Heptio Ark

Maintainers: Heptio

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Ark gives you tools to back up and restore your Kubernetes cluster resources and persistent volumes. Ark lets you:

  • Take backups of your cluster and restore in case of loss.
  • Copy cluster resources across cloud providers. NOTE: Cloud volume migrations are not yet supported.
  • Replicate your production environment for development and testing environments.

Ark consists of:

  • A server that runs on your cluster
  • A command-line client that runs locally

More information

The documentation provides detailed information about building from source, architecture, extending Ark, and more.

Getting started

The following example sets up the Ark server and client, then backs up and restores a sample application.

For simplicity, the example uses Minio, an S3-compatible storage service that runs locally on your cluster. See Set up Ark with your cloud provider for how to run on a cloud provider.


  • 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


Clone or fork the Ark repository:

git clone

NOTE: Make sure to check out the appropriate version. We recommend that you check out the latest tagged version. The main branch is under active development and might not be stable.

Set up server

  1. Start the server and the local storage service. In the root directory of Ark, run:

    kubectl apply -f examples/common/00-prereqs.yaml
    kubectl apply -f examples/minio/
    kubectl apply -f examples/common/10-deployment.yaml

    NOTE: If you get an error about Config creation, wait for a minute, then run the commands again.

  2. Deploy the example nginx application:

    kubectl apply -f examples/nginx-app/base.yaml
  3. Check to see that both the Ark and nginx deployments are successfully created:

    kubectl get deployments -l component=ark --namespace=heptio-ark
    kubectl get deployments --namespace=nginx-example

Install client

For this example, we recommend that you download a pre-built release.

You can also build from source.

Make sure that you install somewhere in your $PATH.

Back up

  1. Create a backup for any object that matches the app=nginx label selector:

    ark backup create nginx-backup --selector app=nginx
  2. Simulate a disaster:

    kubectl delete namespace nginx-example
  3. To check that the nginx deployment and service are gone, run:

    kubectl get deployments --namespace=nginx-example
    kubectl get services --namespace=nginx-example
    kubectl get namespace/nginx-example

    You should get no results.

    NOTE: You might need to wait for a few minutes for the namespace to be fully cleaned up.


  1. Run:

    ark restore create nginx-backup
  2. Run:

    ark restore get

    After the restore finishes, the output looks like the following:

    NAME                          BACKUP         STATUS      WARNINGS   ERRORS    CREATED                         SELECTOR
    nginx-backup-20170727200524   nginx-backup   Completed   0          0         2017-07-27 20:05:24 +0000 UTC   <none>

NOTE: The restore can take a few moments to finish. During this time, the STATUS column reads InProgress.

After a successful restore, the STATUS column is Completed, and WARNINGS and ERRORS are 0. All objects in the nginx-example namespacee should be just as they were before you deleted them.

If there are errors or warnings, you can look at them in detail:

ark restore describe <RESTORE_NAME>

For more information, see the debugging information.

Clean up

Delete any backups you created:

kubectl delete -n heptio-ark backup --all

Before you continue, wait for the following to show no backups:

ark backup get

To remove the Kubernetes objects for this example from your cluster, run:

kubectl delete -f examples/common/
kubectl delete -f examples/minio/
kubectl delete -f examples/nginx-app/base.yaml


If you encounter issues, review the troubleshooting docs, file an issue, or talk to us on the Kubernetes Slack team channel #ark-dr.


Thanks for taking the time to join our community and start contributing!

Feedback and discussion is available on the mailing list.

Before you start

  • Please familiarize yourself with the Code of Conduct before contributing.
  • See for instructions on the developer certificate of origin that we require.

Pull requests

  • We welcome pull requests. Feel free to dig through the issues and jump in.


See the list of releases to find out about feature changes.

Getting Started

To help you get started, see the documentation.