Category Direction - Runner

GitLab Runner

GitLab Runner is the flexible, multi-platform execution agent that works with GitLab CI to execute the jobs in your pipelines and powers the CI build fleet on

Our vision is to eliminate CI build fleet maintenance and operational complexity for DevOps teams.

Depending on the organization's size, DevOps teams may be managing hundreds of Runners. In some cases, that may also mean offering different virtual machine configurations and sizes, which adds operational complexity. So at the heart of this vision, the guiding principle is that DevOps teams should not have to spend enormous amounts of time and effort deploying, configuring, and maintaining Runners. As is the case with the GitLab product strategy, the Runner's product development strategy must consider and balance the needs of both self-managed and product offerings. Self-managed customers whose security and compliance requirements dictate that the entire DevOps toolchain runs within their private networks can host the Runner themselves. In addition to public clouds, self-managed customers can deploy and host the Runner on several platforms, including Kubernetes, RedHat OpenShift, and Linux on Z for IBM Z mainframes. The product strategy for self-managed assumes a future, much like today, where there will continue to be a wide variety in the type of infrastructure stacks organizations deploy and manage in their data centers.

Organizational Adoption Journey

graph LR classDef blue fill:#3278ca, color:#fff classDef darkblue fill:#225798, color:#fff subgraph "CUSTOMER JOURNEY" A0[User Actions]:::darkblue end subgraph "POC, ONBOARDING, PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT SETUP" A1[Install GitLab]:::blue --> A2(Install the 1st Runner):::blue end subgraph "SCALE USAGE PHASE: USERS, FEATURES, STAGE ADOPTION, n...n+1 phases" A2 --> A3(Rollout and start managing more than 1 Runner to support the organization):::blue end A0-.-A1;
graph LR classDef red fill:#c92d39, color:#fff classDef darkred fill:#9a0814, color:#fff classDef blue fill:#3278ca, color:#fff classDef darkblue fill:#225798, color:#fff subgraph "CUSTOMER JOURNEY" A0[Runner Pain Points]:::darkred end subgraph "POC, ONBOARDING, PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT SETUP" A1[Manual steps to install
and configure first Runner]:::red --> A2(Manual steps to configure additional Runners):::red end subgraph "SCALE USAGE PHASE: USERS, FEATURES, STAGE ADOPTION, n...n+1 phases" A2 --> A3[Runner Token registration
process is manual]:::red A3 --> A4[High operational overhead
to maintain a large fleet of Runners]:::red A4 --> A5[No instrumentation that
indicates why a Runner
has not started]:::red end A0-.-A1;

Runner Product Development Categories

The Runner product development strategy comprises three main focus areas to enable the vision.

  1. Runner Core: features and capabilities for the open-source Runner CI execution agent.
  2. Runner Cloud: the Runner CI build virtual machines available on GitLab SaaS.
  3. Runner Enterprise Management: features and capabilities for DevOps teams that self-manage the Runner CI/CD build infrastructure.

Top Vision Item(s)

Runner Core

Runner Cloud

Runner Enterprise Management

What's Next & Why

In the section below, we highlight a few key features that we are working to deliver in the in the next few releases.

Runner Core

Runner Cloud

Maturity Plan

Since this category is already at the "Lovable" maturity level (see our definitions of maturity levels), we do not have an upcoming target for bringing it to the next level. However, it's important to us that we defend our lovable status and provide the most value to our user community. To that end, we are starting to work on collecting community feedback to understand users' pain points with installing, managing, and using GitLab Runners. If you have any feedback that you would like to share, you can do so in this epic.

Competitive Landscape

The Runner is currently evaluated as part of the comprehensive competitive analysis in the Continuous Integration category

Top Customer Success/Sales Issue(s)

For the CS team, the issue gitlab-runner#3121 where orphaned processes can cause issues with the runner in certain cases has been highlighted as generating support issues.

Top Customer Issue(s)