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Heptio Ark is a utility for managing disaster recovery, specifically for your Kubernetes cluster resources and persistent volumes. It provides a simple, configurable, and operationally robust way to back up and restore applications and PVs from a series of checkpoints. This allows you to better automate in the following scenarios:
Disaster recovery with reduced TTR (time to respond), in the case of:
Cross-cloud-provider migration for Kubernetes API objects (cross-cloud-provider migration of persistent volume snapshots not yet supported)
Dev and testing environment setup (+ CI), via replication of prod environment
More concretely, Heptio Ark combines an in-cluster service with a CLI that allows you to record both:
This guide gets Ark up and running on your cluster, and goes through an example using the following:
Minio, an S3-compatible storage service that runs locally on your cluster. This is the storage service where backup files are uploaded. Note that Ark is intended to run on a cloud provider–we are using Minio here to keep the example convenient and self-contained.
A sample nginx app under the
nginx-example namespace, used to demonstrate Ark’s backup and restore functionality.
Note that this example does not include a demonstration of PV disk snapshots, because that feature requires integration with a cloud provider API. For snapshotting examples and instructions specific to AWS, GCP, and Azure, see Cloud Provider Specifics.
You should have access to an up-and-running Kubernetes cluster (minimum version 1.7). If you do not have a cluster, choose a setup solution from the official Kubernetes docs.
You will need to have a DNS server set up on your cluster for the example files to work. You can check this with
kubectl get svc -l k8s-app=kube-dns --namespace=kube-system. If said service does not exist,
these instructions may help.
Clone or fork the Heptio Ark repo:
git clone email@example.com:heptio/ark.git
NOTE: Documentation may change between releases. See the Changelog for links to previous versions of this repository and its docs.
To ensure that you are working off a specific release,
git checkout <VERSION_TAG>where
<VERSION_TAG>is the appropriate tag for the Ark version you wish to use (e.g. “v0.3.3”). You should
git checkout mainonly if you’re planning on building the Ark image from scratch.
There are two types of Ark instances that work in tandem:
To get the server started on your cluster (as well as the local storage service), execute the following commands in Ark’s root directory:
kubectl apply -f examples/common/00-prereqs.yaml kubectl apply -f examples/minio/ kubectl apply -f examples/common/10-deployment.yaml
NOTE: If you encounter an error related to Config creation, wait for a minute and run the command again. (The Config CRD does not always finish registering in time.)
Now deploy the example nginx app:
kubectl apply -f examples/nginx-app/base.yaml
Check to see that both the Ark and nginx deployments have been successfully created:
kubectl get deployments -l component=ark --namespace=heptio-ark kubectl get deployments --namespace=nginx-example
Finally, install the Ark client somewhere in your
First, create a backup specifically for any object matching the
app=nginx label selector:
ark backup create nginx-backup --selector app=nginx
Now you can mimic a disaster with the following:
kubectl delete namespace nginx-example
Oh no! The nginx deployment and service are both gone, as you can see (though you may have to wait a minute or two for the namespace be fully cleaned up):
kubectl get deployments --namespace=nginx-example kubectl get services --namespace=nginx-example
Neither commands should yield any results. However, because Ark has your back(up), you can run this command:
ark restore create nginx-backup
To check on the status of the Restore:
ark restore get
The output should look something like the table below:
NAME BACKUP STATUS WARNINGS ERRORS CREATED SELECTOR nginx-backup-20170727200524 nginx-backup Completed 0 0 2017-07-27 20:05:24 +0000 UTC <none>
If the Restore’s
STATUS column is “Completed”, and
ERRORS are both zero, the restore is a success. All of the objects in the
nginx-example namespace should be just as they were before.
Otherwise, if there are warnings or errors indicated, you can run the following command to look at them in more detail:
ark restore get <RESTORE NAME> -o yaml
See the debugging documentation for more details.
NOTE: In the example files, the
storage volume is defined via
hostPath for better visibility. If you’re curious to see the
structure of the backup files firsthand, you can find the compressed results in
Using the following command, you can remove all Kubernetes objects associated with this example:
kubectl delete -f examples/common/ kubectl delete -f examples/minio/ kubectl delete -f examples/nginx-app/base.yaml
Each of Heptio Ark’s operations (Backups, Schedules, and Restores) are custom resources themselves, defined using CRDs. Their accompanying custom controllers handle them when they are submitted to the Kubernetes API server.
As mentioned before, Ark runs in two different modes:
Ark client: Allows you to query, create, and delete the Ark resources as desired.
Ark server: Runs all of the Ark controllers. Each controller watches its respective custom resource for API operations, performs validation, and handles the majority of the cloud API logic (e.g. interfacing with object storage and persistent volumes).
Looking at a specific example–an
ark backup create test-backup command triggers the following operations:
The ark client makes a call to the Kubernetes API server, creating a
Backup custom resource (which is stored in
BackupController sees that a new
Backup has been created, and validates it.
Once validation passes, the
BackupController begins the backup process. It collects data by querying the Kubernetes API Server for resources.
Once the data has been aggregated, the
BackupController makes a call to the object storage service (e.g. Amazon S3) to upload the backup file.
By default, Ark also makes disk snapshots of any persistent volumes, using the appropriate cloud service API. (This can be disabled via the option
To learn more about Heptio Ark operations and their applications, see the
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See the list of releases to find out about feature changes.