Backing up a GitLab installation

GitLab backups are taken by running the backup-utility command in the Toolbox pod provided in the chart. Backups can also be automated by enabling the Cron based backup functionality of this chart.

Before running the backup for the first time, you should ensure the Toolbox is properly configured for access to object storage

Follow these steps for backing up a GitLab Helm chart based installation

Create the backup

  1. Ensure the toolbox pod is running, by executing the following command

    kubectl get pods -lrelease=RELEASE_NAME,app=toolbox
  2. Run the backup utility

    kubectl exec <Toolbox pod name> -it -- backup-utility
  3. Visit the gitlab-backups bucket in the object storage service and ensure a tarball has been added. It will be named in <timestamp>_<version>_gitlab_backup.tar format.

  4. This tarball is required for restoration.

Cron based backup

The Kubernetes CronJob created by the Helm chart sets the "false" annotation on the jobTemplate. Some Kubernetes environments, such as GKE Autopilot, don’t allow this annotation to be set and will not create Job Pods for the backup.

Cron based backups can be enabled in this chart to happen at regular intervals as defined by the Kubernetes schedule.

You need to set the following parameters:

  • gitlab.toolbox.backups.cron.enabled: Set to true to enable cron based backups
  • gitlab.toolbox.backups.cron.schedule: Set as per the Kubernetes schedule docs
  • gitlab.toolbox.backups.cron.extraArgs: Optionally set extra arguments for backup-utility (like --skip db)

Backup utility extra arguments

The backup utility can take some extra arguments. See what those are with:

kubectl exec <Toolbox pod name> -it -- backup-utility --help

Backup the secrets

You also need to save a copy of the rails secrets as these are not included in the backup as a security precaution. We recommend keeping your full backup that includes the database separate from the copy of the secrets.

  1. Find the object name for the rails secrets

    kubectl get secrets | grep rails-secret
  2. Save a copy of the rails secrets

    kubectl get secrets <rails-secret-name> -o jsonpath="{.data['secrets\.yml']}" | base64 --decode > gitlab-secrets.yaml
  3. Store gitlab-secrets.yaml in a secure location. You need it to restore your backups.

Additional Information