Restoring a GitLab installation

To obtain a backup tarball of an existing GitLab instance that used other installation methods like an Omnibus GitLab package or Omnibus GitLab Helm chart, follow the instructions given in documentation.

If you are restoring a backup taken from another instance, you must migrate your existing instance to using object storage before taking the backup. See issue 646.

It is recommended that you restore a backup to the same version of GitLab on which it was created.

GitLab backup restores are taken by running the backup-utility command on the Toolbox pod provided in the chart.

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

The backup utility provided by GitLab Helm chart supports restoring a tarball from any of the following locations

  1. The gitlab-backups bucket in the object storage service associated to the instance. This is the default scenario.
  2. A public URL that can be accessed from the pod.
  3. A local file that you can copy to the Toolbox pod using kubectl cp

Restoring the secrets

Restore the rails secrets

The GitLab chart expects rails secrets to be provided as a Kubernetes Secret with content in YAML. If you are restoring the rails secret from an Omnibus GitLab instance, secrets are stored in JSON format in the /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json file. To convert the file and create the secret in YAML format:

  1. Copy the file /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json to the workstation where you run kubectl commands.

  2. Install the yq tool (version 4.21.1 or later) on your workstation.

  3. Run the following command to convert your gitlab-secrets.json to YAML format:

    yq -P '{"production": .gitlab_rails}' gitlab-secrets.json >> gitlab-secrets.yaml
  4. Check that the new gitlab-secrets.yaml file has the following contents:

      db_key_base: <your key base value>
      secret_key_base: <your secret key base value>
      otp_key_base: <your otp key base value>
      openid_connect_signing_key: <your openid signing key>
      ci_jwt_signing_key: <your ci jwt signing key>

To restore the rails secrets from a YAML file:

  1. Find the object name for the rails secrets:

    kubectl get secrets | grep rails-secret
  2. Delete the existing secret:

    kubectl delete secret <rails-secret-name>
  3. Create the new secret using the same name as the old, and passing in your local YAML file

    kubectl create secret generic <rails-secret-name> --from-file=secrets.yml=gitlab-secrets.yaml

Restart the pods

In order to use the new secrets, the Webservice, Sidekiq and Toolbox pods need to be restarted. The safest way to restart those pods is to run:

kubectl delete pods -lapp=sidekiq,release=<helm release name>
kubectl delete pods -lapp=webservice,release=<helm release name>
kubectl delete pods -lapp=toolbox,release=<helm release name>

Restoring the backup file

The steps for restoring a GitLab installation are

  1. Make sure you have a running GitLab instance by deploying the charts. Ensure the Toolbox pod is enabled and running by executing the following command

    kubectl get pods -lrelease=RELEASE_NAME,app=toolbox
  2. Get the tarball ready in any of the above locations. Make sure it is named in the <timestamp>_<version>_gitlab_backup.tar format.
  3. Run the backup utility to restore the tarball

    kubectl exec <Toolbox pod name> -it -- backup-utility --restore -t <timestamp>_<version>

    Here, <timestamp>_<version> is from the name of the tarball stored in gitlab-backups bucket. In case you want to provide a public URL, use the following command

    kubectl exec <Toolbox pod name> -it -- backup-utility --restore -f <URL>

    You can provide a local path as a URL as long as it’s in the format: file:///<path>

  4. This process will take time depending on the size of the tarball.
  5. The restoration process will erase the existing contents of database, move existing repositories to temporary locations and extract the contents of the tarball. Repositories will be moved to their corresponding locations on the disk and other data, like artifacts, uploads, LFS etc. will be uploaded to corresponding buckets in Object Storage.
During restoration, the backup tarball needs to be extracted to disk. This means the Toolbox pod should have disk of necessary size available. For more details and configuration please see the Toolbox documentation.

Restore the runner registration token

After restoring, the included runner will not be able to register to the instance because it no longer has the correct registration token. Follow these troubleshooting steps to get it updated.

If the restored backup was not from an existing installation of the chart, you will also need to enable some Kubernetes specific features after the restore. Such as incremental CI job logging.

  1. Find your Toolbox pod by executing the following command

    kubectl get pods -lrelease=RELEASE_NAME,app=toolbox
  2. Run the instance setup script to enable the necessary features

    kubectl exec <Toolbox pod name> -it -- gitlab-rails runner -e production /scripts/custom-instance-setup

Restart the pods

In order to use the new changes, the Webservice and Sidekiq pods need to be restarted. The safest way to restart those pods is to run:

kubectl delete pods -lapp=sidekiq,release=<helm release name>
kubectl delete pods -lapp=webservice,release=<helm release name>

(Optional) Reset the root user’s password

The restoration process does not update the gitlab-initial-root-password secret with the value from backup. For logging in as root, use the original password included in the backup. In the case that the password is no longer accessible, follow the steps below to reset it.

  1. Attach to the Webservice pod by executing the command

    kubectl exec <Webservice pod name> -it -- bash
  2. Run the following command to reset the password of root user. Replace #{password} with a password of your choice

    /srv/gitlab/bin/rails runner "user = User.first; user.password='#{password}'; user.password_confirmation='#{password}';!"

Additional Information