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GitLab 12.5 (gitlab.com)
114 points by bjoko 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 55 comments

I've struggled to understand how the ultimate plan can be priced as high as $99/user/month. What kind of company can afford this service price?

It's the only way to have access to epics, a feature quite standard for Ajile project management. As a result, we're sticking to the Community Edition, so it's a loss of business for GitLab.


Here's the story - I'm a dev, I discovered GitLab ~4 years ago, been using it since, we paid for Enterprise plan immediately and are self-hosting it (for internal use).

I work with code. I can't context switch between an app for code, app for CI, app for CD, app for orchestration, app for issues, JIRA, mail, Slack (you get the idea) AND be productive. There's just too much white noise. I want to use a few tools, minimize context switching and do my work.

I'd like to use GitLab alone, focus on business logic I've to code and keep an agile board that my team and I can use.

And here comes GitLab - with a price of $99 per user. It'd cost us $25 000 a month. Just to get an agile board.

So what we did was - we said "screw that, they completely missed the point", I started playing with Gogs: https://gogs.io/ and I decided we can develop a tiny agile board within a few days to suit our needs, integrate it with gogs and ditch GitLab.

I understand there's business around GitLab, I know there are bills to pay and appetites to satisfy but seriously guys - when a dev's bullshit meter goes off (and mine did), you can tell someone made a bad call.

As much as I got used to GitLab's quirks and everything, I'm really now looking forward to replace it - simply due to the fact I felt like they want to rip me off for a meager feature.

It would have been AMAZING if I could get an agile board and have GitLab help me with 60% of the extra-tooling besides my IDE, but nope - someone was too greedy.

I saw many people complaining about this RIDICULOUS pricing, and even more people defend it - that made me give up arguing. From my POV, pricing is ridiculous, GitLab's been marked as yet another company that started off good and started turning evil (hi Google), I'm looking into alternatives - just like I found GitLab when I looked for GitHub alternative.

The features you mention (code editing, CI, CD, orchestration, issues, Web IDE, agile board) are available in all tiers of GitLab, including the free open source version and the one for $4 per user per month (paid annually).

What are the top features what you get with other software that are not in the free version of GitLab?

IMHO, this is the biggest feature that should be considered for the smaller paid tiers:


The kind of people I would like to have as free users wouldn't even label issues. They'd submit an issue and I'd have to deal with it. Think entry level issue tracking, not a JIRA competitor (for my needs).

Also, being able to mix tiers would be great. The way Microsoft does Office 365 is awesome. Each user is on a plan that gives them exactly the features they need.

GitLab is really weird in a way. I think it's a really good product, but, at the same time, I don't want to invite anyone to use my self-hosted instance and I don't bother learning about the features in the paid tiers. The big issue for me is that I'm a long way off from being able to pay $1200/year per user, so there's no point in learning about any of the "expensive" features.

I know I'm not worth having as a customer in terms of profit, but I know people who are. I'm also a lot more willing (and able) to experiment with new features and workflows. There's got to be _some_ value on the low end to make an open core product practical.

If you ever decide to allow mixing of tiers for self-hosted, maybe you could include some free licenses. 1 Ultimate, 2 Premium, etc. would have almost no impact on revenue from large instances, but would be a significant help to small developers in terms of the cost average of their first 5-10 users. I think it would also be beneficial for the first several users to have access to most features because that makes it more likely someone like me will build using those features.

For comparison, the first 10 full features users in a self-hosted Atlassian setup are very inexpensive.

> The kind of people I would like to have as free users wouldn't even label issues. They'd submit an issue and I'd have to deal with it.

I would just create a web-form with simple auth, which would post issues onto GitLab via API call.

Obviously correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't some of the stuff mentioned by the poster migrated from a higher tier to a lower tier over time? I get the impression that the poster's experience was a while ago...

All of these have been in free/core since they got released as far as I remember.

Oh, ok, fair enough. I was just thinking back to an evaluation we did on GitLab, but it seems I may have misremembered.

We actually ended up going with GitLab, but we cannot currently really justify the price tag for the Enterprise edition even though we want just a few of the features :/. FWIW, I think a high-but-fixed-price could work better, but that's obviously just from a customer perspective -- I'm sure you have a lot more information on what works wrt. monetization. I will say that we are actively looking for alternatives because we are a dev company and we want all the things, but realistically... it's not going to happen in the next year or two.

Thanks! What tier of the Enterprise Edition can't you justify the price tag of? Gold/Ultimate? Are you on Silver/Premium now?

The security testing should absolutely not be in the highest tier.

Share your work so others can use it, please.

I was at Gitlab Commit London and myself and colleagues raised this with a few Gitlab employees. They seem to be aware their jump from Premium to Ultimate is too big. At their feedback booth I passed on that it would be ideal to pay for what you use.

We use a separate issue tracker so any of that isn't relevant for us, but some of the security would be ideal.

Likewise, we have user accounts for non-development departments (Legal/Compliance/etc) that wouldn't be interested in SAST, for example. If we jumped to Ultimate we would have to pay monthly for those users to access features that never would use.

As I said, they do seem to be aware of this. I wouldn't be surprised if they came up with a different arrangement for Ultimate in the near future.

I’ve raised similar concerns as well, especially with the same argument about non-development departments.

However, with the Ultimate plan you also get free guest users, which could serve well for most users who are not developers.

Should look at Clubhouse for org wide project management . Integrates tightly with GitLab. Soon to release full Confluence replacement too

That's also part of the problem. They don't have a good strategy around these lite users.

We were able to justify it because the automation would have taken a FTE to impliment. The cost was more than half that for us.

That is the idea. We are allowing more automation in for example security testing https://about.gitlab.com/solutions/dev-sec-ops/ and portfolio planning https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/group/epics/

We used to discount our top tier heavily when we just introduced it while we were adding the features to create more value.

In our fiscal quarter that ended last month the average price per user for the top tier was above $1000 per year for the first time. And the top tier was 22% of our IACV https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/sales/#incremental-annual-... last quarter. I hope this makes it plausible that some of our users are starting to see the value.

I agree. 99 is a lot of money and basic things like epics should not be exclusive to a super expensive edition.

GitHub enterprise is much higher and doesn't even include CI/CD. In addition other CI tools I've seen quoted in the $300/seat range.

Gitlab is a steal at a $99 price point compared to other tools.

what? github enterprise is 1/5 that cost. and what about github actions? they provide 50k minutes/month for enterprise https://github.com/features/actions

To be fair, GitHub Actions is a relatively new thing and I'm not even sure it was already opened to the general public (that is, to anyone who didn't signed up for the beta). It's understandable if GitHub Actions isn't yet a part of the general public's mental landscape.

It's $250/user/YEAR, not per month.

I thought GitHub enterprise is $250/yr/user. Which is only around $21/month. My info is prob really old though. Guessing they changed.

exactly, the gap is too high, and while being a an absolute gitlab fanboy (been converting all the companies I've been since 2012 and gitlab 5), but here I've no traction to say "let's ditch Jira and switch to ultimate, (we're currently premium), because for 10,20 more dollar, we have both, and yes as other said, suddenly with these features you want to onboard much more people , so you both pay more , and you pay more :)

I agree. Their pricing needs fixed for sure. The lowest paid price isn't bad, and even the middle one, but the top one is way overpriced.

It would also be nice if they introduced some sort of pricing for small orgs, especially for one people shops.

Yes quite steep if you have enough devs you can pay for in-house gitlab server + admin

yeah atlassian pricing is way more affordable for small teams. (i.e. 10€/y for everything for a team of ten or below, but they have way higher server costs)

Atlassian starter pricing basically gives the product away to teams with a demonstrated ability to pay, so that they'll keep paying when they grow beyond the starter pricing. It's a false economy unless you could somehow guarantee that you'll never grow beyond 10 users.

But if you grow beyond 10 you are being successful. In other words. It is a nice problem to have if you are barely starting.

What kind of established company can’t afford that? For engineers, it represents less then 1% (often less then even .5%) of the fully loaded cost of an FTE.

Plenty of (in fact most) companies don’t pay SF/SV/NYC salaries, especially outside the U.S.

Depends on your market.

And your margins.

I am wondering when merge approvals will come to the community edition. To me this seems like a feature that is "essential to running a large 'forge' with public and private repositories". This would mean that it should be made available to the community edition according to their stewardship page[0].

[0] https://about.gitlab.com/company/stewardship/

GitLab community advocate chiming in, I just wanted to share a n Epic with plans from our team regarding this issue and future releases. https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-org/-/epics/1887

Can't wait to try out the Sourcegraph integration, as well as the improved rebase. At our place the rebase button on GitLab is so slow that no one uses it.

Every release of GitLab is not newsworthy. Let interested parties sign up for email notifications.

They're a YCombinator company and get the benefit of extra coverage. Stripe is another company with a constant stream of product announcements on HN.

I've wondered if applying to Ycombinator might be valuable simply for the ability to advertise to and recruit engineers.

I really like that there is a focus on being able to deploy in k8s. Nice work!

However, some teams (ours) already run their own k8s clusters and would probably want to deploy gitlab in a namespace in there.

I hoped there would be simple example k8s manifests for doing this, but last time I checked I could only find helm charts. We don't use helm and don't want to use it.

If anyone knows some k8s manifests I can cut and paste to get started I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, it's going be be a job of creating it all myself, which right now is what's stopping us evaluating gitlab properly.

Helm charts are just templated k8s manifests, you can have it spit out the final manifest and use it manually.

Thanks. Maybe I will try that.

:wave: I'm a maintainer of the GitLab helm chart. You can certainly use `helm template` to get the output of our chart, and then make use of `kubectl` without issue. We have several large customers using this pattern, and is expected as an option due Helm 2.x's Tiller component being problematic in compliance regulated industries.

We can certainly work on surfacing this better in our documentation :thumbsup:

GitLab product person here - Thanks for the suggestion! I think this issue (scheduled for our 12.6 release coming out next month) should help. https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab/issues/27630

Whoops - I think you are suggesting deploying GitLab the application to your existing Kubernetes cluster. The issue, and highlight from the blog post, were about deploying your applications (in GitLab projects) to a Kubernetes cluster.

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I was talking about deploying to our existing cluster. Pretty much the only requirement for software that we run is that it must run in our cluster.

Ironically, it's often harder to deploy applications that offer their own k8s deployment approaches because they often have their own opinionated ways of using it that don't match our policies.

In your deploy step you can just use kubectl and set the user and context with variables you've provided the job.

I’ve set up teamcity, Jenkins, CircleCI for past projects and companies. Tried to use gitlab with all their built-in DevOps feature and found it extremely frustrating to get to a good setup.

I dig the idea of all in one but think it really needs some polishing

I am glad you said it. Right now, the setup is so opinionated that it's limited and suffers from the mile wide and inch deep problem. In particular, they are still behind the Jenkins default setup in terms of standardized xunit output parsing, tracking and visualizing test trends over time - and since they have all the git topology information at their disposal there are amazing possibilities there and its a real shame. They are light years away from large scale project management capabilities of JIRA + plugins and I wish they would improve the core source control + build pipeline experience before tackling that space.

> Tried to use gitlab with all their built-in DevOps feature and found it extremely frustrating to get to a good setup.

All the AutoDevOps stuff is pretty much just some standard build jobs that use Herokuish and Helm, and the inflexibility of them goes hand-in-hand with Gitlab's "breadth over depth" strategy. Hopefully it continues to mature, but for now it's only appropriate for smaller/less complicated applications.

Fortunately it's pretty easy to ignore the AutoDevOps pipeline and still get the benefits of the various integration points that were added to make it work - if a Kubernetes cluster is tied to a project environment then a kubeconfig will be injected into any CI job with the environment set, the same job will automatically get recognized as the deployment job so rollbacks work seamlessly as well, etc. I've done this myself to deploy Mediawiki on Kubernetes, as the default pipeline was not setup for complex multi-component deployments (memcached, mediawiki, apache trafficserver, service endpoints for an external mysql cluster) and it works well.

How does Sourcegraph's pricing [0] come in to play with self-hosted, paid GitLab plans?

For example, if you pay for GitLab's self-managed "Starter" package, and assuming you spin up your own private Sourcegraph instance [1] to go along with your self-managed GitLab instance, what Sourcegraph features do you get? Will you get code review intelligence, which Sourcegraph charges $29/user/month for?

On Sourcegraph's pricing page, it says the open-source edition is missing features like "Single repository definitions and references" and "Cross-repository definitions and references". What does that mean for private GitLab instances?

[0] https://about.sourcegraph.com/pricing/

[1] https://github.com/sourcegraph/sourcegraph

Sourcegraph CTO here.

> For example, if you pay for GitLab's self-managed "Starter" package, and assuming you spin up your own private Sourcegraph instance [1] to go along with your self-managed GitLab instance, what Sourcegraph features do you get? Will you get code review intelligence, which Sourcegraph charges $29/user/month for?

The GitLab pricing tier has no bearing on Sourcegraph features—it is the Sourcegraph pricing tier that determines what Sourcegraph features are available. $29/user/month is the Sourcegraph Enterprise tier, which includes full code review intelligence (jump-to-def, find-refs, hover tooltips).

Note also that Sourcegraph customers are only charged for active users, so if most of your team doesn't end up using the features provided by Sourcegraph, you aren't charged for them.

> On Sourcegraph's pricing page, it says the open-source edition is missing features like "Single repository definitions and references" and "Cross-repository definitions and references". What does that mean for private GitLab instances?

"Single repository definitions and references" means go-to-def and find-refs work if the code you're trying to jump to is in the same repository. "Cross repository" means you can jump through to code in upstream and downstream dependencies.

If you're running a private GitLab instance, you'll need to deploy a Sourcegraph instance (runnable as either a single Docker image or Kubernetes cluster) and pay for the appropriate license (free if you're under 10 active users and just want single-repository code intelligence, $29/user/month if you're over 10 active users or want cross-repo code intelligence).

Sorry about the confusion here—does that answer your questions?

Yes, that makes things very clear!

The only confusing thing is that the open-source version doesn't even have "Single repository definitions and references" code intelligence? Trying to understand what would be gained by spinning up a Sourcegraph instance. What extra functionality does that bring to GitLab if you're already paying for a self-managed GitLab instance and thus already have cross-repository search, indexed search, etc. (provided via GitLab)?

Thanks very much for taking the time to spell it out.

I ran my own personal GitLab EE on EC2 and it cost a fortune per year to use an instance type with enough memory. Then I realized GitLab.com private is... free and unlimited? How is that even possible?

When on the private, free, you get the features of the unlicensed EE (which behaves as the opensource version).

You can still pay us money if you want, by going with one of the paid tiers, which gives you access to other features and additional CI minutes.

But "free GitLab" is, really, good enough for personal use and small / medium companies when they are starting their digital transformation, or can afford to some manual inefficiencies.

The extra features on the paid tier become more important and urgent as you grow, so by having you already familiar and invested in the product, it becomes more obvious and easier the choice of becoming a paid customer.

Sourcegraph is the same company that hijacked the langserver.org domain to almost completely remove credit for the original author of language server protocol.

Not a good team to be on.

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