GitLab Enterprise 9 tweaks user management, application monitoring

The new features show GitLab remaining as interested in the full lifecycle of software development as it is in code hosting

GitLab Enterprise 9 tweaks user management, application monitoring
Thinkstock

GitLab, open source competitor to GitHub and Bitbucket, has rolled out version 9 of its enterprise edition, with new features for managing team members, gaining visibility into code deployments, and monitoring performance.

Many of the new additions highlight GitLab's focus on deployment and oversight, where chief competitor GitHub Enterprise highlights code hosting and collaboration.

Subgroups, a new user organization feature, allows members of exiting teams to be subdivided further into smaller units. GitHub's team-based user system is meant to work the same way, but GitLab has previously added more granular user-management features -- for example, automatic expiry of group membership for temporary workers.

Two other noted features focus on monitoring rather than development. Deploy Board provides a dashboard view for code deployments so that dev or ops users can oversee the process and roll back or reset an interrupted or faulty deployment. The upgrade also includes a performance monitoring system for delivered applications that uses the open source Prometheus to report on apps running in their destination environments.

In the three-way struggle between BitLab, GitHub, and Atlassian's Bitbucket, GitLab presents itself as an all-in-one tool for moving from idea to production. As such many of the new features, both inside and outside its enterprise edition, have been about enhancing the lifecycle of a product's development. Late last year, the company unveiled Review Apps, which creates temporary applications using code pulled from a merge request to determine the real-world results of such a merge.

Bitbucket has also positioned itself as being about more than code hosting, mainly by having everything outside of code hosting supplied by close integrations with other Atlassian products like Bamboo, JIRA, Confluence, and HipChat.

GitHub Enterprise, by contrast, provides a general set of API hooks that third parties can leverage for everything from monitoring to CI solutions, but doesn't include those features by default. The feature set in GitHub Enterprise's most recent upgrade, version 2.9, added enhancements for managing and reviewing pull requests, as well as support for Google Cloud Platform and refinements to how the Projects feature (in the vein of Trello) can work companywide. But everything outside of what GitHub has traditionally concerned itself with -- code hosting and managing user access to repositories -- is still left to third parties.