GitLab: monitoring – Prometheus, metrics, and Grafana dashboard

By | 03/12/2023

So, let’s continue our journey with migrating GitLab to Kubernetes. See previous parts:

In general, everything is working, and we are already preparing to transfer the repositories, the last ( 🙂) that remains to be done is monitoring.

GitLab and Prometheus

GitLab monitoring documentation:

In our Kubernetes cluster, we have deployed our Prometheus using the Kube Prometheus Stack (hereinafter – KPS) and its Prometheus Operator.

GitLab can run its own Prometheus, which is from the box configured to collect metrics from all Kubernetes Pods and Services that have the annotation

In addition, all Pods and Services have an annotation, but KPS does not work with annotations, see documentation:

The prometheus operator does not support annotation-based discovery of services

So we have two options for collecting metrics:

  • turn off Prometheus GitLab itself, and through ServiceMonitors collect metrics from components directly in KPS Prometheus – but then all components will have to include ServiceMonitor (and not all of them have them, so some will have to be added manually through separate manifests)
  • or we can leave the built-in Prometheus, where everything is already configured, and through the Prometheus Federation simply collect the metrics we need for the Prometheus KPS

In the second case, we will spend extra resources for the additional Prometheus but will avoid the necessity for the additional configuration of GitLab charts and Prometheus with KPS.

Setting up Prometheus Federation

Documentation – Federation.

First, let’s check the Prometheus settings of GitLab itself – whether there are metrics and jobs.

Find the Prometheus Service:


$ kk -n gitlab-cluster-prod get svc gitlab-cluster-prod-prometheus-server
NAME                                    TYPE        CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)   AGE
gitlab-cluster-prod-prometheus-server   ClusterIP   <none>        80/TCP    27d


Open access to it:


$ kk -n gitlab-cluster-prod port-forward svc/gitlab-cluster-prod-prometheus-server 9090:80


Go to http://localhost:9090 in the browser, navigate to the Status > Configuration, and check scrape jobs there:

Below, there is also a job_name: kubernetes-service-endpoints and job_name: kubernetes-services jobs, but there are currently no metrics for them:

We don’t need jobs prometheus and kubernetes-apiservers, because it’s just pushing extra metrics into KPS Prometheus: the job=prometheus job has metrics from GitLab Prometheus itself, and in the job=kubernetes-apiservers there is data about the Kubernetes API, which Prometheus KPS already collects itself.

Let’s check that there are metrics in GitLab Prometheus at all. For example, let’s check the metric sidekiq_concurrency, see GitLab Prometheus metrics:

Next, configure the federation – in the Kube Prometheus Stack values  find the prometheus block and add the additionalScrapeConfigs, where we specify the name of the job, the path for federation, in params – specify a match, by which we select only the metrics we need from GitLab Prometheus, and in the static_configs we specify the target – GitLab Prometheus Service URL:

        - job_name: 'gitlab_federation'
          honor_labels: true
          metrics_path: '/federate'
              - '{job="kubernetes-pods"}'
              - '{job="kubernetes-service-endpoints"}'
              - '{job="kubernetes-services"}'
          - targets: ["gitlab-cluster-prod-prometheus-server.gitlab-cluster-prod:80"]

Deploy and check the Targets in the KPS Prometheus:

And in a minute or two, check the metrics in the Graph of the Prometheus KPS:

GitLab Prometheus Metrics

Now that we have metrics in our Prometheus, let’s see what can and should be monitored in GitLab.

First, these are Kubernetes resources, but we will talk about them when we create our own Grafana dashboard.

But we also have components of GitLab itself, which have their own metrics:

  • PostgreSQL: monitored by its own exporter
  • KeyDB/Redis: monitored by its own exporter
  • Gitaly: returns the metrics itself, enabled by default, see values
  • Runner: returns the metrics itself, disabled by default, see values
  • Shell: returns the metrics itself, disabled by default, see values
  • Registry: returns the metrics itself, disabled by default, see values
  • Sidekiq: returns the metrics itself, enabled by default, see values
  • Toolbox && backups: nothing on metrics, see values
  • Webservice: returns the metrics itself, enabled by default, see values
    • additionally, metrics fromе the Workhorse, disabled by default, see values

There is also a GitLab Exporter with its own metrics – values.

There are many metrics described in the documentation on the GitLab Prometheus metrics page, but not all of them, so it makes sense to go through the steps and view the metrics directly from the services.

For example, Gitaly has a metric gitaly_authentications_total that is not covered by the documentation.

Open access to the port with metrics (it is in its values):


$ kk -n gitlab-cluster-prod port-forward gitlab-cluster-prod-gitaly-0 9236:9236


Check the metrics


$ curl localhost:9236/metrics
# HELP gitaly_authentications_total Counts of of Gitaly request authentication attempts
# TYPE gitaly_authentications_total counter
gitaly_authentications_total{enforced="true",status="ok"} 5511


Below is a list of interesting (in my own opinion) metrics from components that can then be used to build Grafana dashboards per GitLab service and alerts.


Metrics here:

  • gitaly_authentications_total: Counts of Gitaly request authentication attempts
  • gitaly_command_signals_received_total: Sum of signals received while shelling out
  • gitaly_connections_total: Total number of connections to Gitaly
  • gitaly_git_protocol_requests_total: Counter of Git protocol requests
  • gitaly_gitlab_api_latency_seconds_bucket: Latency between posting to GitLab’s `/internal/` APIs and receiving a response
  • gitaly_service_client_requests_total: Counter of client requests received by client, call_site, auth version, response code and deadline_type
  • gitaly_supervisor_health_checks_total: Count of Gitaly supervisor health checks
  • grpc_server_handled_total: Total number of RPCs completed on the server, regardless of success or failure
  • grpc_server_handling_seconds_bucket: Histogram of response latency (seconds) of gRPC that had been application-level handled by the server


Metrics here:

  • gitlab_runner_api_request_statuses_total: The total number of api requests, partitioned by runner, endpoint and status
  • gitlab_runner_concurrent: The current value of concurrent setting
  • gitlab_runner_errors_total: The number of caught errors
  • gitlab_runner_jobs: The current number of running builds
  • gitlab_runner_limit: The current value of concurrent setting
  • gitlab_runner_request_concurrency: The current number of concurrent requests for a new job
  • gitlab_runner_request_concurrency_exceeded_total: Count of excess requests above the configured request_concurrency limit


Here, for some reason, the endpoint metrics do not work, I did not start digging:


$ kk -n gitlab-cluster-prod port-forward gitlab-cluster-prod-gitlab-shell-744675c985-5t8wn 9122:9122
Forwarding from -> 9122
Forwarding from [::1]:9122 -> 9122
Handling connection for 9122
E0311 09:36:35.695971 3842548 portforward.go:407] an error occurred forwarding 9122 -> 9122: error forwarding port 9122 to pod 51856f9224907d4c1380783e46b13069ef5322ae1f286d4301f90a2ed60483c0, uid : exit status 1: 2023/03/11 07:36:35 socat[10867] E connect(5, AF=2, 16): Connection refused



Metrics here:

  • registry_http_in_flight_requests: A gauge of requests currently being served by the http server
  • registry_http_request_duration_seconds_bucket: A histogram of latencies for requests to the http server
  • registry_http_requests_total: A counter for requests to the http server
  • registry_storage_action_seconds_bucket: The number of seconds that the storage action takes
  • registry_storage_rate_limit_total: A counter of requests to the storage driver that hit a rate limit


Metrics here:

  • Jobs:
    • sidekiq_jobs_cpu_seconds: Seconds of CPU time to run Sidekiq job
    • sidekiq_jobs_db_seconds: Seconds of DB time to run Sidekiq job
    • sidekiq_jobs_gitaly_seconds: Seconds of Gitaly time to run Sidekiq job
    • sidekiq_jobs_queue_duration_seconds: Duration in seconds that a Sidekiq job was queued before being executed
    • sidekiq_jobs_failed_total: Sidekiq jobs failed
    • sidekiq_jobs_retried_total: Sidekiq jobs retried
    • sidekiq_jobs_interrupted_total: Sidekiq jobs interrupted
    • sidekiq_jobs_dead_total: Sidekiq dead jobs (jobs that have run out of retries)
    • sidekiq_running_jobs: Number of Sidekiq jobs running
    • sidekiq_jobs_processed_total: (from gitlab-exporter)
  • Redis:
    • sidekiq_redis_requests_total: Redis requests during a Sidekiq job execution
    • gitlab_redis_client_exceptions_total: Number of Redis client exceptions, broken down by exception class
  • Queue (from gitlab-exporter):
    • sidekiq_queue_size
    • sidekiq_queue_latency_seconds
  • Misc:
    • sidekiq_concurrency: Maximum number of Sidekiq jobs


A bit about the services:

  • Action Cable: is a Rails engine that handles websocket connections – see Action Cable
  • Puma: is a simple, fast, multi-threaded, and highly concurrent HTTP 1.1 server for Ruby/Rack applications – see GitLab Puma

Metrics here:

  • Database:
    • gitlab_database_transaction_seconds: Time spent in database transactions, in seconds
    • gitlab_sql_duration_seconds: SQL execution time, excluding SCHEMA operations and BEGIN / COMMIT
    • gitlab_transaction_db_count_total: Counter for total number of SQL calls
    • gitlab_database_connection_pool_size: Total connection pool capacity
    • gitlab_database_connection_pool_connections: Current connections in the pool
    • gitlab_database_connection_pool_waiting: Threads currently waiting on this queue
  • HTTP:
    • http_requests_total: Rack request count
    • http_request_duration_seconds: HTTP response time from rack middleware for successful requests
    • gitlab_external_http_total: Total number of HTTP calls to external systems
    • gitlab_external_http_duration_seconds: Duration in seconds spent on each HTTP call to external systems
  • ActionCable:
    • action_cable_pool_current_size: Current number of worker threads in ActionCable thread pool
    • action_cable_pool_max_size: Maximum number of worker threads in ActionCable thread pool
    • action_cable_pool_pending_tasks: Number of tasks waiting to be executed in ActionCable thread pool
    • action_cable_pool_tasks_total: Total number of tasks executed in ActionCable thread pool
  • Puma:
    • puma_workers: Total number of workers
    • puma_running_workers: Number of booted workers
    • puma_running: Number of running threads
    • puma_queued_connections: Number of connections in that worker’s “to do” set waiting for a worker thread
    • puma_active_connections: Number of threads processing a request
    • puma_pool_capacity: Number of requests the worker is capable of taking right now
    • puma_max_threads: Maximum number of worker threads
  • Redis:
    • gitlab_redis_client_requests_total: Number of Redis client requests
    • gitlab_redis_client_requests_duration_seconds: Redis request latency, excluding blocking commands
  • Cache:
    • gitlab_cache_misses_total: Cache read miss
    • gitlab_cache_operations_total: Cache operations by controller or action
  • Misc:
    • user_session_logins_total: Counter of how many users have logged in since GitLab was started or restarted


A bit about the service: GitLab Workhorse is a smart reverse proxy for GitLab, see GitLab Workhorse.

Metrics here:

  • gitlab_workhorse_gitaly_connections_total: Number of Gitaly connections that have been established
  • gitlab_workhorse_http_in_flight_requests: A gauge of requests currently being served by the http server
  • gitlab_workhorse_http_request_duration_seconds_bucket: A histogram of latencies for requests to the http server
  • gitlab_workhorse_http_requests_total: A counter for requests to the http server
  • gitlab_workhorse_internal_api_failure_response_bytes: How many bytes have been returned by upstream GitLab in API failure/rejection response bodies
  • gitlab_workhorse_internal_api_requests: How many internal API requests have been completed by gitlab-workhorse, partitioned by status code and HTTP method
  • gitlab_workhorse_object_storage_upload_requests: How many object storage requests have been processed
  • gitlab_workhorse_object_storage_upload_time_bucket: How long it took to upload objects
  • gitlab_workhorse_send_url_requests: How many send URL requests have been processed

Uh… A lot.

But it was interesting and useful to dive a little deeper into what generally happens inside the GitLab cluster.

Grafana GitLab Overview dashboard

And finally, let’s build our own dashboard for GitLab, although there are many ready-made ones here>>>, so you can take examples of requests and panels from them.

For the GitLab components themselves, it will probably be possible to create a separate one later, but for now, I’d like to see on one screen what is happening with Kubernetes pods, worker nodes, and general information about GitLab services and their status.

What are we interested in?

From Kubernetes resources:

  • pods: restarts, pendings
  • PVC: used/free disk space, IOPS
  • CPU/Memory by pods and CPU throttling (if pods had limits, by default there are none)
  • network: in/out bandwidth, error rate

In addition, I would like to see the status of GitLab components, information about the database, Redis, and some statistics on HTTP/Git/SSH.

Purely for me – it is desirable that all data be on one screen/monitor – then it is convenient to see everything you need at once.

Once upon a time, when I was still going to the office, it looked like this – load testing our first Kubernetes cluster at my former job:

Let’s go.


To be able to display information on a specific component of the cluster, add the component variable.

Values ​​are formed by the request to kube_pod_info:

label_values(kube_pod_info{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod!~".*backup.*"}, pod)

From which we will get a label pod, and then with the /^([^\d]+)-/ regex we cut everything down to the numbers:

And then we can use the $component variable to get only the necessary Pods.

GitLab components status

Here it is quite simple: we know the number of pods of each service, so we count them and display the UP/DEGRADED/DOWN message.

Using Webservice as an example, use the following request:

sum(kube_pod_info{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod=~"gitlab-cluster-prod-webservice-.+"})

Create a panel with type Stat, and get the number of pods:

Set the Text mode = Value:

Unit = number:

Create Value mappings:

We currently have 2 pods in the Webservice Deployment, so if there will be zero, then it will be displayed as DOWN, if only one – then DEGRADED, and 2 or more – then OK, UP.

Repeat for all services:

Pods status and number of WorkerNodes

The second important thing to monitor is the status of the Kubernetes Pods and the number of EC2 instances in the AWS EC2 AutoScale group as we have a dedicated node pool for the GitLab cluster.

Pod restarts table

For Pod restarts, we can use the Table type:

The request:

sum(delta(kube_pod_container_status_restarts_total{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod=~"$component.*"}[5m])) by (pod)

And set the Table format:

Add the Value mappings – depending on the value in the column of restarts, the cell will change its color:

In Override, hide the Time column, rename the Value field Restarts, and change the color of the Pod column and its name:

The result:

Pods status graph

Next, let’s display the status of Pods – restarts, Pending, etc.

For this, we can use the following query:

sum(avg(kube_pod_status_phase{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", phase!="Succeeded", pod=~"$component.*"}) by(namespace, pod, phase)) by(phase)

To display reboots:

sum(delta(kube_pod_container_status_restarts_total{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod=~"$component.*"}[5m]))

And the result here:

Cluster Autoscaler Worker Nodes

Here it is a bit more interesting: we need to count all Kubernetes Worker Nodes on which there are GitLab Pods, but the metrics from the Cluster AutoScaler itself have no labels like “namespace”, so we will use the metric kube_pod_info, which has the labels namespace and node, and from the sum of the node we will find out the number of EC2 instances:

count(count(kube_pod_info{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod!~"logical-backup.+"}) by (node))

I had to set the value manually for the Max nodes, but it is unlikely to be changed often.

In Thresholds, set the value when you need to pay attention, let it be 10, and turn on the Show thresholds = As filled regions and lines to see it on the graph:

The result:

And all together looks like this:

CPU and Memory by Pod

CPU by Pod

Calculate the % of the available CPU by the number of cores. Here, I also had to set this number manually, knowing the EC2 type, but it’s possible to search for metrics like “cores allocatable”:

sum(rate(container_cpu_usage_seconds_total{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", container!="POD",pod!="", image=~"", pod=~"$component.*"}[5m]) / 2 * 100) by (pod)

Don’t remember where I got the request, but the result of the kubectl top pod confirms the data – let’s check it on the Sidekiq Pod:

And top:

121 millicpu out of 2000 available (2 cores) is:


>>> 121/2000*100


On the graph, the is 5.43, which looks approx the same.

In the Legend, move the list to the right, and include Values ​​= Last to sort by values:

The result:

Memory by Pod

Here we count by the container_memory_working_set_bytes, the table settings are similar:

By the way, it was possible to display % of the available memory on the node, but let it be better in “clean” bytes.

Or you can add Threshold with a maximum of 17179869184 bytes (the EC2 max memory of 16GB), but then the graphics from Pods will not be so well visible.

And together we have the following:

Disc statistics

Gitaly PVC used space

First of all, I would like to see the free space on the Gitaly disk, where all the repositories will be stored, and general statistics on disk writes and reads.

To get the % occupied space on Gitaly, use the query (taken from some default dashboard of the Kube Prometheus Stack):

100 - ( 
    kubelet_volume_stats_available_bytes{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", persistentvolumeclaim="repo-data-gitlab-cluster-prod-gitaly-0"} / 
    kubelet_volume_stats_capacity_bytes{namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", persistentvolumeclaim="repo-data-gitlab-cluster-prod-gitaly-0"}
    * 100

And type Gauge, Unit – Percent 0-100, and add Thresholds:


Let’s add Operations per second on the disks, the query was also taken somewhere from ready-made boards:

ceil(sum by(pod) (rate(container_fs_reads_total{job="kubelet", metrics_path="/metrics/cadvisor", container!="", device=~"(/dev/)?(mmcblk.p.+|nvme.+|rbd.+|sd.+|vd.+|xvd.+|dm-.+|dasd.+)", namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod=~"$component.*"}[$__rate_interval]) + rate(container_fs_writes_total{job="kubelet", metrics_path="/metrics/cadvisor", container!="", namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod=~"$component.*"}[$__rate_interval])))

Sum up by the Pods, in the Legend add the Values ​​= Last again to be able to sort:

Disc Throughput

Everything is basically the same here, only a different query:

sum by(pod) (rate(container_fs_reads_bytes_total{job="kubelet", metrics_path="/metrics/cadvisor", container!="", device=~"(/dev/)?(mmcblk.p.+|nvme.+|rbd.+|sd.+|vd.+|xvd.+|dm-.+|dasd.+)", namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod=~"$component.*"}[$__rate_interval]) + rate(container_fs_writes_bytes_total{job="kubelet", metrics_path="/metrics/cadvisor", container!="", namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod", pod=~"$component.*"}[$__rate_interval]))

And all together:


It will probably be useful to see what is happening with the network – errors and In/Out rates.

Received/Transmitted Errors

Let’s add a Gauge, where we will display the % of errors – container_network_receive_errors_total which we calculate by the following query:

* 100

And similarly – for the Transmitted:

* 100

Network Bandwidth Bytes/second

Here we calculate the number of bytes per second on each Pod by using the container_network_receive_bytes_total and container_network_transmit_bytes_total metrics:

Network Packets/second

Similarly, just with metrics container_network_receive_packets_totalcontainer_network_transmit_packets_total:

Not sure if it will be useful, but for now let it be.

Webservice HTTP statistic

For the general picture, let’s add some data about HTTP requests to the Webservice.

HTTP requests/second

Let’s use the metric http_requests_total:

Let’s add an Override to change the color for 4хх and 5хх codes:

Webservice HTTP request duration

Here it’s possible to build a Heatmap by using the http_request_duration_seconds_bucket, but in my opinion, the usual graph by request types would be better:

sum(increase(http_request_duration_seconds_sum{kubernetes_namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod"}[5m])) by (method) 
sum(increase(http_request_duration_seconds_count{kubernetes_namespace="gitlab-cluster-prod"}[5m])) by (method)

But you can also create a Heatmap:

sum(increase(http_request_duration_seconds_bucket[10m])) by (le)

In general, you can do quite a lot of interesting things with Histogram-type metrics, although I somehow did not use them.


GitLab services statistics

And finally, some information on the components of GitLab itself. In the process of work, I will definitely change something, because until it is used a lot, it is not very clear what exactly deserves attention.

But what comes to mind so far is Sidekiq and its jobs, Redis, PostgreSQL, and GitLab Runner.

Sidekiq Jobs Errors rate

The query:

sum(sidekiq_jobs_failed_total) / sum(sidekiq_jobs_processed_total) * 100

GitLab Runner Errors rate

The query:

sum(gitlab_runner_errors_total) / sum(gitlab_runner_api_request_statuses_total) * 100

GitLab Redis Errors rate

The query:

sum(gitlab_redis_client_exceptions_total) / sum(gitlab_redis_client_requests_total) * 100

Gitaly Supervisor errors rate

The query:

sum(gitaly_supervisor_health_checks_total{status="bad"}) / sum(gitaly_supervisor_health_checks_total{status="ok"}) * 100

Database transactions latency

The query:

sum(rate(gitlab_database_transaction_seconds_sum[5m])) by (kubernetes_pod_name) / sum(rate(gitlab_database_transaction_seconds_count[5m])) by (kubernetes_pod_name)

User Sessions

The query:


Git/SSH failed connections/second – by Grafana Loki

And here we will use the values ​​obtained from Loki – the error rate of the “kex_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host” string from the logs, in Loki it looks like this:

See Grafana Loki: LogQL for logs and creating metrics for alerts.

In the panel, specify the Data source = Loki, and use sum() and rate() to obtain values:

Configure Thresholds and Overrides, and we have the following graph:

And in general, the whole dashboard now looks like this:

Will see how it will be further, what will be useful, and what will be removed, and what can be added.

Well, and add alerts.