Why should I rent a gitlab runner?

Why You Should Run Your GitLab Runner on a Physical Server

Guénolé Delanoë
February 14, 2023

GitLab is a popular DevOps platform that helps teams collaborate and automate their software development processes. One of the key components of GitLab is the GitLab Runner, which executes jobs and sends the results back to GitLab. The choice of how to run GitLab Runners can greatly impact the performance and stability of your pipelines.

When considering running your GitLab runner, it can be tempting to rent a virtual machine and install the runner there. However, this decision should be made with caution, as there are several limiting factors that come with using virtual machines as your GitLab runner host. Here are some of the key limitations:

  • The need to set up and maintain a supervision and alerting stack, which adds to the operational overhead.
  • Performance degradation due to the overhead of virtualization, which can slow down the runner and impact your pipeline's speed.
  • Increased complexity in network and storage configuration, which can make it harder to scale and optimize your runner setup.

While virtualization technologies have become popular in recent years, running GitLab Runners on physical servers can offer several advantages.

  1. Performance: Physical servers are capable of providing better performance compared to virtualized environments. Virtualization adds an additional layer between the hardware and the operating system, leading to performance overhead.
  2. Consistency: Physical servers offer a more consistent and predictable performance compared to virtualized environments, which can be affected by other virtual machines on the same host.
  3. Hardware access: Physical servers offer direct access to the underlying hardware, enabling you to fully utilize all the resources available.
  4. Scalability: Physical servers can be scaled easily by adding additional hardware resources, whereas virtualized environments can be limited by the available resources on the host.
  5. Security: Physical servers can offer better security compared to virtualized environments as there is no additional layer of virtualization to exploit.
  6. Cost-effectiveness: While virtualized environments can be more cost-effective in terms of hardware utilization, physical servers can offer better value for money in terms of performance and scalability.

While the benefits of running GitLab Runners on physical servers are clear, there are also some challenges associated with maintaining a physical server infrastructure. For example:

  1. Maintenance: Physical servers require regular maintenance to ensure their continued performance and stability.
  2. Upgrades: Upgrading hardware components on physical servers can be a time-consuming and disruptive process.
  3. Power and cooling: Physical servers consume more power and generate more heat compared to virtualized environments, requiring specialized cooling and power infrastructure.
  4. Space: Physical servers take up more physical space compared to virtualized environments, which can be an issue in data centers with limited space.

Fortunately, you don't have to worry about the hassle of maintaining a physical server infrastructure with Cloud-Runner. Our managed GitLab Runner service offers lightning-fast pipelines by utilizing optimized hardware and network infrastructure. We handle all the maintenance and upgrades for you, so you can focus on delivering value to your customers. Try our service today and see the difference for yourself with a free trial!