Run Ark on Azure

To configure Ark on Azure, you:

  • Create your Azure storage account and blob container
  • Create Azure service principal for Ark
  • Configure the server
  • Create a Secret for your credentials

If you do not have the az Azure CLI 2.0 installed locally, follow the install guide to set it up.


az login

Kubernetes cluster prerequisites

Ensure that the VMs for your agent pool allow Managed Disks. If I/O performance is critical, consider using Premium Managed Disks, which are SSD backed.

Create Azure storage account and blob container

Heptio Ark requires a storage account and blob container in which to store backups.

The storage account can be created in the same Resource Group as your Kubernetes cluster or separated into its own Resource Group. The example below shows the storage account created in a separate Ark_Backups Resource Group.

The storage account needs to be created with a globally unique id since this is used for dns. In the sample script below, we’re generating a random name using uuidgen, but you can come up with this name however you’d like, following the Azure naming rules for storage accounts. The storage account is created with encryption at rest capabilities (Microsoft managed keys) and is configured to only allow access via https.

# Create a resource group for the backups storage account. Change the location as needed.
az group create -n $AZURE_BACKUP_RESOURCE_GROUP --location WestUS

# Create the storage account
AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT_ID="ark$(uuidgen | cut -d '-' -f5 | tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]')"
az storage account create \
    --resource-group $AZURE_BACKUP_RESOURCE_GROUP \
    --sku Standard_GRS \
    --encryption-services blob \
    --https-only true \
    --kind BlobStorage \
    --access-tier Hot

Create the blob container named ark. Feel free to use a different name, preferably unique to a single Kubernetes cluster. See the FAQ for more details.

az storage container create -n ark --public-access off --account-name $AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT_ID

Get resource group for persistent volume snapshots

  1. Set the name of the Resource Group that contains your Kubernetes cluster’s virtual machines/disks.

    WARNING: If you’re using AKS, AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP must be set to the name of the auto-generated resource group that is created when you provision your cluster in Azure, since this is the resource group that contains your cluster’s virtual machines/disks.


    If you are unsure of the Resource Group name, run the following command to get a list that you can select from. Then set the AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP environment variable to the appropriate value.

    az group list --query '[].{ ResourceGroup: name, Location:location }'

    Get your cluster’s Resource Group name from the ResourceGroup value in the response, and use it to set $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP.

Create service principal

To integrate Ark with Azure, you must create an Ark-specific service principal.

  1. Obtain your Azure Account Subscription ID and Tenant ID:

    AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID=`az account list --query '[?isDefault].id' -o tsv`
    AZURE_TENANT_ID=`az account list --query '[?isDefault].tenantId' -o tsv`
  2. Create a service principal with Contributor role. This will have subscription-wide access, so protect this credential. You can specify a password or let the az ad sp create-for-rbac command create one for you.

    If you’ll be using Ark to backup multiple clusters with multiple blob containers, it may be desirable to create a unique username per cluster rather than the default heptio-ark.

    # Create service principal and specify your own password
    az ad sp create-for-rbac --name "heptio-ark" --role "Contributor" --password $AZURE_CLIENT_SECRET
    # Or create service principal and let the CLI generate a password for you. Make sure to capture the password.
    AZURE_CLIENT_SECRET=`az ad sp create-for-rbac --name "heptio-ark" --role "Contributor" --query 'password' -o tsv`
    # After creating the service principal, obtain the client id
    AZURE_CLIENT_ID=`az ad sp list --display-name "heptio-ark" --query '[0].appId' -o tsv`

Credentials and configuration

In the Ark directory (i.e. where you extracted the release tarball), run the following to first set up namespaces, RBAC, and other scaffolding. To run in a custom namespace, make sure that you have edited the YAML file to specify the namespace. See Run in custom namespace.

kubectl apply -f config/common/00-prereqs.yaml

Now you need to create a Secret that contains all the environment variables you just set. The command looks like the following:

kubectl create secret generic cloud-credentials \
    --namespace <ARK_NAMESPACE> \
    --from-literal AZURE_TENANT_ID=${AZURE_TENANT_ID} \
    --from-literal AZURE_CLIENT_ID=${AZURE_CLIENT_ID} \

Now that you have your Azure credentials stored in a Secret, you need to replace some placeholder values in the template files. Specifically, you need to change the following:

  • In file config/azure/05-ark-backupstoragelocation.yaml:

  • In file config/azure/06-ark-volumesnapshotlocation.yaml:

  • (Optional, use only if you need to specify multiple volume snapshot locations) In config/azure/00-ark-deployment.yaml:

    • Uncomment the --default-volume-snapshot-locations and replace provider locations with the values for your environment.

Start the server

In the root of your Ark directory, run:

kubectl apply -f config/azure/
Getting Started

To help you get started, see the documentation.