Build from source


  • Access to a Kubernetes cluster, version 1.7 or later. Version 1.7.5 or later is required to run ark backup delete.
  • A DNS server on the cluster
  • kubectl installed
  • Go installed (minimum version 1.8)

Getting the source

mkdir $HOME/go
export GOPATH=$HOME/go
go get

Where go is your import path for Go.

For Go development, it is recommended to add the Go import path ($HOME/go in this example) to your path.


You can build your Ark image locally on the machine where you run your cluster, or you can push it to a private registry. This section covers both workflows.

Set the $REGISTRY environment variable (used in the Makefile) to push the Heptio Ark images to your own registry. This allows any node in your cluster to pull your locally built image.

In the Ark root directory, to build your container with the tag $REGISTRY/ark:$VERSION, run:

make container

To push your image to a registry, use make push.

Update generated files

The following files are automatically generated from the source code:

  • The clientset
  • Listers
  • Shared informers
  • Documentation
  • Protobuf/gRPC types

Run make update to regenerate files if you make the following changes:

  • Add/edit/remove command line flags and/or their help text
  • Add/edit/remove commands or subcommands
  • Add new API types

Run to regenerate files if you make the following changes:

  • Add/edit/remove protobuf message or service definitions. These changes require the proto compiler.

Cross compiling

By default, make build builds an ark binary for linux-amd64. To build for another platform, run make build-<GOOS>-<GOARCH>. For example, to build for the Mac, run make build-darwin-amd64. All binaries are placed in _output/bin/<GOOS>/<GOARCH>– for example, _output/bin/darwin/amd64/ark.

Ark’s Makefile has a convenience target, all-build, that builds the following platforms:

  • linux-amd64
  • linux-arm
  • linux-arm64
  • darwin-amd64
  • windows-amd64

3. Test

To run unit tests, use make test. You can also run make verify to ensure that all generated files (clientset, listers, shared informers, docs) are up to date.

4. Run


When running Heptio Ark, you will need to account for the following (all of which are handled in the /examples manifests):

  • Appropriate RBAC permissions in the cluster
    • Read access for all data from the source cluster and namespaces
    • Write access to the target cluster and namespaces
  • Cloud provider credentials
    • Read/write access to volumes
    • Read/write access to object storage for backup data
  • A BackupStorageLocation object definition for the Ark server
  • (Optional) A VolumeSnapshotLocation object definition for the Ark server, to take PV snapshots

Create a cluster

To provision a cluster on AWS using Amazon’s official CloudFormation templates, here are two options:

Option 1: Run your Ark server locally

Running the Ark server locally can speed up iterative development. This eliminates the need to rebuild the Ark server image and redeploy it to the cluster with each change.

1. Set environment variables

Set the appropriate environment variable for your cloud provider:











2. Create resources in a cluster

You may create resources on a cluster using our example configurations.


Here is how to setup using an existing cluster in AWS: At the root of the Ark repo:

  • Edit examples/aws/05-ark-backupstoragelocation.yaml to point to your AWS S3 bucket and region. Note: you can run aws s3api list-buckets to get the name of all your buckets.

  • (Optional) Edit examples/aws/06-ark-volumesnapshotlocation.yaml to point to your AWS region.

Then run the commands below.

00-prereqs.yaml contains all our CustomResourceDefinitions (CRDs) that allow us to perform CRUD operations on backups, restores, schedules, etc. it also contains the heptio-ark namespace, the ark ServiceAccount, and a cluster role binding to grant the ark ServiceAccount the cluster-admin role:

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

10-deployment.yaml is a sample Ark config resource for AWS:

kubectl apply -f examples/aws/10-deployment.yaml

And 05-ark-backupstoragelocation.yaml specifies the location of your backup storage, together with the optional 06-ark-volumesnapshotlocation.yaml:

kubectl apply -f examples/aws/05-ark-backupstoragelocation.yaml


kubectl apply -f examples/aws/05-ark-backupstoragelocation.yaml examples/aws/06-ark-volumesnapshotlocation.yaml

3. Start the Ark server

  • Make sure ark is in your PATH or specify the full path.

  • Set variable for Ark as needed. The variables below can be exported as environment variables or passed as CLI cmd flags:

    • --kubeconfig: set the path to the kubeconfig file the Ark server uses to talk to the Kubernetes apiserver
    • --namespace: the set namespace where the Ark server should look for backups, schedules, restores
    • --log-level: set the Ark server’s log level
    • --plugin-dir: set the directory where the Ark server looks for plugins
    • --metrics-address: set the bind address and port where Prometheus metrics are exposed
  • Start the server: ark server

Option 2: Run your Ark server in a deployment

  1. Install Ark using a deployment:

We have examples of deployments for different cloud providers in examples/<cloud-provider>/10-deployment.yaml.

  1. Replace the deployment’s default Ark image with the image that you built. Run:
kubectl --namespace=heptio-ark set image deployment/ark ark=$REGISTRY/ark:$VERSION

where $REGISTRY and $VERSION are the values that you built Ark with.

5. Vendoring dependencies

If you need to add or update the vendored dependencies, see Vendoring dependencies.

Getting Started

To help you get started, see the documentation.