AutoDevOps Not working


I have followed all the instructions to integrate autodevops with autodeploy.

Kubernetes cluster is connected and all the correct setup has been completed.

The following happens

  • Build - succeeds

  • Tests - Succeeds

  • Code quality - hangs and fails on a timeout error, allowed to fail

  • Deployment - timeout failure.

Really need some help with this, I am deploying a simple rails app.



I’m having the same problem and would like to bump this. Here’s some additional information for my own flow (@callan would love it if you managed to solve this somehow and don’t mind sharing).

I have a Dockerfile present in my repo which is correctly used to build a container image in the Build stage. Then the Test stage pulls my code directly and uses herokuish (and a custom buildpack I use via the BUILDPACK_URL variable in the CI/CD Settings for the project) which passes the tests successfully. Code quality typically hangs or succeeds, but that’s not an important step for me anyway. Then comes the Staging deployment stage, which sets up a custom chart to perform a deployment to my Kubernetes cluster.

As far as I can tell, the AutoDeploy function might be trying to use the raw code like the Test stage does rather than using the container image produced by the Build stage. My reason for believing this is due to the following log lines from the failed job:

Fetching changes with git depth set to 50…
Initialized empty Git repository in /builds/kolorahl/myapp/.git/
Created fresh repository.

  • [new branch] master -> origin/master
    Checking out abcdef12 as master…

Am I correct in believing that the AutoDeploy stage is not using the container image? Because there are certain steps in the build phase that clearly aren’t going to be executed if it tries to run the code as-is from a fresh pull of the repo.

Additionally, I don’t seem to be able to pass environment variables to the Kubernetes deployment. I am trying to use Cloud SQL to host my database and have set up a variable in the CI/CD settings called K8S_SECRET_DATABASE_URL, which supposedly will get passed to the Kubernetes deployment for the pods to use (with the K8S_SECRET_ prefix removed, supposedly), but based on the errors in the pod logs, this is definitely not the case.

Anyone experiencing similar issues or no how to ensure the container image and the environment variables are being properly setup and used in the deployment phase?

I managed to fix this for my own application, so I’m going to post the problems I encountered in case anyone else has similar issues.

Compiled Language Issues

I was trying to deploy an Elixir application, which is a compiled language, and some of my build-time environment variables were being compiled to static code and therefore meant I was effectively ignoring my runtime environment variables. I had to figure out how to ensure that my build phase wasn’t baking build-time variables when I needed to use runtime variables.

Because GitLab pushes the container image (if a Dockerfile is present in your repo) to its own container registry service, you can login to your GitLab registry and pull down the final image to inspect on your own machine. This allowed me to inspect the artifacts I intended to produce, execute the associated binaries, and ultimately determine that environment variables weren’t being respected. There could be other problems for other people (like maybe some assets aren’t getting copied to the final image), so I would highly suggest pulling down the image from GitLab container registry and inspecting it for problems.

CI vs ENV Variables

The Variables section under the CI/CD Settings are environment variables for the CI/CD jobs, not for your application. I made this mistake but the documentation was pretty explicit on the fix: just prepend your variable names with K8S_SECRET_. The Auto Deploy phase will find all variables matching the K8S_SECRET_* pattern, remove the prefix, and build a Kubernetes secrets file on-the-fly. However, I’ve found there is at least one environment variable that your application might need that doesn’t follow that pattern: DATABASE_URL.

Because the Auto Deploy phase can also deploy a Postgres database (which it does by default and you have to specifically disable it), the DATABASE_URL variable is a computed value which overrides any K8S_SECRET_DATABASE_URL. However, it will not compute the value if it is already present as a CI/CD variable, so just set DATABASE_URL - no prefix on this one - and it will successfully be passed down to the application deployment. I figured this out through trial-and-error because I was looking at my container logs and they were constantly having issues connecting to the database, but it was also showing the wrong connection host despite whatever K8S secret I tried to set.

Google Cloud SQL Proxy

GitLab can manage a GKE cluster for your project if you let it, and it’s actually quite proficient at doing so. You might think, like I did, to use other Google Cloud services, like Cloud SQL. If you do, keep in mind: you need to sidecar a special Cloud SQL Proxy container. Even if you plunk down the appropriate service account credentials into the environment variables you cannot connect to Cloud SQL without the proxy running sidecar (meaning there’s one proxy container running per pod your application is deployed to).

Unfortunately, there’s no great way to define sidecar services in the Auto Deploy phase (to my knowledge), so I bailed on Cloud SQL and let Auto Deploy manage my database deployment. Then I removed my custom DATABASE_URL variable and let GitLab compute the appropriate value. My application could finally connect to the database.

Health Checks Against Root Path

This wasn’t an issue for me personally, but it bears knowing that the deployment (by default) attempts to run a health check by accessing the root path of the web application (GET /). It expects a “success” response (100, 200, or 300, I think). If you don’t respond with that or if you take too long to respond, your application will be assumed unhealthy, which will ultimately affect the deployment. I know of no way to change this right now, which is unfortunate because I would like to set up a separate endpoint that just handles health check pings. I would also like to change the frequency of the health check.


  1. My build phase was constructing an incorrect application binary, but I was able to pull down the container image produced by the build phase and inspect it for issues.
  2. If you have environment variables required by your application, prefix them with K8S_SECRET_ in the Variables section of your CI/CD Settings. The only exception is DATABASE_URL which should not use any special prefix.
  3. If you plan to use an external database, such as Cloud SQL, ensure that you can reach the instance without any special “extras” that aren’t simple to set up in the Auto Deploy flow (e.g. Cloud SQL Proxy as a sidecar).
  4. Health checks default (and can’t be changed, to my knowledge) to GET /. I can’t seem to find the defined timeout but ultimately you need to ensure it responds “quickly” and with a non-error code (1xx, 2xx, or 3xx).

Once I fixed those four problems, my deploys began to succeed. The build phase (trying to fix compilation issues) was the most difficult to solve on my end but diagnosing the DATABASE_URL issue probably took the most time since overriding their computed value is not documented anywhere that I could find.

Hope this helps.