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A CI runner for gitlab-ce.

Built on top of the sameersbn/gitlab-ci-runner base image, this repo demonstrates the use of sameersbn/gitlab-ci-runner to build a runner for your project.

Since we inherit the sameersbn/gitlab-ci-runner base image, we also inherit its runtime. This means we only have to setup the image to satisfy your projects build requirements which in this case is gitlab-ce.

All package installations are performed in the Dockerfile while the system configuration, such as mysql and redis setup, are performed in the install script.

Rest of this document describes use of the runner to perform continuous integration of gitlab-ce.


If you find this image useful here's how you can help:

  • Send a Pull Request with your awesome new features and bug fixes
  • Help new users with Issues they may encounter
  • Send me a tip via Bitcoin or using Gratipay


Pull the latest version of the image from the docker index.

docker pull sameersbn/runner-gitlab:latest

Alternately you can build the image yourself.

git clone
cd docker-runner-gitlab
docker build --tag="$USER/runner-gitlab" .

Quick Start

For a runner to do its trick, it has to first be registered/authorized on the GitLab CI server. This can be done by running the image with the app:setup command.

mkdir -p /opt/runner-gitlab
docker run --name runner-gitlab -i -t --rm \
    -v /opt/runner-gitlab:/home/gitlab_ci_runner/data \
  sameersbn/runner-gitlab:latest app:setup

The command will prompt you to specify the location of the GitLab CI server and provide the registration token to access the server. With this out of the way the image is ready, lets get is started.

docker run --name runner-gitlab -d \
    -v /opt/runner-gitlab:/home/gitlab_ci_runner/data \

You now have the runner to perform continous integration of GitLab CE.

Login to your GitLab CI server and add a CI build for gitlab-ce with the following build settings

ruby -v
cp config/database.yml.mysql config/database.yml
cp config/gitlab.yml.example config/gitlab.yml
sed "s/username\:.*$/username\: runner/" -i config/database.yml
sed "s/password\:.*$/password\: 'password'/" -i config/database.yml
sed "s/gitlabhq_test/gitlabhq_test_$((RANDOM/5000))/" -i config/database.yml
touch log/application.log
touch log/test.log
bundle --without postgres
bundle exec rake db:create RAILS_ENV=test
bundle exec rake gitlab:test RAILS_ENV=test

Data Store

GitLab CI Runner saves the configuration for connection and access to the GitLab CI server. In addition, SSH keys are generated as well. To make sure this configuration is not lost when when the container is stopped/deleted, we should mount a data store volume at

  • /home/gitlab_ci_runner/data

Volumes can be mounted in docker by specifying the '-v' option in the docker run command.

mkdir /opt/runner-gitlab
docker run --name runner-gitlab -d -h \
  -v /opt/runner-gitlab:/home/gitlab_ci_runner/data \

Shell Access

For debugging and maintenance purposes you may want access the containers shell. If you are using docker version 1.3.0 or higher you can access a running containers shell using docker exec command.

docker exec -it runner-gitlab bash

If you are using an older version of docker, you can use the nsenter linux tool (part of the util-linux package) to access the container shell.

Some linux distros (e.g. ubuntu) use older versions of the util-linux which do not include the nsenter tool. To get around this @jpetazzo has created a nice docker image that allows you to install the nsenter utility and a helper script named docker-enter on these distros.

To install nsenter execute the following command on your host,

docker run --rm -v /usr/local/bin:/target jpetazzo/nsenter

Now you can access the container shell using the command

sudo docker-enter runner-gitlab

For more information refer


To update the runner, simply stop the image and pull the latest version from the docker index.

docker stop runner-gitlab
docker pull sameersbn/runner-gitlab:latest
docker run --name runner-gitlab -d [OPTIONS] sameersbn/runner-gitlab:latest
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