Kubernetes is an open-source system for containerized applications. It offers various disaster recovery capabilities including automated rollbacks and self-healing but reliance on inbuilt options is not enough, as Faiz Khan explains…
We all know how grave the risk is today to stored data. The danger has been compounded by the dramatic surge in cloud adoption over the last several years and business leaders’ steady realization that they need more flexible infrastructure options. And although it has enabled enterprises to become more agile, the shift towards cloud flexibility has created new data management and security challenges.
In particular, there are concerns about the safety of organizations’ Kubernetes applications, which have quickly become the default cloud container for many businesses. In fact, of the 84 percent of companies using containers in production, an overwhelming 78 percent use Kubernetes, according to data from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
Unfortunately, as organizations have moved to containerized strategies, the number of downtime events that lead to data loss has catapulted. These downtime events are becoming far more frequent due to the escalation of ransomware attacks, the rise in extreme weather events, and the persistent threat of human error. For instance, 1-in-3 AWS users say that their organization suffered data loss in the last year due to downtime events. Meaning every organization must extend their cloud-native disaster recovery plan to cover their Kubernetes workloads.
Here are three tips to help every enterprise scale their Kubernetes backup and DR strategies as they seek better resilience in the face of emerging threats...
Establish a backup location
Businesses need a restore plan in place before moving ahead with a backup. To ensure the seamless and speedy recovery of their Kubernetes clusters, organizations need to be clear from the offset about where their backups will be restored in the case of a downtime event. This task is much more challenging than it sounds, given the complexity of Kubernetes components.
The goal, however, is simple. Enterprises need the ability to quickly restore all application components wherever they want them and restore subsets of these applications when they need to. In an environment where the cost of downtime is multiplying, any measure that improves both the recovery time objective and the recovery point objective is vital.
Abandon traditional DR plans for cloud-native backup
Every disaster recovery plan’s goal is to create a safety net for businesses to keep their applications, infrastructure, and ultimately their business running in the case of an unexpected outage. But just like the Covid-19 crisis has caused organizations to rethink nearly every facet of their business and even expose vulnerabilities in the ways they work, it also highlighted inefficiencies in traditional disaster recovery plans. These inefficiencies are even more exaggerated with backing up Kubernetes applications.
The truth is, traditional DR is far too complex, expensive, and unpredictable for containers. It works by creating a parallel production setup which may not even be required in every case, or by only backing up specific resources or objects, resulting in long recovery times during disaster situations. Moreover, it doesn’t allow for application mobility with all its constructs and blueprints like network setup, security policies, configurations, and data across regions in the cloud or sometimes even across clouds.
This makes traditional DR ineffective for enterprises looking to back up their Kubernetes clusters. Kubernetes are application-centric, and these types of legacy DR solutions often fail to capture the application as a whole. Which means they can actually put organizations at a greater risk for data loss or corruption. Furthermore, the fact that Kubernetes updates and releases are so frequent (every 3 months or so), means traditional DR may not be able to provide the right amount of protection.
Instead, businesses need a cloud-native backup strategy to seamlessly create their backups and restore them in the case of disaster. Many companies are turning to cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) for its simplicity, flexibility, and how it reduces the financial investment companies need to make.
Layer in security
There’s an urgent requirement for enterprises to factor security into their Kubernetes management. Clusters can be complex to secure and are often abused in compromises that exploit their misconfigurations. Especially since they tend to be multi-tenant, with developer teams regularly added and removed from the system. Keeping track of permissions and access credentials is a task in itself, and as we know, a significant security concern.
Of course, Kubernetes has security features, including network policies that protect internal application components and data services. An undeniable benefit, but also one that has the potential to hinder backup solutions working outside Kubernetes clusters. A cloud-based disaster recovery solution solves this problem, and the even better news is that some are even adding ransomware detection capabilities as an additional security layer.
Meanwhile, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently released its security guidelines for Kubernetes, highlighting the need for proactive breach prevention measures like Kubernetes pod security, network separation and hardening, and authentication and authorization.
With remote work becoming less of a movement and more of a long-term strategy, scalable cloud-native backup solutions have become necessary for resilience. Similarly, intensifying threats to enterprise data are creating a mission-critical scenario where business continuity is very much dependent on organizations’ ability to secure their cloud workloads. Indeed, how we work and where we store our data has undergone a massive shift in recent years. It’s vital that business leaders modernize their disaster recovery plans accordingly with cloud-based backup for Kubernetes.
Faiz Khan is CEO of Wanclouds