Cloud licensing and the support exemption process explained

How to generate a legacy license for a customer who cannot use Cloud Licensing

Cloud Licensing Overview

Cloud Licensing allows GitLab customers to activate paid subscription features on self-managed instances using an activation code, rather than managing license files and manually uploading them into their instance. By activating through Cloud Licensing, a customer’s GitLab instance will periodically synchronize Subscription Data with GitLab.

In order to further encourage Cloud Licensing, the Strict Cloud Licensing project will include several iterations to encourage customers to use Cloud License activation codes rather than a Legacy License file to activate their self-managed instances. The following GitLab internal licensing terms page provides a technical definition of the current three types of licenses (Cloud Licensing, Offline and Legacy) associated with Cloud Licensing.

Strict Cloud Licensing

Effective July 7, 2022: Cloud Licensing will be enabled by default for all new and renewal customers, as detailed in the Strict Cloud Licensing roll out plan (except OSS, EDU or Start-Up products). Customers will no longer have the ability to download a license file from the Customers Portal. In addition, Offline licenses will now be available to allow customers with air-gapped or offline instances to receive the benefits of Cloud Licensing. In order to receive a Legacy License or Offline License, customers will need to follow the below outlined process.

Strict Cloud Licensing Process

NOTE: This only applies to standard and resold customers.

graph TD;
  A -->|IR| B;
  B -->|No| C;
  B -->|Yes| E;
  C --> D;
  D --> E;
  A -->|Customer Ticket| F;
  F -->|Yes| G;
  F -->|No| H
  H -->|Yes| G;
  H -->|No| I;
  A{Is the ticket an internal<br>request or a customer ticket?}
  B{Has approval been granted<br>for the exception?}
  C(Support uses<br>Support::L&R::Strict Cloud Licensing Sales Exemption Guidance<br>macro)
  D(Sales has gotten exemption<br>approval)
  E(Support generates legacy<br>license and replies on ticket<br>letting requester know)
  F{Did the user purchase/renew<br>before July 2022?}
  G(Support uses<br>Support::L&R::Strict Cloud Licensing - Legacy license generated<br>macro)
  H{"Did they always purchase web direct?<br>🔗 See FAQ 4"}
  I(Support uses<br>Support::L&R::Strict Cloud Licensing - contact sales<br>macro)

Cloud Licensing Exemptions

Pre-Sale Exemption (Sales)

Customers who cannot activate with Cloud Licensing will need to obtain either an Offline Cloud License or a Legacy License. If this process is handled correctly at time of sale, no Support involvement is required.

By default, the TurnOnCloudLicensing__c flag in SFDC will be set to Yes on every quote during the sales cycle. If the Sales Rep wants to opt the customer out, they should update the quote field [Cloud Lic] Add Cloud Licensing Opt Out to either Legacy License File or Offline License. This in turn updates the value of TurnOnCloudLicensing to No or Offline respectively. Once the quote is submitted, Sales VP approval is required via the standard SFDC approval process. Once approved, the quote is synced to Zuora, which in turn creates and activates the subscription. In this scenario, the customer will receive their activation email with their license file attached and will also have the ability to download the license file from the GitLab Customers portal.

Post-Sale Exemptions (Support)

The Pre-Sale Exemption process is intended to be the only means of opt out, and should be used for all customers. However, there may be times where the account manager missed the opt-out during the sale, and the customer has now incorrectly received a Cloud License activation code they cannot use.

If a customer requires a Legacy License or an Offline License post-sale, the sales account manager must obtain Sales VP approval for a Cloud Licensing exemption. When approval is obtained and documented in SFDC, the account manager must then open an Internal Request with Support > Self Managed License Related > Cloud Licensing Exemption. Full instructions for the account manager can be found in Highspot (visible to Sales team only).

If the customer’s subscription or trial/temp license has expired, and they require access during the approval process, the account manager must open an Internal Request with Support > Self Managed > Extend an (almost) expired subscription. The support engineer should provide the customer with a trial license until post-sales opt-out approval is received and handled in the related Internal Request.

How to process a Cloud Licensing exemption internal request

  1. Click on the Chattr with approval link then:
    1. Verify the following:
      • The chatter is on a Salesforce Opportunity page.
      • The Opportunity is marked as Closed-Won (see FAQ #5 if it is not).
      • The chatter thread includes an Approval message.
      • The exemption approval is provided by a VP. Hover on the approver’s name to see their title.
    2. If any of the above requirements are not met, let the requester know what should be corrected and then close the Internal Request. Otherwise proceed to step 2.
  2. While on the Opportunity page, find the related subscription details
  3. Using the Sold To Email, search for the customer account in CustomersDot Customers page.
  4. Click on the bookmark icon to navigate to the account’s Zuora Subscriptions tab.
  5. Confirm the subscription that should be updated by verifying the Subscription Name from step 2.
  6. Go back to the IR ticket and note the GitLab Version value:
    • If the version < 15.0, set the Cloud Licensing flag value to No.
    • If the version >= 15.0, set the Cloud Licensing flag value to Offline.
  7. Click Update.
  8. Click the Impersonate tab.
  9. Click Copy license key to clipboard. Using this method will ensure all license details are auto-populated correctly.
    • If you see An error occurred... message, try to click the Copy license key to clipboard once more.
    • If it fails again, check the logs for the issue or ask for assistance.
  10. Click the Back button on your browser to stop impersonating the customer account.
  11. Navigate to the Licenses page.
  12. Locate the new generated license:
    • The license should be one of the first licenses at the top.
    • If it is not, search for the license using the Sold To Email from step 2.
  13. Resend the license because the automatically generated license does not trigger license email notification.
  14. Reply to the IR ticket with a link to the license and mark the ticket as Solved.

The matrix below defines the impact of setting the Cloud Licensing flag value to Yes, Offline or No on the eligibility of three license types.

Cloud Licensing Flag value Cloud License Offline Cloud Legacy License
Yes Eligible Not Eligible Eligible
Offline Eligible Eligible Not Eligible
No Eligible Eligible Eligible

There are a few ways to locate the subscription in a closed-won opportunity. Refer to the alternative methods below for guidance on different cases.

Customer Subscription (CS-0000000000)
  1. Scroll down on the Opportunity page to the Subscription Information section.
  2. Click on the Customer Subscription value which has the format CS-0000000000 to go to Customer Subscription page.
  3. Click the Current Zuora Subscription value to go to the Subscription page.
  4. Note the Sold To Email and the Subscription Name from the Subscription page.
  1. Scroll down on the Opportunity page to the Quotes section.
  2. Locate the most relevant Quote which has the Status as Sent to Z-Billing.
    • If all quotes have the Status as New, this indicates a web-direct purchase. For cases with multiple quotes that all have Status as New, use the quote that has been marked as Primary.
  3. Open the quote.
  4. Note the Sold To contact’s email:
    1. Scroll down to Sold to Contact in the quote details.
    2. Hover on the name which opens a contact modal then right click on the email and copy the email address
  5. Note the Subscription Name:
    • Check the Subscription Name in the quote which is at the 4th row of the top section.
    • If it is empty, or does not show up in CustomersDot, find the subscription by locating the customer account using the Sold To contact’s email and verifying the subscription seat count matches the quote you opened.

Support FAQ

1. Which license type should I provide for an approved opt out?

Knowing whether to provide an Offline or Legacy License will depend on the customer’s specific scenario and what they request, but the following may be helpful:

  • Offline licenses are preferred by GitLab over Legacy Licenses as they allow the customer to more easily provide usage data. These work best for customers who cannot use a Cloud License because their instance is air-gapped or not connected to the internet. However, in order to use an Offline Cloud License, the customer must be on 15.0 or higher.
  • Legacy licenses can be sent when a customer is unwilling or unable to upgrade to Gitlab version 14.1 or higher, or is concerned about sharing Subscription Data.

2. Are reseller purchases considered the same as sales-assisted? If a customer purchased after 2022-07-07 and needs a Legacy License, should we send them to their Account Manager to go through the exemption process, or do we treat them the same as web-direct and give them a Legacy License file, no questions asked?

Reseller customers should be directed to sales as well using the same process.

3. A customer would like to use a Legacy License on a dev instance after activating their production instance with a Cloud License activation code

We can generate a legacy license in this situation, but only after an exemption has been approved. Do not apply the exemption to the currently CL-enabled subscription. Instead, generate a legacy license duplicate of the existing license.

Please see this comment thread for greater context on this workaround.

4. How do I tell if a purchase was web direct?

Check the Created By value of either (1) the invoices for the specific purchase in the customer’s Zuora account (<ACCOUNT_ID>) or (2) the Subscription’s Change History (<SUBSCRIPTION_ID>):

  • Web direct: If it is the Fulfillment API User ( or
  • Not web direct: If it either the SalesForce API User ( or a GitLab team member’s email (mostly it would be a Billing team member).

“New Business” web direct purchase opportunities in SFDC will often be created as ACCOUNT-NAME - Web Direct. The Initial Source field will also be filled as “Web Direct”.

  • Note: A sales-assisted renewal or add-on may still reflect Initial Source as “web direct”, so you can further confirm:

Web direct purchases also create a Quote in the customer’s SalesForce account. However, the Status of the Quote is almost always New.

  • For Sales assisted and reseller purchases, you can confirm the details of the successful purchase by checking the Quote in the customer’s SalesForce account with its Status set to Sent to Z-Billing.

5. What if the exemption is on an Opportunity that is NOT Closed-Won?

Cloud Licensing is required on a Closed-Won Opportunity because Support follows the Quote that has its Status as Sent to Z-Billing to confirm the license details that has been exempted.

  • If the provided Opportunity is in an open stage, you can let the requester know they should use the pre-sale opt out process and then close the Internal Request as invalid.
  • If the provided Opportunity is Closed Lost, you can let the requester know the Opportunity must be Closed Won and then close the Internal Request as invalid.

How does Cloud Licensing impact customers who have purchased multi-year GitLab subscriptions?

  • If an existing or new customer purchases a multi-year subscription and has Cloud Licensing enabled then the Cloud Activation Code they receive will be valid for the entirety of the subscription period.
  • If an existing customer has already activated a subscription with an Activation Code then the customer will not have do anything, the license for the subscription will automatically update during the sync process.
  • If an existing customer has not yet enabled/activated Cloud Licensing (TurnOnCloudLicensing set to Null) they can activate their instance with an Activation Code at any time
    • If an existing customer who previously was undecided (i.e. Turn On Cloud Licensing is set to Null) or opted out of Cloud Licensing (i.e. Turn On Cloud Licensing is set to No or Offline) wants to switch to Cloud Licensing, they will need to contact support. Support can generate and send the activation code in CustomerDot Admin as detailed in post sales exemption support.
    • Upon activation, the customer will receive a Cloud Activation Code which will be valid for the entirety subscription term

Additional Resources

For more information on Cloud Licensing, please refer to the following resources:

  1. Cloud Licensing Internal Handbook Page
  2. Offline Cloud Licensing Internal Handbook Page
  3. Cloud Licensing Field Team FAQ

Have a question that hasn’t been answered in the documentation? Add it to our Cloud Licensing AMA doc (internal only)!