Strategies For Successful Kubernetes Namespace Backup and Restore

June 17, 2023

Backup and recovery are one of key pillars for an efficient Kubernetes environment. You need to be able to back up the application configuration data and the persistent volumes attached to your app containers.

It would help if you had a backup solution that understands the Kubernetes architecture and supports various storage integrations to do this. It also needs to be able to perform restores across different Kubernetes distributions, infrastructure configurations, and versions.

Identify Your Backup Targets

The first step in successful kubernetes backup and restore namespace is identifying the resources you want to back up. This can be cluster-scoped (which includes all pods and tagged objects) or namespace-scoped.

Once you have identified the resources, you want to backup, create a new restore job. Restore jobs can be on-demand or recurring. The restore wizard will walk you through selecting and submitting a restore job.

When restoring a copy backup, you can restore to the original namespace or a different cluster. You can also select a different storage class. If you select a different storage class, Velero will rename and remap the PVCs to match the selected namespace.

You can also select a pre/post hook for your restore. This hook is used to execute any custom plugins you have configured and to modify the PVC metadata.

It’s important to back up the YAML files associated with your deployments and the persistent data of each application. This is a critical part of the Kubernetes backup solution because it will allow you to restore applications to their normal state, even in a local failure, such as a stuck cloud volume. It will also allow you to move your apps between environments for scheduled migrations, upgrades, or dev-to-prod processes.

Plan Your Backups

Before starting the backup process, you should plan out the types of data you will be backing up. This will help you avoid backing up more than necessary data and determine how much space your backups need. It also helps to create a schedule for when the backups will occur. This will ensure that your data is backed up regularly and prevent you from accidentally losing important information.

Kubernetes is increasingly being used in operational environments. This is due to the flexibility, performance, and cost advantages containers can offer over traditional VMs. As more enterprises move to deploy Kubernetes in their mission-critical environment, it’s essential to have a robust backup and recovery process in place.

When deploying a backup and restore solution for Kubernetes, it’s important to understand the components involved. For example, you should consider your RTO and RPO requirements. You will likely have different RTO and RPO application requirements, so you should develop a backup strategy that protects these specific applications.

For example, if your company uses an NGINX deployment to serve web pages, you would want to back up the contents of the NGINX pod and persistent data volume. This can be accomplished by creating a new namespace with a simple NGINX deployment. Then, you should create a Kubernetes command to back up the NGINX deployment and the associated NGINX data volume. Once the command is complete, you should receive a message that indicates the backup and restoration process was successful.

Create a Backup Strategy

Kubernetes started as an orchestrator for stateless containers, but it’s also evolved into a runtime for stateful applications. These include databases, event processors, ML models, and legacy apps maintaining local states. These applications need to be backed up and restored like any other data.

A good backup solution can capture the data and configuration associated with an application at the granular level and ensure the complete application is available for recovery after a disaster or migration. Effective solutions are often called “application aware.” They understand the underlying components of an application, such as its storage on volumes. They can back up and restore cluster-scoped resources and application-wide deployments and namespaces.

To ensure that the backups you create will work when needed, it’s important to test them. Including your backup and restoration strategy in the IT, planning cycle is also best practice.

To test your LINSTOR backups, create a new job and select the option to create a snapshot restore or copy restore. Then, choose the original and destination clusters or storage classes for your restoration.

Test Your Backups

You need to test your backups to ensure they work. The last thing you want is to wake up the morning after a catastrophic server crash and discover that your backups weren’t created properly or didn’t transfer over successfully.

A great way to test your backups is to use them to restore some of your most important files. By doing this, you can confirm that your system works as expected and familiarize yourself with the process of using it.

Businesses should also test their backups at different points in the timeline, including after a major system upgrade. Several high-profile outages have been caused by simple hardware upgrades that weren’t tested beforehand, and testing can help prevent these kinds of disasters in the future.

Testing your backups can be time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of data to restore. However, several tools are available to make the process more manageable. This open-source tool makes scheduling backups for the entire cluster or specific namespaces and labels easy. It also offers backup hooks, which allow admins to perform custom actions before or after a backup.

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