Connecting GitLab with a Kubernetes cluster

Introduced in 10.1.

CAUTION: Warning: The Cluster integration is currently in Beta.

With a cluster associated to your project, you can use Review Apps, deploy your applications, run your pipelines, and much more, in an easy way.

Connect your project to Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) or your own Kubernetes cluster in a few steps.

NOTE: Note: The Cluster integration will eventually supersede the Kubernetes integration. For the moment, you can create only one cluster.


In order to be able to manage your GKE cluster through GitLab, the following prerequisites must be met:

  • The Google authentication integration must be enabled in GitLab at the instance level. If that's not the case, ask your administrator to enable it.
  • Your associated Google account must have the right privileges to manage clusters on GKE. That would mean that a billing account must be set up.
  • You must have Master permissions in order to be able to access the Cluster page.

If all of the above requirements are met, you can proceed to add a new GKE cluster.

Adding a cluster

NOTE: Note: You need Master permissions and above to add a cluster.

There are two options when adding a new cluster; either use Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) or provide the credentials to your own Kubernetes cluster.

To add a new cluster:

  1. Navigate to your project's CI/CD > Cluster page
  2. If you want to let GitLab create a cluster on GKE for you, go through the following steps, otherwise skip to the next one.
    1. Click on Create with GKE
    2. Connect your Google account if you haven't done already by clicking the Sign in with Google button
    3. Fill in the requested values:
      • Cluster name (required) - The name you wish to give the cluster.
      • GCP project ID (required) - The ID of the project you created in your GCP console that will host the Kubernetes cluster. This must not be confused with the project name. Learn more about Google Cloud Platform projects.
      • Zone - The zone under which the cluster will be created.
      • Number of nodes - The number of nodes you wish the cluster to have.
      • Machine type - The machine type of the Virtual Machine instance that the cluster will be based on.
      • Project namespace - The unique namespace for this project. By default you don't have to fill it in; by leaving it blank, GitLab will create one for you.
  3. If you want to use your own existing Kubernetes cluster, click on Add an existing cluster and fill in the details as described in the Kubernetes integration documentation.
  4. Finally, click the Create cluster button

After a few moments, your cluster should be created. If something goes wrong, you will be notified.

You can now proceed to install some pre-defined applications and then enable the Cluster integration.

Installing applications

GitLab provides a one-click install for various applications which will be added directly to your configured cluster. Those applications are needed for Review Apps and deployments.

Application GitLab version Description
Helm Tiller 10.2+ Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes and is required to install all the other applications. It will be automatically installed as a dependency when you try to install a different app. It is installed in its own pod inside the cluster which can run the helm CLI in a safe environment.
Ingress 10.2+ Ingress can provide load balancing, SSL termination and name-based virtual hosting. It acts as a web proxy for your applications and is useful if you want to use Auto DevOps or deploy your own web apps.

Enabling or disabling the Cluster integration

After you have successfully added your cluster information, you can enable the Cluster integration:

  1. Click the "Enabled/Disabled" switch
  2. Hit Save for the changes to take effect

You can now start using your Kubernetes cluster for your deployments.

To disable the Cluster integration, follow the same procedure.

Removing the Cluster integration

NOTE: Note: You need Master permissions and above to remove a cluster integration.

NOTE: Note: When you remove a cluster, you only remove its relation to GitLab, not the cluster itself. To remove the cluster, you can do so by visiting the GKE dashboard or using kubectl.

To remove the Cluster integration from your project, simply click on the Remove integration button. You will then be able to follow the procedure and add a cluster again.