeline conditions, add AWS credentials in GitLab, and set up the GitLab project repository.

What are the steps for setting up environments in Kubernetes?

The steps include setting up production, staging, and review environments in Kubernetes. Additionally, there are pipeline stages and options tailored for specific workflows.

What are the general considerations for setting up environments in Kubernetes?

The considerations include the variability of setting up environments depending on multiple factors, the discussion of various options for different tiers, and general terms for setting up pipeline stages and options.

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