Setting up Gitlab Advanced search

I managed to get a Gitlab Premium trial to see if it was right for our business. The big feature I was excited to try out was the Advanced search. This brings a (and style of "global search" to the install - being able to search in all the code is going to be incredible.

Having upgraded my Community Edition install is was disheartened to see the Advanced search required Elasticsearch to be set up, which is recommended to be on a different server.

The tutorial covers how to integrate with an Elasticsearch server, but not how to set it up. AWS is mentioned, along with Elastic Cloud, however I struggled to get either of these working as the AWS interface and user management is confusing and I couldn't figure what credentials to use for the Elastic cloud.

I was after a "straight-forward" and "cheap" solution to try the search - I was only on a trial of Gitlab so didn't want to go through the process of setting up a full infrastructural layer for something I could be deleting in less than 30 days. The other thing I didn't know was how much disk space I needed.

I ended up setting up a new server and installing Elasticsearch on it using DigitalOcean. With a swift Google, you can find an offer for some free credits ($200 at time of writing).

From there, I set up a new droplet: Ubuntu, 2 GB Memory, 2 Intel vCPUs and 60 GB Disk which casts $21 a month - I should be able to get a good few months for free while I trial Gitlab and the functionality.

Once the droplet was set up, I followed the DigitalOcean guide for setting up Elasticsearch.

The only difference to the article is I set the following:
cluster.initial_master_nodes: node-1

The first one makes it accessible to other servers, the second is required for "production mode".

From there, I followed the Gitlab tutorial for setting up the Advanced Search. I restricted the Elasticsearch server by IP instead of adding authorisation as it was for testing purposes.

Note: For a 35GB Gitlab install, Elasticsearch uses 4GB.

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Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a CTO and Lead Developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Mastodon.