Keeping Your Kubernetes Cluster Healthy: Best Practices for Upgrading, Backing Up, and Scaling

Keeping Your Kubernetes Cluster Healthy: Best Practices for Upgrading, Backing Up, and Scaling

Learn How to Maintain Your Kubernetes Cluster and Keep Your Applications Running Smoothly with Detailed Examples

Kubernetes has become the go-to container orchestration tool for managing and scaling containerized applications. However, maintaining a Kubernetes cluster can be a challenging task, especially for organizations with large, complex clusters. This is where Kubernetes cluster maintenance comes into play.

In this blog post, we will cover three essential Kubernetes cluster maintenance tasks: upgrading the cluster, backing up and restoring data, and scaling the cluster. We will explain each of these tasks in detail and provide examples to help you get started.

Upgrading the Cluster

Kubernetes is a rapidly evolving project, with new releases and updates being released frequently. To ensure that your Kubernetes cluster is running smoothly and taking advantage of the latest features, it is essential to upgrade your cluster regularly.

The Kubernetes upgrade process involves updating the control plane and worker nodes to the latest version. Before starting the upgrade process, it is crucial to read the release notes of the new version to understand the changes and new features. It is also essential to have a backup of your data and configuration, as the upgrade process can sometimes lead to data loss or configuration errors.

Let's take a look at an example of upgrading a Kubernetes cluster from version 1.21 to 1.22 using the kubeadm tool.

Step 1: Update the kubeadm tool and Kubernetes packages

apt-get update
apt-get install -y kubeadm=1.22.0-00 kubelet=1.22.0-00 kubectl=1.22.0-00

Step 2: Drain and cordon the worker nodes

kubectl drain <node-name> --ignore-daemonsets
kubectl cordon <node-name>

Step 3: Upgrade the control plane

kubeadm upgrade plan
kubeadm upgrade apply v1.22.0

Step 4: Upgrade the worker nodes

kubeadm upgrade node
systemctl restart kubelet

Step 5: Uncordon the worker nodes

kubectl uncordon <node-name>

Backing up and Restoring Data

Data is the lifeblood of any application, and it is crucial to have a backup of your data to prevent data loss in case of hardware failures or other disasters. In a Kubernetes cluster, data can be stored in various resources such as ConfigMaps, Secrets, PersistentVolumes, and StatefulSets.

To back up your Kubernetes data, you can use various tools such as Velero, Stash, or Kubernetes Backup. These tools provide an easy and automated way to back up your data to a remote storage location, such as an S3 bucket.

Let's take a look at an example of backing up and restoring a Kubernetes cluster using Velero.

Step 1: Install Velero

# Download Velero CLI

# Extract the binary
tar -xzvf velero-v1.7.0-linux-amd64.tar.gz

# Move the binary to /usr/local/bin
sudo mv velero-v1.7.0-linux-amd64/velero /usr/local/bin/

Step 2: Install the Velero server on the Kubernetes cluster

velero install \
    --provider aws \
    --plugins velero/velero-plugin-for-aws:v1.2.0 \
    --bucket <your-bucket-name> \
    --secret-file ./credentials-velero \
    --backup-location-config region=<your-region> \
    --snapshot-location-config region=<your-region> \

Step 3: Create a backup of the cluster

velero backup create <backup-name>

Step 4: Restore the backup

velero restore create --from-backup <backup-name>

Scaling the Cluster

Kubernetes allows you to scale your cluster horizontally by adding or removing nodes or vertically by increasing or decreasing the resources allocated to your applications.

Horizontal scaling is achieved by adding more nodes to the cluster. Kubernetes supports various cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure, which makes it easy to scale your cluster by adding more worker nodes.

Vertical scaling, on the other hand, involves increasing the resources allocated to your application, such as CPU and memory. Kubernetes supports various resource management tools such as Horizontal Pod Autoscaler (HPA), Vertical Pod Autoscaler (VPA), and Cluster Autoscaler.

Let's take a look at an example of scaling a Kubernetes cluster using the Horizontal Pod Autoscaler.

Step 1: Create a deployment

kubectl create deployment nginx --image=nginx

Step 2: Create an HPA

kubectl autoscale deployment nginx --cpu-percent=50 --min=1 --max=10

Step 3: Verify the HPA

kubectl get hpa

The output will show the current replica count and the desired replica count based on the CPU usage.


Maintaining a Kubernetes cluster requires regular upgrades, backups, and scaling. Upgrading your cluster ensures that it is running smoothly and taking advantage of the latest features. Backing up your data ensures that you can recover from data loss in case of disasters. Scaling your cluster ensures that your applications are running efficiently and can handle increased traffic. By following these best practices, you can keep your Kubernetes cluster healthy and running smoothly.

The above information is up to my understanding, some of it is procured from ChatGPT as well. Suggestions are always welcome.

~Abhiraj kharbade

#Kubernetes #Devops #Trainwithshubham #Kubeweek #kubeweekchallenge #Day6challenge

Shubham Londhe