gitlab.fd.o financial situation and impact on services

Matt Turner mattst88 at
Thu Feb 27 23:45:36 UTC 2020

On Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 1:27 PM Daniel Vetter <daniel.vetter at> wrote:
> Hi all,
> You might have read the short take in the board meeting minutes
> already, here's the long version.
> The good news: gitlab.fd.o has become very popular with our
> communities, and is used extensively. This especially includes all the
> CI integration. Modern development process and tooling, yay!
> The bad news: The cost in growth has also been tremendous, and it's
> breaking our bank account. With reasonable estimates for continued
> growth we're expecting hosting expenses totalling 75k USD this year,
> and 90k USD next year. With the current sponsors we've set up we can't
> sustain that. We estimate that hosting expenses for gitlab.fd.o
> without any of the CI features enabled would total 30k USD, which is
> within's ability to support through various sponsorships, mostly
> through XDC.
> Note that does no longer sponsor any CI runners themselves,
> we've stopped that. The huge additional expenses are all just in
> storing and serving build artifacts and images to outside CI runners
> sponsored by various companies. A related topic is that with the
> growth in fd.o it's becoming infeasible to maintain it all on
> volunteer admin time. is therefore also looking for admin
> sponsorship, at least medium term.
> Assuming that we want cash flow reserves for one year of gitlab.fd.o
> (without CI support) and a trimmed XDC and assuming no sponsor payment
> meanwhile, we'd have to cut CI services somewhere between May and June
> this year. The board is of course working on acquiring sponsors, but
> filling a shortfall of this magnitude is neither easy nor quick work,
> and we therefore decided to give an early warning as soon as possible.
> Any help in finding sponsors for fd.o is very much appreciated.

Some clarification I got from Daniel in a private conversation, since
I was confused about what the money was paying for exactly:

We're paying 75K USD for the bandwidth to transfer data from the
GitLab cloud instance. i.e., for viewing the https site, for
cloning/updating git repos, and for downloading CI artifacts/images to
the testing machines (AFAIU).

I was not aware that we were being charged for anything wrt GitLab
hosting yet (and neither was anyone on my team at Intel that I've
asked). This... kind of needs to be communicated.

A consistent concern put forth when we were discussing switching to
GitLab and building CI was... how do we pay for it. It felt like that
concern was always handwaved away. I heard many times that if we
needed more runners that we could just ask Google to spin up a few
more. If we needed testing machines they'd be donated. No one
mentioned that all the while we were paying for bandwidth... Perhaps
people building the CI would make different decisions about its
structure if they knew it was going to wipe out the bank account.

What percentage of the bandwidth is consumed by transferring CI
images, etc? Wouldn't 75K USD would be enough to buy all the testing
machines we need and host them within Google or wherever so we don't
need to pay for huge amounts of bandwidth?

I understand that self-hosting was attractive so that we didn't find
ourselves on the SourceForge-equivalent hosting platform of 2022, but
is that risk real enough to justify spending 75K+ per year? If we were
hosted on or, we wouldn't be paying for
transferring CI images to CI test machines, etc, would we?

So what do we do now? Have we painted ourselves into a corner?

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