Kubernetes Backup

Kubernetes backup definition

Kubernetes backup is the process of backing up the components running in a Kubernetes orchestration platform, that is an abstraction layer for containerized applications and services.  Components of a Kubernetes cluster include pods, nodes, control plane, and volumes, and each of these needs a level of protection. Unlike monolithic applications, modern apps comprise several microservices inside containers that live in Kubernetes environments. Protection of the major components of a Kubernetes cluster is critical. As enterprises increasingly rely on containerized applications, Kubernetes is becoming a vital part of enterprise IT environments. Kubernetes backups can be deployed onsite, offsite, or in the cloud.

Business applications and microservices generate vast amounts of data that need to be protected using a robust data protection solution. Kubernetes backup software enables companies to perform backups and restore all the files and microservices that comprise containers.

What is Kubernetes backup?

Kubernetes backup is a data protection solution for containers deployed as a Kubernetes cluster. Since containers do not contain the underlying operating system, their backup method varies from traditional solutions for physical and virtual servers.

Kubernetes backup applications can perform a full backup of all files in containers, incremental backups, or differential backups. It is best to run the Kubernetes backup software frequently and periodically to protect files, configurations, and continuously changing data. Kubernetes resources are stored in an etcd store, and application data is stored in persistent volumes for applications running on the cluster. These components are key to recovery from disasters, migrations of Kubernetes resources, and are used in replication of the container environment for further development and debugging. 

It is important for a Kubernetes backup solution to understand the details of what makes up the Kubernetes application. Protection should be integrated with the developer workflows by auto-discovering and protecting applications by-namespace and by-label selector. Granularity to backup and recover YAML manifests or entire volumes means flexibility to recover a full Kubernetes cluster. All of these components should be backed up as a single unit to be useful for Kubernetes in the future for a restore or migration operation. These solutions should also support certain aspects of traditional backup, such as schedules, jobs, retention, encryption, and tiering.

What is the Kubernetes backup process, and how does it work?

Traditional backup solutions are focused on a single machine’s data, whether that be a virtual machine or a physical machine, and those types of solutions will not work for a Kubernetes backup solution with containerized applications. Containerized applications need a different solution as the apps run in several pods, and across multiple machines with lots of objects holding configuration and application data. The Kubernetes backup solution must capture the data and application configuration at a granular level in order to ensure a fast recovery. 

Backup and recovery for Kubernetes is focused on the backup of the entire application from the local Kubernetes cluster to a different storage location, either offsite or on secondary storage. Offsite could be object storage in public or private clouds or storage available on-premises in different regions or failure domains. Backup solutions can also have multiple backup targets. Backups are done often to protect from system failure or to complete a compliance or regulatory checklist for your application.

Regardless of the backup destination, you should follow careful steps to ensure proper backup and data protection. The broad main stages of Kubernetes backup include:

  • Discovery. Perform automatic discovery of apps using label selectors, or namespace.
  • Identify resources. Identify the application, volumes, configuration files, and the Kubernetes clusters to be protected.
  • Backup. Complete the backup of identified resources to the designated destination.

Why is Kubernetes backup important?

Industry analysts estimate that 66% of enterprises are becoming prolific software producers releasing code daily. Analysts also estimate that 500 million new apps will be developed by 2023. Ninety percent (90%) of the new apps are expected to be cloud-native. All users expect to have the data they need accessible and available around the clock.

Consequently, a viable Kubernetes backup solution must ensure that downtime is rare and that applications and their data can be restored quickly after downtime or data loss. Also, data protection strategies need to ensure data privacy and regulatory compliance (e.g., GDPR and CCPA), which become very important as more users expose their critical data online.

The Kubernetes backup landscape is new, and certain solutions provide capabilities at a basic level. Without robust Kubernetes backup, the massive body of containerized apps would go without protection, which is an unacceptable situation. It is fair to assume that without appropriate Kubernetes backup, some data loss and application failure would occur due to scheduled and unscheduled disruptions. As a result, many businesses would suffer financially and lose vital data due to extended disruptions and disaster recovery times. In short, Kubernetes backup keeps the modern business engines running and brings them back to life faster after outages.

Benefits of Kubernetes backup

Digital data, containers and microservices are the drivers of hybrid cloud business growth. Protecting business-critical workloads and their associated microservices, containers and data is vital for business survival. Kubernetes data protection provides a safety net against data loss or corruption. Kubernetes backup extends protection to containers and modern apps, which are the workhorse of modern hybrid cloud enterprise IT departments. Backing up a Kubernetes cluster, and the nodes and applications they run ensures that the data, configurations, and files are protected. Modern Kubernetes backup software delivers full container and cluster protection and contributes to hybrid cloud business resiliency. By adopting a powerful solution for Kubernetes backup, businesses can enjoy reduced cost, increased agility, and empowered teams who can harness the power of containers to innovate with the peace of mind that their data is protected.

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Common use cases for Kubernetes backup

Organizations of all sizes who have deployed containers in their business need Kubernetes backup for their hybrid cloud everyday use cases:

  • Business continuity. With Kubernetes backup software, businesses can protect their data and configurations needed to bring modern apps and business back to life following unpredictable disruptions.
  • Data protection. Without proper protection, apps and data remain susceptible to potential loss and corruption. Kubernetes backup preserves data integrity, Kubernetes clusters setup, and provides usable copies of lost data.
  • Disaster recovery. It is accepted that businesses and IT environments will face unexpected events that could cause data loss, corruption, or disrupt IT operations. Using Kubernetes backup software reduces the risks of unplanned disruptions to data and apps.
  • Migration. Kubernetes backup software can assist businesses with migrating their Kubernetes clusters to either a new version of Kubernetes, or from on-premises to the cloud. 

Does Metallic offer Kubernetes backup?

Yes! Metallic™ VM & Kubernetes Backup covers Kubernetes applications with or without persistent data, running on-prem or in the cloud, and includes support for all the major Kubernetes distribution and management platforms including AKS, EKS, Red Hat OpenShift, VMware Tanzu, Rancher, and more – covering CNCF-certified Kubernetes distributions. In addition, Kubernetes application data does not live in your Kubernetes cluster alone. Companies have developer workstations, source-code control systems, image registries, and cloud-native object stores. Metallic backup as a service solutions can protect all of these.