GitLab Automation: Initial Root Password & Token Generation

GitLab Configuration Automation in Cloud Formation Templates

So when automating infrastructure one of the core infra component is CI/CD. We all know GitLab is a champion in many areas e.g VCS, CI/CD Pipelines to name a few. I was building a Cloud Formation Template for one of the DataOps solutions that my company offers and for that we wanted to automate the Gitlab Installation process as part of the CloudFormation template.

We are using an EC2 Instance where we are provisioning these instances using userData. And GitLab is launched as a docker container.

The challenge for me was to automate the initial root password and generate a token for that user so it can be used later on in uploading DataOps repos/pipelines to GitLab Instance.

Tech Stack

GitLab Version: 13.12.1

Docker Client:
Version: 20.10.4
API version: 1.41
Go version: go1.15.8
Git commit: d3cb89e
Built: Mon Mar 29 18:54:36 2021
OS/Arch: linux/amd64
Context: default
Experimental: true

Docker Server:
Version: 20.10.4
API version: 1.41 (minimum version 1.12)
Go version: go1.15.8
Git commit: 363e9a8
Built: Mon Mar 29 18:55:03 2021
OS/Arch: linux/amd64
Experimental: false
Version: 1.4.4
GitCommit: 05f951a3781f4f2c1911b05e61c160e9c30eaa8e
Version: 1.0.0-rc93
GitCommit: 12644e614e25b05da6fd08a38ffa0cfe1903fdec
Version: 0.19.0
GitCommit: de40ad0

Initial Root Password

I tried (No luck):

docker exec gitlab gitlab-rails runner "user = User.where(id:1).first; user.password = 'gitlab_root_password'; user.password_confirmation = 'gitlab_root_password';!"

Then I tried (again No luck):

echo "external_url ''" > gitlab.rb
echo "gitlab_rails['initial_root_password'] = 'gitlab_root_password'" >> gitlab.rb

Created gitlab.rb with the above content and mounted it to GitLab at the first start no luck there as well. BUT.

Finally, this worked:

docker run -d  \-v $GITLAB_HOME/config:/etc/gitlab \-v $GITLAB_HOME/logs:/var/log/gitlab \-v $GITLAB_HOME/data:/var/opt/gitlab \--hostname \-p 443:443 -p 80:80 -p 2222:22 \-e GITLAB_ROOT_EMAIL="root@local" -e GITLAB_ROOT_PASSWORD="gitlab_root_password" -e EXTERNAL_URL="" \--name gitlab --restart unless-stopped gitlab/gitlab-ce:latest

Now you won't’ be asked to set up a root password. This helps a lot when automating infra solutions.

Token Generation

For a token generation, I simply used the following docker exec command in conjunction with gitlab-rails runner :

docker exec gitlab gitlab-rails runner "token = User.find_by_username('root').personal_access_tokens.create(scopes: [:api, :sudo], name: 'Automation Token'); token.set_token('TwentyCharacterToken.');"

I used root as user name and api and sudo as scopes. I also named token as Automation Token and finally set a TwentyCharacterToken which we can use later on in our git operations.

I hope this helps a lot of people.

I do DevOps. Being an entrepreneur is just the DNA. Oh and a *nix fanboy.