You are looking at the documentation of a prior release. To read the documentation of the latest release, please visit here.

Stash Architecture

Stash is a Kubernetes operator for restic. At the heart of Stash, it is a Kubernetes controller. It uses Custom Resource Definition(CRD) to specify targets and behaviors of backup and restore process in a Kubernetes native way. A simplified architecture of Stash is shown below:

  Stash Architecture
Fig: Stash Architecture


Stash consists of various components that implement backup and restore logic. This section will give you a brief overview of such components.

Stash Operator

When a user installs Stash, it creates a Kubernetes Deployment typically named stash-operator. This deployment controls the entire backup and restore process. stash-operator deployment runs two containers. One of them is called operator which performs the core functionality of Stash and the other one is pushgateway which is a Prometheus pushgateway.


operator container runs all the controllers as well as an Aggregated API Server.


Controllers watch various Kubernetes resources as well as the custom resources introduced by Stash. It applies the backup or restore logic for a target resource when requested by users.

Aggregated API Server

Aggregated API Server self-hosts validating and mutating webhooks and runs an Extension API Server for Snapshot resource.

  • Mutating Webhook: Stash uses Mutating Webhook to inject backup sidecar or restore init-container into a workload if any backup or restore process is configured for it. It is also used for defaulting custom resources.

  • Validating Webhook: Validating Webhook is used to validate the custom resource objects.

  • Snapshot Server: Stash uses Kubernetes Extended API Server to provide view and list capability of backed up snapshots. When a user requests for Snapshot objects, Snapshot server reads respective information directly from backend repository and returns object representation in a Kubernetes native way.


pushgateway container runs Prometheus pushgateway. All the backup sidecars/jobs and restore init-containers/jobs send Prometheus metrics to this pushgateway after completing their backup or restore process. Prometheus server can scrape those metrics from this pushgateway.


Backend is the storage where Stash stores backed up files. It can be a cloud storage like GCS bucket, AWS S3, Azure Blob Storage etc. or a Kubernetes persistent volume like NFS, PersistentVolumeClaim, etc. To learn more about backend, please visit here.


When a user creates a BackupConfiguration object, Stash creates a CronJob with the schedule specified in it. At each scheduled slot, this CronJob triggers a backup for the targeted workload.

Backup Sidecar / Backup Job

When a user creates a BackupConfiguration object, Stash injects a sidecar to the target if it is a workload (i.e. Deployment, DaemonSet, StatefulSet etc.). This sidecar takes backup when the respective CronJob triggers a backup. If the target is a database or stand-alone volume, Stash creates a job to take backup at each trigger.

Restore Init-Container / Restore Job

When a user creates a RestoreSession object, Stash injects an init-container to the target if it is a workload (i.e. Deployment, DaemonSet, StatefulSet etc.). This init-container performs restore process on restart. If the target is a database or stand-alone volume, Stash creates a job to restore the target.

Custom Resources

Stash uses Custom Resource Definition(CRD) to specify targets and behaviors of backup and restore process in a Kubernetes native way. This section will give you a brief overview of the custom resources used by Stash.

  • Repository: A Repository specifies the backend storage system where the backed up data will be stored. A user has to create Repository object for each backup target. Only one target can be backed up into one Repository. For details about Repository, please visit here.

  • BackupConfiguration: A BackupConfiguration specifies the backup target, behaviors (schedule, retention policy etc.), Repository object that holds backend information etc. A user has to create one BackupConfiguration object for each backup target. When a user creates a BackupConfiguration, Stash creates a CronJob for it and injects backup sidecar to the target if it is a workload (i.e. Deployment, DaemonSet, StatefulSet etc.). For more details about BackupConfiguration, please visit here.

  • BackupSession: A BackupSession object represents a backup run of a target. It is created by respective CronJob at each scheduled time slot. It refers to a BackupConfiguration object for necessary configuration. Controller that runs inside backup sidecar (in case of backup via job, it is stash operator itself) will watch this BackupSession object and start taking the backup instantly. A user can also create a BackupSession object manually to trigger instant backups. For more details about BackupSessions, please visit here.

  • RestoreSession: A RestoreSession specifies what to restore and the source of data. A user has to create a RestoreSession object when s/he wants to restore a target. When s/he creates a RestoreSession, Stash injects an init-container into the target workload (launches a job if the target is not a workload) to restore. For more details about RestoreSession, please visit here.

  • Function: A Function is a template for a container that performs only a specific action. For example, pg-backup function only dumps and uploads the dumped file into the backend, whereas update-status function updates the status of the respective BackupSession and Repository and sends Prometheus metrics to pushgateway based on the output of another function. For more details about Function, please visit here.

  • Task: A complete backup or restore process may consist of several steps. For example, in order to backup a PostgreSQL database we first need to dump the database, upload the dumped file to backend and then we need to update Repository and BackupSession status and send Prometheus metrics. We represent such individual steps via Function objects. An entire backup or restore process needs an ordered execution of one or more functions. A Task specifies an ordered collection of functions along with their parameters. Function and Task enables users to extend or customize the backup/restore process. For more details about Task, please visit here.

  • BackupBlueprint: A BackupBlueprint enables users to provide a blueprint for Repository and BackupConfiguration object. Then, s/he just needs to add some annotations to the workload s/he wants to backup. Stash will automatically create respective Repository and BackupConfiguration according to the blueprint. In this way, users can create a single blueprint for all similar types of workloads and backup them only by applying some annotations on them. In Stash parlance, we call this process Auto Backup. For more details about BackupBlueprint, please visit here.

  • BackupBatch: Sometimes, a single stateful component may not meet the requirements of your application. For example, in order to deploy a WordPress, you will need a Deployment for the WordPress and another Deployment for database to store it’s contents. Now, you may want to backup both of the deployment and database together as they are parts of a single application. A BackupBatch is a Kubernetes CustomResourceDefinition(CRD) which lets you configure backup for multiple co-related stateful components(workload, database etc.) together. For more details, please visit here.

  • RestoreBatch: A RestoreBatch allows restoring of multiple co-related targets together that were backed up using a BackupBatch. For more details, please visit here.

  • AppBinding: An AppBinding holds necessary information to connect with an application. For more details about AppBinding, please visit here.

  • Snapshot: A Snapshot is a representation of a backup snapshot in a Kubernetes native way. Stash uses Kuberentes Extended API Server for handling Snapshots. For more details about Snapshots, please visit here.