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.

NOTE The example lets you explore basic Ark functionality. In the real world, however, you would back your cluster up to external storage.

See Set up Ark on your platform for how to configure Ark for a production environment.


  • 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/

    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

Download the client.

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

    Alternatively if you want to backup all objects except those matching the label backup=ignore:

    ark backup create nginx-backup --selector 'backup notin (ignore)'
  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 --from-backup 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 namespace 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

If you want to delete any backups you created, including data in object storage and persistent volume snapshots, you can run:

ark backup delete BACKUP_NAME

This asks the Ark server to delete all backup data associated with BACKUP_NAME. You need to do this for each backup you want to permanently delete. A future version of Ark will allow you to delete multiple backups by name or label selector.

Once fully removed, the backup is no longer visible when you run:

ark backup get BACKUP_NAME

If you want to uninstall Ark but preserve the backup data in object storage and persistent volume snapshots, it is safe to remove the heptio-ark namespace and everything else created for this example:

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

To help you get started, see the documentation.