GitLab Geo Troubleshooting

Note: This list is an attempt to document all the moving parts that can go wrong. We are working into getting all this steps verified automatically in a rake task in the future.

Setting up Geo requires careful attention to details and sometimes it's easy to miss a step. Here is a list of questions you should ask to try to detect what you need to fix (all commands and path locations are for Omnibus installs):

First check the health of the secondary

Visit the primary node's Admin Area ➔ Geo Nodes (/admin/geo_nodes) in your browser. We perform the following health checks on each secondary node to help identify if something is wrong:

  • Is the node running?
  • Is the node's secondary database configured for streaming replication?
  • Is the node's secondary tracking database configured?
  • Is the node's secondary tracking database connected?
  • Is the node's secondary tracking database up-to-date?

GitLab Geo health check

Is Postgres replication working?

Are my nodes pointing to the correct database instance?

You should make sure your primary Geo node points to the instance with writing permissions.

Any secondary nodes should point only to read-only instances.

Can Geo detect my current node correctly?

Geo uses the defined node from the Admin ➔ Geo screen, and tries to match it with the value defined in the /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb configuration file. The relevant line looks like: external_url "".

To check if the node on the current machine is correctly detected type:

sudo gitlab-rails runner "puts Gitlab::Geo.current_node.inspect"

and expect something like:

#<GeoNode id: 2, schema: "https", host: "", port: 443, relative_url_root: "", primary: false, ...>

By running the command above, primary should be true when executed in the primary node, and false on any secondary.

How do I fix the message, "ERROR: replication slots can only be used if max_replication_slots > 0"?

This means that the max_replication_slots PostgreSQL variable needs to be set on the primary database. In GitLab 9.4, we have made this setting default to 1. You may need to increase this value if you have more Geo secondary nodes. Be sure to restart PostgreSQL for this to take effect. See the PostgreSQL replication setup guide for more details.

How do I fix the message, "FATAL: could not start WAL streaming: ERROR: replication slot "geo_secondary_my_domain_com" does not exist"?

This occurs when PostgreSQL does not have a replication slot for the secondary by that name. You may want to rerun the replication process on the secondary.

How do I fix the message, "Command exceeded allowed execution time" when setting up replication?

This may happen while initiating the replication process on the Geo secondary, and indicates that your initial dataset is too large to be replicated in the default timeout (30 minutes).

Re-run gitlab-ctl replicate-geo-database, but include a larger value for --backup-timeout:

sudo gitlab-ctl replicate-geo-database --slot-name=secondary_geo_example_com --backup-timeout=21600

This will give the initial replication up to six hours to complete, rather than the default thirty minutes. Adjust as required for your installation.

How do I fix the message, "PANIC: could not write to file 'pg_xlog/xlogtemp.123': No space left on device"

Determine if you have any unused replication slots in the primary database. This can cause large amounts of log data to build up in pg_xlog. Removing the unused slots can reduce the amount of space used in the pg_xlog.

  1. Start a PostgreSQL console session:

    sudo gitlab-psql gitlabhq_production

    Note that using gitlab-rails dbconsole will not work, because managing replication slots requires superuser permissions.

  2. View your replication slots with

     SELECT * FROM pg_replication_slots;

Slots where active is f are not active.

  • When this slot should be active, because you have a secondary configured using that slot, log in to that secondary and check the PostgreSQL logs why the replication is not running.

  • If you are no longer using the slot (e.g. you no longer have Geo enabled), you can remove it with in the PostgreSQL console session:

    SELECT pg_drop_replication_slot('name_of_extra_slot');

Very large repositories never successfully synchronize on the secondary

GitLab places a timeout on all repository clones, including project imports and Geo synchronization operations. If a fresh git clone of a repository on the primary takes more than a few minutes, you may be affected by this. To increase the timeout, add the following line to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb on the secondary:

gitlab_rails['gitlab_shell_git_timeout'] = 10800

Then reconfigure GitLab:

sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure

This will increase the timeout to three hours (10800 seconds). Choose a time long enough to accomodate a full clone of your largest repositories.