Kubernetes has emerged as the leading platform for deploying containerized applications, and many organizations are turning to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to enjoy a managed and efficient container orchestration experience. Thanks to the continuous innovations driven by the Kubernetes community, it has become easier to store state within Kubernetes clusters and even run mission-critical databases within these clusters. As more businesses adopt stateful AKS clusters, it is imperative for IT administrators to implement robust data protection measures to safeguard their applications against accidental deletion, malicious actors, and ransomware attacks.
In response to this need, we are excited to announce the General Availability of Azure Backup for AKS, a simple, cloud-native solution that enables you to protect your AKS clusters via backing up Kubernetes workloads deployed along with the application data.
How Azure Backup for AKS Works
Customers running stateful AKS clusters previously relied on the native Azure Disk Backup service to protect their applications stored in Persistent Volumes. While this service offered a convenient way to back up data, restoring these snapshots to the cluster required substantial effort from the customers. Furthermore, customers were not only interested in protecting volumes but also sought an application-centric approach. They wanted to back up the entire application, including both the cluster state and volumes, in a Kubernetes-aware manner.
With a "Linux first" mindset, we developed a solution leveraging Velero, an open-source software that provides backup and restore capabilities for Kubernetes cluster resources and persistent volumes. Azure Backup complements this by offering orchestration and management features to our customers. This combination of open-source innovation and enterprise-grade data protection capabilities within an easy-to-use Azure-native experience significantly reduces the total cost of ownership and provides peace of mind to our customers.
Getting started with Azure Backup for AKS is a breeze. You only need to install the Azure Backup extension in your cluster, and it's ready to be backed up. After installation, you can configure backups from the AKS Portal or enjoy the convenience of a single pane of glass view from the Backup Center to manage your AKS backups alongside other Azure workloads such as virtual machines and SQL Server.
Key Features of Azure Backup for AKS
With Azure Backup for AKS, you can configure scheduled backups for both your cluster state and application data, including persistent volumes. The cluster state is stored in a blob container, while the persistent volumes (based on Azure Disk) are backed up as snapshots in a Kubernetes-aware manner using the Container Storage Interface (CSI) Driver. This flexibility allows you to leverage backups for operational recovery or to recover from accidental data deletion at any time.
One of the standout features of this solution is the fine-grained control it provides. You can choose to back up a specific namespace or an entire cluster, making it ideal for organizations with shared cluster architectures used by multiple application teams or departments. With granular namespace-level control, you can configure backups for each application based on your required Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) using backup policies.
In terms of restores, the backups taken from your AKS cluster can be restored to the original cluster or to an alternate cluster, even in a different Azure subscription. This unlocks various scenarios where you can use backups to clone production environments for testing or migrate applications across clusters as part of a blue-green deployment strategy.
For customers running database workloads as containers, such as MySQL, Postgres, or MongoDB, Azure Backup for AKS provides the confidence to define specific customizations for these databases during backup, ensuring application consistency.
With Azure Backup for AKS, customers can now confidently run stateful applications within their AKS clusters, benefiting from the advanced orchestration capabilities of Kubernetes managed by Azure while also having their data backed up using Azure Backup. As more organizations start operating mission-critical applications in a stateful manner on AKS, Azure Backup empowers IT administrators to have a peaceful night's sleep, knowing that their applications are well-protected. This solution represents another step forward in Azure's commitment to providing robust, integrated tools for the Azure Kubernetes Service, and it ensures that your data is safe, secure, and always within your reach.
Check out this article to learn more about Azure Backup for AKS and start protecting your applications running on AKS today.