GitLab—the website that’s an app for coding, testing and deploying code together—recently announced a new feature that should make developers very happy.
Users consistently had free access to the site’s programmer toolset, such as GitLab Runner. Now, developers can use GitLab Runner Autoscale, which is the new feature that permits constant code testing at scale. To sweeten the deal for developers, GitLab has partnered with Digital Ocean, the cloud infrastructure provider, to offer free webhosting for testing said code.
The company will make more servers available to users to facilitate the increased demand as a result of this new, free feature. Developers can rest assured that there will be sufficient number of machines to run their code, according to GitLab CEO Sytse “Sid” Sijbrandij.
The move is beneficial to all parties involved: developers, GitLab and Digital Ocean. Developers get more space to freely test their code, GitLab expands its offerings to users, and Digital Ocean gets to tap into the potentially lucrative market of developers. Digital Ocean would ideally want to convert a fraction of the free users into paying customers by convincing them of the benefits of their webhosting for faster code testing.
GitLab wants to solve a very real problem that developers constantly face by announcing this new feature. It’s not uncommon for developers to face delays in deployment because of inefficiencies in the code-testing process.
When developers tap into a Digital Ocean account, they’re able to provision as many servers as required. Since the cloud company’s service is speedy, developers won’t ever have to deal with queues, which slow down work and eventual deployment. Further, the process is also secure since the servers are deprecated when testing is complete. Finally, cost savings result because servers don’t need to be in operation the entire time.
Typically, in an in-house data operation, server space can be limited for this sort of code testing. This produces bottlenecks because developers have to essentially wait in line to access servers to test their code. Because of today’s focus on lightness and speed, tolerating these bottlenecks is uncalled for.
GitLab’s partnership with Digital Ocean will run for a year; depending on the outcome, both parties can revisit where they want to go from there.
Though GitLab is an open-source project, it actually has paying customers. Most of them are enterprise customers with bigger budgets who can therefore pay for more in-depth services and features. Still, these bigger customers make up only a small fraction of all GitLab users, many of whom use the site for free.