GitLab has recently put a limit on number of users on it’s free SaaS offering. This has forced a lot of companies to look for alternatives. Although GitHub seems to be the most obvious alternative but moving a lot of users, groups, repos and CI/CD pipelines is not easy as it sounds. Specially CI/CD pipelines, as you have to write them from scratch for GitHub Actions.
In this article, we’ll delve into how self-hosted GitLab can be a financial game-changer, potentially saving organizations thousands of dollars annually. Migrating repos will also be a straight forward process and you don’t need to rewrite your CI/CD pipelines.
The Allure of GitLab
GitLab is celebrated for its comprehensive suite of features that streamline software development workflows. It offers repository management, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, issue tracking, code review, and more, all in one platform. The cloud-hosted GitLab option provides convenience and simplicity, as users don’t need to worry about infrastructure management or maintenance. However, this convenience comes at a cost, and for many businesses, that cost can add up significantly over time.
The Cost Concerns
While cloud-based solutions offer ease of use, they often come with subscription fees that can escalate as your usage increases. For organizations with substantial codebases and development teams, these costs can quickly spiral out of control. Additionally, data privacy and security concerns might lead certain organizations to prefer maintaining their data in-house, necessitating the need for a self-hosted solution.
The Self-Hosting Advantage
1. Cost Predictability:
Self-hosting GitLab means that you’re investing in your own infrastructure upfront, which can result in lower recurring costs over time. The initial investment might seem higher, but it pays off in the long run as you avoid monthly subscription fees that accumulate with SaaS solutions.
2. Scaling Without Inflation:
As your organization grows, the costs of SaaS solutions can increase proportionally. Self-hosting allows you to scale your infrastructure based on your actual needs, preventing over-payments for resources you don’t fully utilize.
3. Long-Term Sustainability:
Investing in self-hosting reflects a long-term vision for your development infrastructure. While cloud-based services might seem cost-effective in the short term, their pricing models can change, leaving you vulnerable to unexpected cost increases. Self-hosting allows you to plan for the future with greater certainty and stability.
4. Data Security:
For companies dealing with sensitive data or subject to strict compliance regulations, self-hosting offers enhanced security and privacy. With complete ownership of your infrastructure, you have the power to implement robust security measures and encryption protocols, mitigating the risk of data breaches. Furthermore, you’re not sharing server resources with other users, reducing the likelihood of security vulnerabilities originating from external sources.
5. Eliminating Usage-Based Charges
No per user per month charges, also there is no limit on Ci/CD minutes. Self-hosting GitLab provides you the privilege to add as many users you want, enabling you to allocate resources and budget with more accuracy.
Calculating the Savings
Let’s break down the potential cost savings using a hypothetical scenario:
Imagine a mid-sized development and DevOps team of 25 members using GitLab for their projects. For SaaS based GitLab, the monthly subscription costs around $29 per user per month and it has to be billed annually, totaling $8700 per year.
Cost estimation for self-hosted:
4 Core 8 GB RAM Server with 200GB Disk.
On Linode, it costs around $80/month including backups, which totals to $960/year.
On AWS, the cost will be around $170/month including backups, which totals to $2040/year.
This does not include the cost of runners but even if those are added, it will still be well under $2500/year on Linode and somewhere around $4500/year on AWS.
The most important point to note here is that the cost will remain the same with the addition of more users, which is the biggest win.
Getting Started with Self-Hosting
To embark on the journey of self-hosting GitLab, here’s a basic roadmap:
1. Evaluate Requirements:
2. Hardware Setup:
Acquire the necessary hardware, such as servers and storage. Consider redundancy and backup strategies to ensure data safety.
3. Data Migration:
If you’re transitioning from a SaaS based solution, plan and execute a smooth migration of your repositories and data to the self-hosted environment.
4. Ongoing Maintenance:
Regularly update GitLab to the latest version, perform backups, and monitor performance. This ensures your self-hosted instance remains secure and efficient.
Need Help in Self-Hosting GitLab ?
ShellStack can help you deploy a GitLab instance with runners on Linode. Being Linode’s Solutions partner ShellStack provides complete management of Linode’s Cloud Infrastructure and guarantees 99.9% uptime, 24/7 support, backups management and OS upgrades and patches.
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While SaaS based solutions offer convenience, self-hosted GitLab can be a financially savvy decision for organizations with substantial development needs. By making an upfront investment in infrastructure and maintenance, you can save thousands of dollars annually over cloud-based subscription fees. With greater control, customization, and data security, self-hosting provides a holistic solution for businesses looking to optimize their software development processes while keeping a watchful eye on their budget.