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Velero: Safeguarding Kubernetes Workloads Through Data Resilience

Picture of Boyan Kirov
Boyan Kirov
DevOps & Cloud Engineer
07.09.2023
Reading time: 5 mins.
Last Updated: 03.01.2024

Table of Contents

In the ever-evolving realm of containerization and microservices, Kubernetes has emerged as a cornerstone for orchestrating and managing applications. While Kubernetes provides remarkable benefits in terms of scalability and flexibility, it also introduces new challenges, particularly concerning data resilience, backup, and disaster recovery. In this article, we delve into Velero, a powerful Kubernetes plugin that addresses these challenges head-on. Join us as we explore the intricate workings, key features, and real-world implications of Velero in ensuring the safety and continuity of your Kubernetes workloads.

The Data Resilience Imperative

As Kubernetes empowers organizations to scale and deploy applications rapidly, the criticality of data resilience comes into focus. Data resilience entails the ability to ensure data integrity, accessibility, and recoverability, even in the face of failures, accidents, or disasters. In Kubernetes environments, which host complex microservices architectures, data resilience becomes paramount to maintaining business continuity and preserving the user experience. Velero, an open-source project, steps onto the stage to alleviate these concerns and offer a comprehensive solution for Kubernetes data management.

Unpacking Velero’s Capabilities

  1. Backup and Restore: At the heart of Velero’s functionality lies its ability to capture snapshots of your Kubernetes cluster, encompassing not only application data but also the configurations and settings that define your environment. These snapshots serve as restore points that can be leveraged to bring your cluster back to a functioning state should an issue arise.
  2. Incremental Backups: Velero adopts an incremental backup strategy, recording only the changes that have occurred since the last backup. This approach optimizes storage utilization and minimizes the time required to perform backups.
  3. Customized Restoration: When initiating a restoration process, Velero provides granular control over the resources you wish to recover. This flexibility ensures that you can tailor the restoration to precisely meet the needs of your applications.
  4. Portability: Velero generates cloud-agnostic backups, enabling you to seamlessly transition your workloads between different cloud providers or on-premises environments. This portability reduces vendor lock-in and empowers you to make strategic infrastructure decisions.
  5. Scheduled Backups: Automation is a cornerstone of modern IT operations. Velero offers scheduled backup capabilities, allowing you to define regular intervals for automated data protection. This hands-off approach ensures that your data remains safe without manual intervention.
  6. Cluster Migration: Velero plays a pivotal role in simplifying the process of migrating Kubernetes clusters. Whether you’re transitioning between cloud providers or updating to a new version of Kubernetes, Velero streamlines the migration, minimizing disruption and complexity.

The Benefits of Embracing Velero

  1. Data Resilience and Availability: By implementing Velero’s backup and recovery capabilities, organizations fortify their Kubernetes workloads against data loss caused by accidental deletions, hardware failures, or catastrophic events. This translates to enhanced application availability and reduced downtime.
  2. Operational Efficiency: Velero empowers DevOps teams by offloading the burden of manual data management. This, in turn, allows teams to concentrate on innovation and strategic initiatives, fostering efficiency and agility.
  3. Compliance and Governance: Industries governed by stringent data regulations can rely on Velero to assist in meeting compliance requirements. The plugin’s backup and restore functions ensure that organizations can fulfill data retention and recovery mandates.
  4. Cost Optimization: Velero’s incremental backup approach optimizes storage consumption, contributing to cost savings. Moreover, the reduced downtime resulting from efficient recovery mechanisms positively impacts both operational expenses and customer satisfaction.
  5. Flexibility and Future-Readiness: The cloud-agnostic nature of Velero ensures that your data is adaptable to changing infrastructures and strategies. This future-proofing capability empowers organizations to embrace evolving technologies without data migration headaches.

In the intricate landscape of Kubernetes management, Velero shines as a beacon of data resilience and reliability. Its comprehensive backup, restoration, and migration features empower organizations to safeguard their Kubernetes workloads, ensuring the availability and recoverability of critical data. By integrating Velero into your Kubernetes environment, you’re not only ensuring the longevity of your applications but also bolstering your operational efficiency, compliance posture, and cost-effectiveness. As businesses continue to harness the power of Kubernetes to drive innovation, Velero emerges as an indispensable tool that provides peace of mind, enabling you to focus on what truly matters—delivering exceptional experiences to your users in a rapidly evolving digital world.

How to install Velero in Kubernetes

To install Velero (formerly Heptio Ark) in a Kubernetes cluster, you’ll need to follow a series of steps to set up Velero and configure it according to your requirements. Below are the general steps to install Velero:

Step 1: Prerequisites

Before you begin, ensure you have the following prerequisites in place:

• A running Kubernetes cluster.

• kubectl command-line tool installed and configured to communicate with your cluster.

• Access to a storage provider (e.g., AWS S3, Azure Blob Storage, Google Cloud Storage) and necessary credentials.• Velero CLI tool downloaded and installed on your local machine.

Step 2: Configure Cloud Storage

You need to configure Velero to use cloud storage for storing backups. Create a cloud storage bucket (e.g., in AWS S3, Azure Blob Storage, or Google Cloud Storage) and obtain the necessary credentials, such as access keys or service account credentials.

Step 3: Install Velero

You can install Velero using Helm or YAML manifests. Here, we’ll provide instructions for installing Velero using YAML manifests:

  1. Download the Velero release that matches your Kubernetes version from the Velero GitHub releases page: https://github.com/vmware-tanzu/velero/releases
  2. Extract the downloaded archive and navigate to the velero-<version> directory:
tar -xvf velero-<version>-linux-amd64.tar.gz
cd velero-<version>


3. Create a credentials-velero file to store your cloud storage provider credentials. Replace the placeholders with your actual credentials:

cat <<EOF > credentials-velero
[default]
aws_access_key_id = YOUR_AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID
aws_secret_access_key = YOUR_AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY
EOF

4. Create a Kubernetes secret to store the cloud storage credentials:

 kubectl create secret generic cloud-credentials \
  --from-file cloud=./credentials-velero

5. Create a velero.yaml file with the Velero configuration:

cat <<EOF > velero.yaml
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
  name: velero
  namespace: velero
spec:
  template:
    spec:
      containers:
      - name: velero
        image: velero/velero:latest
        command:
        - /velero
        args:
        - server
        - --restic
        - --use-restic
        - --default-volume-recycler-period-seconds=3600
        - --default-volumes-to-restic=true
        env:
        - name: VELERO_NAMESPACE
          value: velero
        - name: VELERO_CUSTOM_RESOURCE_BACKUP_LOCATION
          value: default
        volumeMounts:
        - mountPath: /credentials
          name: cloud-credentials
          readOnly: true
        - mountPath: /plugins
          name: plugins
        ports:
        - containerPort: 8080
          name: api
          protocol: TCP
      volumes:
      - name: cloud-credentials
        secret:
          secretName: cloud-credentials
      - name: plugins
        emptyDir: {}
EOF

6. Apply the Velero configuration to your cluster:

{code} 


kubectl apply -f velero.yaml

Step 4: Verify Installation

To verify that Velero has been installed successfully, you can check the Velero pods in the velero namespace:

kubectl get pods -n velero

You should see Velero pods running.

Step 5: Backup Configuration

You can now configure Velero to create backups for your Kubernetes resources. This typically involves creating a backup schedule and specifying which resources to include in the backups.

Please refer to the Velero documentation for detailed instructions on configuring backups, schedules, and additional advanced configurations: 

https://velero.io/docs/v1.12/

To Wrap Up

That’s it! Velero is now installed and ready to help you manage backups and disaster recovery for your Kubernetes cluster.

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