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Migrating from TeamCity

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If you're migrating from TeamCity to GitLab CI/CD, you can create CI/CD pipelines that replicate and enhance your TeamCity workflows.

Key similarities and differences

GitLab CI/CD and TeamCity are CI/CD tools with some similarities. Both GitLab and TeamCity:

  • Are flexible enough to run jobs for most languages.
  • Can be deployed either on-premises or in the cloud.

Additionally, there are some important differences between the two:

  • GitLab CI/CD pipelines are configured in a YAML format configuration file, which you can edit manually or with the pipeline editor. TeamCity pipelines can be configured from the UI or using Kotlin DSL.
  • GitLab is a DevSecOps platform with built-in SCM, container registry, security scanning, and more. TeamCity requires separate solutions for these capabilities, usually provided by integrations.

Configuration file

TeamCity can be configured from the UI or in the Teamcity Configuration file in the Kotlin DSL format. A TeamCity build configuration is a set of instructions that defines how a software project should be built, tested, and deployed. The configuration includes parameters and settings necessary for automating the CI/CD process in TeamCity.

In GitLab, the equivalent of a TeamCity build configuration is the .gitlab-ci.yml file. This file defines the CI/CD pipeline for a project, specifying the stages, jobs, and commands needed to build, test, and deploy the project.

Comparison of features and concepts

Many TeamCity features and concepts have equivalents in GitLab that offer the same functionality.


TeamCity uses build configurations, which consist of multiple build steps where you define commands or scripts to execute tasks such as compiling code, running tests, and packaging artifacts.

The following is an example of a TeamCity project configuration in a Kotlin DSL format that builds a Docker file and runs unit tests:

package _Self.buildTypes

import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.*
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.buildFeatures.perfmon
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.buildSteps.dockerCommand
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.buildSteps.nodeJS
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.triggers.vcs

object BuildTest : BuildType({
    name = "Build & Test"

    vcs {

    steps {
        dockerCommand {
            id = "DockerCommand"
            commandType = build {
                source = file {
                    path = "Dockerfile"
        nodeJS {
            id = "nodejs_runner"
            workingDir = "app"
            shellScript = """
                npm install jest-teamcity --no-save
                npm run test -- --reporters=jest-teamcity

    triggers {
        vcs {

    features {
        perfmon {

In GitLab CI/CD, you define jobs with the tasks to execute as part of the pipeline. Each job can have one or more build steps defined in it.

The equivalent GitLab CI/CD .gitlab-ci.yml file for the example above would be:

    - if: $CI_COMMIT_BRANCH != "main" || $CI_PIPELINE_SOURCE != "merge_request_event"
      when: never
    - when: always

  - build
  - test

  image: docker:20.10.16
  stage: build
    - docker:20.10.16-dind
    - docker build -t cicd-demo:0.1 .

  image: node:17-alpine3.14
  stage: test
    - cd app
    - npm install
    - npm test
    when: always
      junit: app/junit.xml

Pipeline triggers

TeamCity Triggers define conditions that initiate a build, including VCS changes, scheduled triggers, or builds triggered by other builds.

In GitLab CI/CD, pipelines can be triggered automatically for various events, like changes to branches or merge requests and new tags. Pipelines can also be triggered manually, using an API, or with scheduled pipelines. For more information, see CI/CD pipelines.


In TeamCity, you define build parameters and environment variables in the build configuration settings.

In GitLab, use the variables keyword to define CI/CD variables. Use variables to reuse configuration data, have more dynamic configuration, or store important values. Variables can be defined either globally or per job.

For example, a GitLab CI/CD .gitlab-ci.yml file that uses variables:

  image: alpine:latest

  - greet

  NAME: "Fern"

  stage: greet
    GREETING: "Hello"
    - echo "$GREETING $NAME"

  stage: greet
    GREETING: "Hola"
    - echo "$GREETING $NAME"


Build configurations in TeamCity allow you to define artifacts generated during the build process.

In GitLab, any job can use the artifacts keyword to define a set of artifacts to be stored when a job completes. Artifacts are files that can be used in later jobs, for testing or deployment.

For example, a GitLab CI/CD .gitlab-ci.yml file that uses artifacts:

  - generate
  - use

  stage: generate
    - touch cat.txt
    - echo "meow" > cat.txt
      - cat.txt
    expire_in: 1 week

  stage: use
    - cat cat.txt


The equivalent of TeamCity agents in GitLab are Runners.

In GitLab CI/CD, runners are the services that execute jobs. If you are using, you can use the instance runner fleet to run jobs without provisioning your own self-managed runners.

Some key details about runners:

  • Runners can be configured to be shared across an instance, a group, or dedicated to a single project.
  • You can use the tags keyword for finer control, and associate runners with specific jobs. For example, you can use a tag for jobs that require dedicated, more powerful, or specific hardware.
  • GitLab has autoscaling for runners. Use autoscaling to provision runners only when needed and scale down when not needed.

TeamCity build features & plugins

Some functionality in TeamCity that is enabled through build features & plugins is supported in GitLab CI/CD natively with CI/CD keywords and features.

TeamCity plugin GitLab feature
Code coverage Code coverage and Test coverage visualization
Unit Test Report JUnit test report artifacts and Unit test reports
Notifications Notification emails and Slack

Planning and performing a migration

The following list of recommended steps was created after observing organizations that were able to quickly complete a migration to GitLab CI/CD.

Create a migration plan

Before starting a migration you should create a migration plan to make preparations for the migration.

For a migration from TeamCity, ask yourself the following questions in preparation:

  • What plugins are used by jobs in TeamCity today?
    • Do you know what these plugins do exactly?
  • What is installed on the TeamCity agents?
  • Are there any shared libraries in use?
  • How are you authenticating from TeamCity? Are you using SSH keys, API tokens, or other secrets?
  • Are there other projects that you need to access from your pipeline?
  • Are there credentials in TeamCity to access outside services? For example Ansible Tower, Artifactory, or other Cloud Providers or deployment targets?


Before doing any migration work, you should first:

  1. Get familiar with GitLab.
  2. Set up and configure GitLab.
  3. Test your GitLab instance.
    • Ensure runners are available, either by using shared runners or installing new runners.

Migration steps

  1. Migrate projects from your SCM solution to GitLab.
  2. Create a .gitlab-ci.yml file in each project.
  3. Migrate TeamCity configuration to GitLab CI/CD jobs and configure them to show results directly in merge requests.
  4. Migrate deployment jobs by using cloud deployment templates, environments, and the GitLab agent for Kubernetes.
  5. Check if any CI/CD configuration can be reused across different projects, then create and share CI/CD templates or CI/CD components.
  6. See pipeline efficiency to learn how to make your GitLab CI/CD pipelines faster and more efficient.

If you have questions that are not answered here, the GitLab community forum can be a great resource.