Update: Kopia information added, 31 Jan, 2023. VMware, Red Hat and Dell maintainer activity added, Feb 6, 2023
Previously known as Heptio Ark, Velero provides data protection for Kubernetes stateful containers – the ones with persistent volumes and cluster resources. It can run with a cloud provider or on-premises.
Velero backs up cluster states and takes snapshots of persistent volumes using the cloud provider’s API. It is an alternative to etcd snapshots because the restoration process is billed as being easier and doesn’t involve so many manual steps. It also has an advantage over Kasten because, as one user said: “Technically there is a free tier for Kasten, but you can have a maximum of ten nodes in your cluster, which is a joke.”
IT Press Tour trippers in Santa Clara were briefed by Red Hat senior software engineer Shubham Pampattiwar, who is a Velero project maintainer. He listed some of the Velero maintaining organizations: Veeam Kasten, VMware, Red Hat and SUSE. Kasten was a surprise. He also listed a few users: VMware Tanzu, Dell PowerProtect, Veritas NetBackup, Red Hat OpenShift and IBM Spectrum Protect. There are serious players on both lists.
Currently Velero stores its snapshots on the local Kubernetes cluster. The intent is to add a data mover to migrate CSI-taken snapshots off the local cluster’s storage location. Storage suppliers could use their own data mover instead.
At the moment Velero only has a command line interface (CLI) but a GUI is planned at some point.
So where does this put us? Velero will, in all likelihood, be developed to become a serious Kubernetes containerized app backup, restore and disaster recovery facility that is open source and competes with proprietary backup products. Kasten, Portworx and Trilio will need to recognize this and either adopt it as their core code or provide better services. Dell, Veritas, Red Hat, SUSE and IBM may adopt or incorporate Velero. So too may other backup suppliers as it avoids them having to build or acquire their own K8s backup software.
We’re told both Velero and Portworx adopted Kopia as the data engine, a project that Kasten popularized, contributed to, and has financially supported. Kopia’s website says it “is a fast and secure open-source backup/restore tool that allows you to create encrypted snapshots of your data and save the snapshots to remote or cloud storage of your choice, to network-attached storage or server, or locally on your machine. Kopia does not ‘image’ your whole machine. Rather, Kopia allows you to backup/restore any and all files/directories that you deem are important or critical.”
Also we understood from a source that VMware isn’t investing in Velero and its Velero maintainer has left and joined a container backup company.
However this view is strongly countered by Velero contributor Wes Hayutin of Red Hat who tells me: “I can say with 100 percent certainty that engineers from VMware, Red Hat, Dell ( judging by email address ) keep showing up to Velero weekly community calls, these folks keep submitting code and fixing bugs. I can say with 100 percent certainty that there are five active maintainers with VMWare email addresses and two active maintainers from Red Hat, alongside contributors like myself.”