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Notice about updating postgres via renovate📜

Currently, we do not update postgresql via renovate bot unless the upstream gitlab documentation updates beyond our current supported version of postgres. Due to local in-place image upgrades not working because of limitations around the data directory being initialized by a previous major postgresql version, this requires a manual pg_dump from current & pg_restore to new updated postgres pod locally (RDS and other non docker DBs will do this automatically). We try to keep all local in-cluster/CI DBs on the same version and upgrade once all are recommended and tested to be on the next major version.

How to upgrade the Gitlab Package chart📜

BigBang makes modifications to the upstream helm chart. The full list of changes is at the end of this document. 1. Read release notes from upstream Gitlab Releases. Be aware of changes that are included in the upgrade, you can find those by comparing the current and new revision. Take note of any manual upgrade steps that customers might need to perform, if any. 1. Do diff of upstream chart between old and new release tags to become aware of any significant chart changes. A graphical diff tool such as Meld is useful. You can see where the current helm chart came from by inspecting /chart/Kptfile. 1. Create a development branch and merge request tied to the Repo1 issue created for the Gitlab package upgrade. The association between the branch and the issue can be made by prefixing the branch name with the issue number, e.g. 56-update-gitlab-package. 1. From the root of this repository, sync the BigBang Gitlab package chart with the upstream Gitlab chart using kpt pkg update chart@<target version> --strategy alpha-git-patch. Please note that kpt > v1.0.0 does NOT support this update strategy, and the latest kpt version that does is 0.39.2. 1. Resolve any conflicts that may occur during the kpt pkg update process. A graphical diff tool like Meld is useful. Reference the “Modifications made to upstream chart” section below. Be careful not to overwrite Big Bang Package changes that need to be kept. Note that some files will have combinations of changes that you will overwrite and changes that you keep. Stay alert. The hardest file to update is the /chart/values.yaml because the changes are many and complicated. Once conflicts have been resolved, use git add to add the files with resolved conflicts before running git am --continue to proceed. 1. Delete all the /chart/charts/*.tgz files and the /chart/requirements.lock. You will replace these files in a later step. 1. In /chart/requirements.yaml update the gluon library to the latest version. 1. Run a helm dependency command to update the chart/charts/*.tgz archives and create a new requirements.lock file. You will commit the tar archives along with the requirements.lock that was generated.

helm dependency update ./chart
1. In /chart/values.yaml update all the gitlab image tags to the new version. There are about 12 of them. Renovate might have already done this for you. 1. Update / with an entry for “upgrade Gitlab to app version X.X.X chart version X.X.X-bb.X”. Or, whatever description is appropriate. 1. Update the / following the gluon library script. 1. Update /chart/Chart.yaml to the appropriate versions. The annotation version should match the appVersion.
version: X.X.X-bb.X
appVersion: X.X.X
annotations: |
    - Gitlab: X.X.X
1. Update section in /chart/Chart.yaml to fix references to updated packages (if needed). 1. Use a development environment to deploy and test Gitlab. See more detailed testing instructions below. Also test with gitlab-runner to make sure it still works with the new Gitlab version. Also test an upgrade by deploying the old version first and then deploying the new version. 1. When the Package pipeline runs expect the cypress tests to fail due to UI changes. Note that most of the cypress test files are synced to the gitlab-runner Package to avoid having two different versions of the same tests. There is one place in particular that frequently fails because the button id number button[id="__BVID__XX__BV_toggle_"] changes in /chart/tests/cypress/03-gitlab-login.spec.js. It is usually necessary to run the cypress tests locally in order to troubleshoot a failing test. The following steps are about how to set up local cypress testing. There is not good documentation anywhere else so it is included here. 1. Install a current version of cypress on your workstation. 1. Make a sibling directory named cypress next to where you have gitlab repo cloned.
mkdir cypress
ls -l
drwxrwxr-x cypress
drwxrwxr-x gitlab
Inside the cypress directory create a symbolic link named integration that points to the cypress tests inside the gitlab repo.
cd cypress
ln -s ../gitlab/chart/tests/cypress integration
ls -l
lrwxrwxrwx integration -> ../gitlab/chart/tests/cypress/
cd ..
1. Export the environment variables that are needed by the cypress test. Reference the bbtests: at the end of /chart/values.yaml.
export cypress_url=
export cypress_gitlab_first_name=test
export cypress_gitlab_last_name=user
export cypress_gitlab_username=testuser
export cypress_gitlab_password=12345678
export cypress_gitlab_project=my-awesome-project
export cypress_adminpassword=put-the-gitlab-root-password-here
1. Run cypress from the parent directory of the gitlab and cypress directories.
1. When Cypress launches select the same directory where you ran cypress and you should see the gitlab cypress tests listed. Run them manually, in order, one at a time. 1. Investigate and fix errors in the cypress tests. You can run a separate browser with developer tools to find out names of elements on each page. 1. Update the / and / again if you have made any additional changes during the upgrade/testing process.

Testing new Gitlab version📜

  1. Create a k8s dev environment. One option is to use the Big Bang with no arguments which will give you the default configuration. The following steps assume you are using the script.
  2. Follow the instructions at the end of the script to connect to the k8s cluster and install flux.
  3. Deploy gitlab with these dev values overrides. Core apps are disabled for quick deployment.
      interval: 1m
        cleanupOnFail: false
      enabled: true
      enabled: false
      enabled: false
      enabled: true
      enabled: true
      enabled: false
      enabled: false
      enabled: false
      enabled: false
      enabled: false
      enabled: false
            size: 5Gi
        realm: baby-yoda
      client_secret: ""
        enabled: true
        enabled: true
          tag: null
          branch: "your-development-branch-name"
          gitlab: gitlab
          registry: registry
          enabled: true
          label: "Platform One SSO"
          client_id: "platform1_a8604cc9-f5e9-4656-802d-d05624370245_bb8-gitlab"
          client_secret: ""
              minReplicas: 1
              maxReplicas: 1
                enabled: false
              minReplicas: 1
              maxReplicas: 1
              minReplicas: 1
              maxReplicas: 1
              minReplicas: 1
              maxReplicas: 1
                enabled: true
              defaultCanCreateGroup: true
  4. Access Gitlab UI from a browser and login with SSO (to learn about deploying GitLab with a dev version of Keycloak, see
  5. Test changing your profile image.
  6. In your profile create an access token with all privileges. Save the token for later use.
  7. Create a group called test.
  8. Create a project called test1 with a within the test group.
  9. From your workstation git clone with https the test1 project.
    git clone
  10. Make a change to and commit and push. Verify that the change shows in Gitlab UI.
  11. Test pushing and pulling an image to the project container registry. Use the access token you created.
    docker login
    docker pull busybox
    docker tag busybox:latest
    docker push
    docker image rm busybox:latest
    docker image rm
    docker pull
  12. Test a pipeline with gitlab-runner. Navigate to and disable the Auto DevOps. Navigate to and configure a pipeline. Verify that it completes successfully at ```yaml stages:
    • test dogfood: stage: test script:
      • echo “dogfood” >> file.txt artifacts: paths:
      • file.txt cache: paths:
      • file.txt ```
  13. Perform a manual upgrade test. First deploy the current Gitlab version. Then deploy your development branch. Verify that the upgrade is successful.
  14. Retest with monitoring and logging enabled. Verify that the logging and monitoring are working.

Modifications made to upstream chart📜

This is a high-level list of modifications that Big Bang has made to the upstream helm chart. You can use this as as cross-check to make sure that no modifications were lost during the upgrade process.


  • Exposed automountServiceAccountToken for service account.
    automountServiceAccountToken: {{ template "gitlab.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken" . }}


  • Exposed automountServiceAccountToken for service accounts in the following gitlab components: geo-logcursor, gitaly, gitlab-exporter, gitlab-pages, gitlab-shell, kas, mailroom, migrations (_serviceaccountspec.yaml), praefect, sidekiq, spamcheck, toolbox, webservice
    automountServiceAccountToken: {{ template "gitlab.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken" . }}


  • Added template that respects the global and specific service account settings pertaining to automountServiceAccountToken
    Return the sub-chart serviceAccount automountServiceAccountToken setting
    If that is not present it will use the global chart serviceAccount automountServiceAccountToken setting
    {{- define "gitlab.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken" -}}
    {{- if not (empty .Values.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken) -}}
        {{ .Values.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken }}
    {{- else -}}
        {{ }}
    {{- end -}}
    {{- end -}}


  • Added default for serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken in controller.admissionWebhooks to respect implicit default
          automountServiceAccountToken: true

chart/templates/shared-secrets/job.yaml && chart/templates/shared-secrets/self-signed-cert-job.yml📜

  • Set automountServiceAccountToken to true for shared-secrets jobs which need this token to be successful
    automountServiceAccountToken: true


  • Exposed automountServiceAccountToken for service account.
    automountServiceAccountToken: {{ template "shared-secrets.automountServiceAccountToken" . }}


  • Added template that respects the global and specific service account settings pertaining to automountServiceAccountToken
    Return the sub-chart serviceAccount automountServiceAccountToken setting
    If that is not present it will use the global chart serviceAccount automountServiceAccountToken setting
    {{- define "registry.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken" -}}
    {{- if not (empty .Values.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken) -}}
        {{ .Values.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken }}
    {{- else -}}
        {{ }}
    {{- end -}}
    {{- end -}}


  • Added template that respects the global and specific service account settings pertaining to automountServiceAccountToken
    Return the sub-chart serviceAccount automountServiceAccountToken setting
    If that is not present it will use the global chart serviceAccount automountServiceAccountToken setting
    {{- define "shared-secrets.automountServiceAccountToken" -}}
    {{- $sharedSecretValues := index .Values "shared-secrets" -}}
    {{- if not (empty $sharedSecretValues.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken) -}}
        {{ $sharedSecretValues.serviceAccount.automountServiceAccountToken }}
    {{- else -}}
        {{ }}
    {{- end -}}
    {{- end -}}


  • Remove the include initContainerSecurityContext function.
    {{- include "gitlab.init.containerSecurityContext" . | indent 2 }}
  • Add the logic to use our own configurable securityContext for certificates initContainers.
      {{- with }}
        {{- toYaml . | nindent 4 }}
      {{- end }}


  • Add DoD approved CA certificates (recursive copy directory from previous release).
  • If updating new certificates from new bundle:
  • Check Department_of_State/ certificates for spaces in name.
  • Check DigiCert_Federal_SSP/Trust_Chain_2/ certificates for spaces in name.
  • Convert Entrust_Federal_SSP/Trust_Chain_2/0-Entrust_Managed_Services_Root_CA_rekey3.cer to pem format.
    openssl x509 -inform der -in 0-Entrust_Managed_Services_Root_CA_rekey3.cer -out 0-Entrust_Managed_Services_Root_CA_rekey3.pem
  • Remove non-certificate metadata from Carillon_Federal_Services/Trust_Chain_1/1-Carillon_Federal_Services_PIVI_CA2.cer.
  • Remove non-certificate metadata from DigiCert_NFI/Trust_Chain_2/2-Senate_PIV-I_CA_G5.cer.


  • Add istio virtual service.
  • Add networkpolicies.
  • Add istio peerauthentications.
  • Add Secrets for DoD certificate authorities.
  • Add istio authorization policies


  • Add templates for CI helm tests.


  • Added istio shutdown to command on lines 85 and 87.
    {{- if and (eq "enabled") }}{{ .Values.backups.cron.istioShutdown }}{{- end }}


  • Ensure the conditional checking for empty $externalAddresses is removed from above the entirety of the template, and instead above the first use of it where it checks if the length of the value is >1. Add a closing {{- end }} after the existing {{- else }} and {{- end }} around the loadBalancerIP: & externalIPs: entries.
    {{- if not (empty ($externalAddresses)) -}}
    {{-   if len $externalAddresses | eq 1 }}
    {{- end }}
  • Remove the un-indented {{- end }} from the very bottom of the template (to complete the removal of the if statement being around the entire template).
  • Remove the {{- if not (empty $ }} and closing {{- end }} from around the 80 port definition so it is always present.
  • Remove the {{- if not (empty $ }} and closing {{- end }} from around the 443 port definition so it is always present.


  • Hack the MinIO sub-chart to work with newer mc version in IronBank image, line 65.
    /usr/bin/mc policy set $POLICY myminio/$BUCKET


  • Run helm dependency update ./chart and commit the downloaded archives.
  • Commit the tar archives that were downloaded and requirements.lock that was generated from the helm dependency update command.


  • Add helm test scripts for CI pipeline.


  • Hack to support pki certificate location within the RedHat UBI image. Is different than Debian based images. Add to definition of gitlab.certificates.volumeMount. The volumeMount definition is at the end of the file.
    - name: etc-ssl-certs
      mountPath: /etc/pki/tls/certs/
      readOnly: true
    - name: etc-ssl-certs
      mountPath: /etc/pki/tls/cert.pem
      subPath: ca-bundle.crt
      readOnly: true


  • Comment the charts/*.tgz.
  • Comment the requirements.lock.


  • Change scripts/ to /scripts/ so that the helm test scripts are not ignored.


  • Add latest gluon dependency to the end of the list.
    - name: gluon
      version: "x.x.x"
      repository: "oci://"


  • Disable all internal services other than postgres, minio, and redis.
  • Add BigBang additional values at bottom of values.yaml.
  • Add prometheus exporter: gitlab.gitlab-exporter.
  • Add default hostnames for global.hosts.
  • Add IronBank hardened images.
  • Add pullSecrets for each IronBank image.
  • Add default hostnames at global.hosts.
  • Add customCAs (the cert files and secrets need to be added in the next 2 steps for this to work).
  • Run this to get a list of secrets: ```bash for i in $(helm template -s templates/bigbang/secrets/DoD_CA_certs.yaml . | grep “name:” | cut -d “:” -f 2); do echo “- secret: $i”; done ``````
  • Add global.certificates.init.securityContext and it’s 3 entries
  • Add postgresqlInitdbArgs, securityContext, postgresqlDataDir and persistence to get IB image working with postgres subchart.
  • Add upgradeCheck.annotations: “false”.
  • Add shared-secrets.annotations: “false”.
  • Add gitlab.migrations.annotations: “false”.
  • Add minio.jobAnnotations: “false”.
  • Add gitlab.toolbox.annotations: 512Mi and 512Mi.
  • Change default value for global.ingress.configureCertmanager to false


  • Change version key to Big Bang composite version.
  • Add Big Bang and keys to support release automation.
  • Add the required kubeversion

Last update: 2024-05-06 by Matt Vasquez