Global reference architecture examples

Last update: 2023-09-29
  • Created for:
  • Experienced

This topic describes common ways of organizing a global reference architecture (GRA) code base. Although the separate packages option is preferred, some situations require one of the other options described below.


  • Global Reference Architecture (GRA): Also known as White Label Architecture or Common Code Base. This is the module distribution architecture for a multi-instance setup.
  • Multi-instance setup: The same client uses separate Adobe Commerce installations for separate regions or brands. Each installation has shared as well as unique modules.
  • Single-instance setup: There is only one Adobe Commerce installation. Multiple copies of the source code may exist for different test environments, but there is only one version of the production code.

Option 1: Separate packages

See Composer project structure best practices for setting up this method.

Diagram illustrating the separate packages option for global reference architecture

The most flexible way to manage GRA Composer packages is through metapackages. Metapackages contain a composer.json file only, which defines other package dependencies. Create metapackages using Private Packagist repositories.

Main project composer.json

    "name": "example-client/region-1",
    "description": "Example Client Region 1",
    "type": "project",
    "require": {
        "magento/product-enterprise-edition": "2.3.5",
        "example-client/meta-region-1": "~1.0"
    "minimum-stability": "dev",
    "prefer-stable": true,
    "repositories": [
        {"type": "composer", "url": ""},
        {"": false}

example-client/meta-region-1 composer.json

    "name": "example-client/meta-region-1",
    "description": "Region 1 meta package",
    "type": "metapackage",
    "require": {
        "example-client/meta-gra": "~1.0",

example-client/meta-gra composer.json

    "name": "example-client/meta-gra",
    "description": "GRA meta package",
    "type": "metapackage",
    "require": {
        "geoip2/geoip2": "~2.0",
        "magento-services/module-stackify-logger": "~1.1",

Each module, language pack, theme, and library has its own Git repository. Each Git repository synchronizes to the Private Packagist repository automatically and generates a package there as long as there is a composer.json file in the root of the Git repository.

Options 2: Bulk packages

Below is an example of multiple modules inside a single Composer package.

A bulk package can only include packages of the same type. For example, if you have multiple packages for Adobe Commerce modules, themes, language packs, and libraries, you must create separate bulk packages for each type.

The file structure inside the vendor directory should look like the following example. However, check your project to see what should be included in your Git repository):

└── example-client/
    └── gra/
        └── src/
            ├── SapConnector/
            │   ├── etc/
            │   └── registration.php
            ├── ServiceChat/
            │   ├── etc/
            │   └── registration.php
            ├── StoreLocator/
            │   ├── etc/
            │   └── registration.php
            └── composer.json

The composer.json file should look like this:

    "name": "example-client/gra",
    "description": "GRA Modules",
    "require": {
        "magento/magento-composer-installer": "*"
    "type": "magento2-module",
    "autoload": {
        "files": [
        "psr-4": {
            "ExampleClient\\SapConnector\\": "src/SapConnector",
            "ExampleClient\\ServiceChat\\": "src/ServiceChat",
            "ExampleClient\\StoreLocator\\": "src/StoreLocator"

Option 3: Split Git

This architecture uses four Git repositories to store code:

  • core: Contains the Adobe Commerce core installation. Is used to upgrade Adobe Commerce versions.
  • GRA: Contains GRA code. All GRA modules, language packs, white label themes, and libraries.
  • brand/region: Each brand or region has its own repository with only brand- or region-specific code.
  • release: All of the above are merged into this Git repository. Only merge commits are allowed here.

Diagram illustrating the split Git option for global reference architecture

To set up this option:

  1. Create the four repository types in Git. Create the core and GRA repositories only once. Create one brand/region and one release repository for each brand.

    Suggested repository names:

    • m2-core
    • m2-gra
    • m2-region-x/m2-brand-x (for example, m2-emea/m2-adobe)
    • m2-release-region-x/m2-release-brand-x (for example, m2-release-emea/m2-release-adobe)
  2. Create a release/ directory and run the following to create a shared Git history for all repos.

    git init
    git remote add origin
    git remote add core
    git remote add gra
    git remote add region-x
    touch .gitkeep
    git add .gitkeep
    git commit -m 'initialize repository'
    git push -u origin master
    git push core master
    git push gra master
    git push region-x master
  3. Clone each repository, except core, in a different directory on your computer.

    git clone
    git clone
    git clone
  4. Install Adobe Commerce with Composer. Remove the .gitignore file, add the core remote, add and commit the code, and push.

    composer create-project --repository-url= magento/project-enterprise-edition m2-core
    cd m2-core
    git init
    rm .gitignore
    git remote add origin
    git fetch
    git checkout .gitkeep
    git add --all
    git commit -m 'install Adobe Commerce'
    git push
  5. In the GRA repository, create the following directories:

    • app/code/
    • app/design/
    • app/i18n/
    • lib/
  6. Add code. Remove the .gitignore file, add and commit the code, add the remote, and push.

  7. In the brand/region repository. Do the same as in GRA repository and keep in mind that files must be unique. You cannot include the same file in both this repository and the GRA repository.

  8. In the release repository, apply the merge.

    git clone
    cd m2-release-brand-x
    git remote add core
    git remote add gra
    git remote add region-x
    git fetch --all
    git merge core/master gra/master brand-a/master
    git push
  9. Remove the .gitkeep file.

  10. Deploy the release repository to the production, test, QA, and development servers. Upgrading core, GRA, and brand code is as easy running the following commands:

    git fetch --all
    git merge core/master gra/master brand-a/master
    git push

Option 4: Monorepo (recommended)

This strategy closely mimics the way that the Magento Open Source Git repository works.

All code is developed and tested in a single repository. Automation distills packages from this single repository, which can be installed on UAT and production environments using Composer.

Diagram illustrating the monorepo option for global reference architecture

The monorepo option offers you the ease of working in a single repository, while also providing the flexibility of composing instances with packages.

Versioning and package distillation is done through automation, using GitHub Actions or GitLab Actions.

Diagram illustrating the monorepo option for global reference architecture

See the following resources for more information about this automation:


Setting up a monorepo is advanced, but offers the most flexibility at the lowest overhead cost.

Do not mix strategies

It is not advisable to use a combined approach using Composer for GRA packages and the app/ directory for brand or region packages.

You not only get all advantages but also all disadvantages of both methods. You should pick one or the other (Git or Composer), to work optimally.

Solutions to avoid

  • Module naming conventions to signify GRA or brand

    Naming modules to signify GRA or brand leads to lack of flexibility. Instead, use Composer metapackages to determine which group a module belongs to. For example, for customer VF, package vf/meta-gra contains references to all GRA packages and can be installed using the composer require vf/meta-gra command. Package vf/meta-kipling contains references to all Kipling specific packages and to the vf/meta-gra package. Modules are named vf/module-sales and vf/module-sap for example. This naming convention allows you to move packages between brand and GRA status, with low impact.

  • Adobe Commerce core upgrades per instance

    Schedule Adobe Commerce core upgrades, including patch upgrades, for different brands or regions to be executed as close together as possible. Supporting multiple Adobe Commerce versions for shared modules leads to forking of modules due to compatibility constraints and more than doubles the maintenance effort. Prevent this increased effort by making sure that all instances are running on the same Adobe Commerce version before continuing regular development.

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