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How to Backup and Restore PostgreSQL on Google Cloud Using Kasten K10


This post walks through how to use Kasten K10 to backup and restore PostgreSQL databases operating in a Kubernetes environment on the Google Cloud Platform. This blog assumes the use of Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).

GKE is a secured and managed Kubernetes service. As an enterprise-grade platform for containerized applications, it offers optimized GPU and TPU provisioning, integrated developer tools, and multi-cluster support from SREs.

PostgreSQL (often referred to as Postgres), is an open source relational database, popular in the cloud-native community.

Kasten’s K10 data management platform, is a secure software-only product that has been purpose-built for Kubernetes and provides operations teams an easy-to-use, scalable, and secure system for backup/restore, disaster recovery, and mobility of Kubernetes applications.

We assume that you already have an GKE cluster set up (if not, you can follow instructions here to deploy an GKE cluster).

The instructions in this post are organized in three sections:

  1. Installing Kasten K10 on your GKE cluster
  2. Installing PostgreSQL
  3. Backup and restore workflow using Kasten K10

1. Installing Kasten K10 on your GKE Cluster

Detailed instructions for installing K10 are available in the K10 documentation. In this post a “happy path” install is used for demo purposes.  Before proceeding with the install, the install prerequisites (Helm package manager and Kasten Helm charts repository) need to be satisfied. The Helm commands use Helm v3, but using Helm v2 is also straightforward.

Add the Kasten Helm charts repository and create the namespace where K10 will be installed using the commands below:

$ helm repo add kasten https://charts.kasten.io/
$ kubectl create namespace kasten-io

Use the command below to install K10:

$ helm install k10 kasten/k10 --namespace=kasten-io

To validate K10 install, use the command below in K10’s namespace (kasten-io, by default) to confirm that all K10 pods display a status of Running within a couple of minutes:

$ kubectl get pods --namespace kasten-io --watch

You can now access the K10 dashboard at after running the command below:

$ kubectl --namespace kasten-io port-forward service/gateway 8080:8000

2. Installing PostgreSQL

Use the commands below to create a namespace called postgresql and install PostgreSQL into your GKE cluster:

$ helm repo add bitnami https://charts.bitnami.com/bitnami
$ helm repo update

$ kubectl create namespace postgresql
$ helm install postgres bitnami/postgresql --namespace postgresql

To validate the PostgreSQL install, use the command below in the postgresql namespace to confirm that all PostgreSQL pods display a status of Running within a couple of minutes:

$ kubectl get pods  --namespace postgresql

K10 automatically discovers the instance of PostgreSQL. Following the successful install of PostgreSQL, click on the Applications card on the K10 dashboard to see the discovered PostgreSQL instance:

K10 auto discovers PostgreSQL on AKS 4

3. Backup and Restore Workflow using Kasten K10

Now we will use K10’s default backup mechanism, which relies on taking volume snapshots.

Click on the Applications card in the K10 dashboard and either create a backup policy or, for experimentation, simply create a restore point to do a full manual backup.

Create a Policy 4


Check the progress of the backup action in the main K10 dashboard.

Dashboard showing backup job completion 4 

Completion of the backup action will result in the creation of a restore point (a set of configuration and data artifacts), which can be used to restore from.

To restore from the restore point, go to the Applications card and click on `restore` button for the `postgresql` application.

Here you should see all the available restore points.

Viewing Restore Points PostgreSQL 4


Click on the restore point.
This will open the Restore panel where you can view and modify the restore parameters.
Click on the Restore button to restore the associated data and specs.





Check the progress of the restore action in the main K10 dashboard.

Dashboard PostgreSQL Restore Progress 4

The data and application configuration have been successfully restored.


Using Backup Policies

Note that the workflow demonstrated above used a manual backup. You can also create policies to execute backups on a scheduled basis. Policies are extremely configurable. You can set the backup schedule and snapshot retention schedule independently for fine-grained control over how often backups are performed and how much total storage they consume.

New Policy 4

To try this out click on Create New Policy on the application card on the dashboard.


When a policy that applies to an application successfully executes a backup, the application’s compliance with the policy is reported in the application card. In the screenshot below, we can see that  our postgresql application is now compliant with all policies.

PostgreSQL Compliant 4

Advanced Use Cases: DR and Mobility

The workflow in this blog covers snapshot, backup, and restore in a single GKE cluster. K10 can be used to export the entire application stack and its data from production clusters and restore them to a geographically separate DR cluster. You can also mask data, store it in an object store, and then read it from your local development cluster. Such use cases are described in the K10 documentation.


This blog has shared steps for backing up and restoring PostgreSQL running on GCP using snapshots as the backup mechanism. I encourage you to also explore the more advanced backup and restore approaches (based on logical dumps and database quiescing) discussed in an upcoming companion blog in this series. 

In addition to backups and restores for PostgreSQL, K10 also supports backups and restores for a range of other relational databases (e.g., MySQL) and NoSQL systems (e.g., MongoDB or Elastic). I encourage you to check those out too!

And finally, I encourage you to give K10 a try for FREE no sign-up needed, and let us know how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you!


Tom Manville

Tom made the jump from hardware into software at his first role in 2013. He worked on the server team at Maginatics, cloud-based file system company which was acquired by EMC late in 2014. After the acquisition, he joined Dropbox where he focussed on improving the efficiency and reliability of Dropbox's databases. In 2017, Tom joined the founding team at Kasten, a startup solving storage problems in cloud native environments. He now manages teams whose work includes Kanister, an open source execution framework for Kubernetes and K10, an enterprise data management solution. He's an active member of the Kubernetes Data Protection Working Group.


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