Volume Group Snapshot Feature


StatusMin K8s VersionMax K8s Versionsnapshot-controller Versionsnapshot-validation-webhook VersionCSI external-snapshotter sidecar Versionexternal-provisioner Version

IMPORTANT: The validation logic for VolumeGroupSnapshots and VolumeGroupSnapshotContents has been replaced by CEL validation rules. The validating webhook is now only being used for VolumeGroupSnapshotClasses to ensure that there's at most one default class per CSI Driver. The validation webhook is deprecated and will be removed in the next release


Some storage systems provide the ability to create a crash consistent snapshot of multiple volumes. A group snapshot represents “copies” from multiple volumes that are taken at the same point-in-time. A group snapshot can be used either to rehydrate new volumes (pre-populated with the snapshot data) or to restore existing volumes to a previous state (represented by the snapshots).

Kubernetes CSI currently enables CSI Drivers to expose the following functionality via the Kubernetes API:

  1. Creation and deletion of volume group snapshots via Kubernetes native API.
  2. Creation of new volumes pre-populated with the data from a snapshot that is part of the volume group snapshot via Kubernetes dynamic volume provisioning.

Implementing Volume Group Snapshot Functionality in your CSI Driver

To implement the volume group snapshot feature, a CSI driver MUST:

  • Implement a new group controller service.
  • Implement group controller RPCs: CreateVolumeGroupSnapshot, DeleteVolumeGroupSnapshot, and GetVolumeGroupSnapshot.
  • Add group controller capability CREATE_DELETE_GET_VOLUME_GROUP_SNAPSHOT.

For details, see the CSI spec.

Sidecar Deployment

The Kubernetes CSI development team maintains the external-snapshotter Kubernetes CSI Sidecar Containers. This sidecar container implements the logic for watching the Kubernetes API objects and issuing the appropriate CSI volume group snapshot calls against a CSI endpoint. For more details, see external-snapshotter documentation.

Volume Group Snapshot APIs

With the introduction of Volume Group Snapshot, the user can create and delete a group snapshot using Kubernetes APIs.

The schema definition for the custom resources (CRs) can be found here. The CRDs should be installed by the Kubernetes distributions.

There are 3 APIs:

VolumeGroupSnapshot : Created by a Kubernetes user (or perhaps by your own automation) to request creation of a volume group snapshot for multiple volumes. It contains information about the volume group snapshot operation such as the timestamp when the volume group snapshot was taken and whether it is ready to use. The creation and deletion of this object represents a desire to create or delete a cluster resource (a group snapshot).

VolumeGroupSnapshotContent : Created by the snapshot controller for a dynamically created VolumeGroupSnapshot. It contains information about the volume group snapshot including the volume group snapshot ID. This object represents a provisioned resource on the cluster (a group snapshot). The VolumeGroupSnapshotContent object binds to the VolumeGroupSnapshot for which it was created with a one-to-one mapping.

VolumeGroupSnapshotClass : Created by cluster administrators to describe how volume group snapshots should be created. including the driver information, the deletion policy, etc.


  • The controller logic for volume group snapshot is added to the snapshot controller and the CSI external-snapshotter sidecar.

The snapshot controller is deployed by the Kubernetes distributions and is responsible for watching the VolumeGroupSnapshot CRD objects and manges the creation and deletion lifecycle of volume group snapshots.

The CSI external-snapshotter sidecar watches Kubernetes VolumeGroupSnapshotContent CRD objects and triggers CreateVolumeGroupSnapshot/DeleteVolumeGroupSnapshot against a CSI endpoint.

Snapshot Validation Webhook

The validating webhook server is updated to validate volume group snapshot objects. This SHOULD be installed by the Kubernetes distros along with the snapshot-controller, not end users. It SHOULD be installed in all Kubernetes clusters that has the volume group snapshot feature enabled. See Snapshot Validation Webhook for more details on how to use the webhook.

Kubernetes Cluster Setup

See the Deployment section of Snapshot Controller on how to set up the snapshot controller and CRDs.

See the Deployment section of Snapshot Validation Webhook for more details on how to use the webhook.

Test Volume Group Snapshot Feature

To test volume group snapshot version, use the following example yaml files.

Create a StorageClass:

kubectl create -f storageclass.yaml

Create PVCs:

# This will create a PVC named hpvc
kubectl create -f pvc.yaml

# This will create a PVC named hpvc-2
sed "s/hpvc/hpvc-2/" pvc.yaml | kubectl create -f -

Add a label to PVC:

kubectl label pvc hpvc hpvc-2 app.kubernetes.io/name=postgresql

Create a VolumeGroupSnapshotClass:

kubectl create -f groupsnapshotclass-v1alpha1.yaml

Create a VolumeGroupSnapshot:

kubectl create -f groupsnapshot-v1alpha1.yaml

Once the VolumeGroupSnapshot is ready, the pvcVolumeSnapshotRefList status field will contain the names of the generated VolumeSnapshot objects:

kubectl get volumegroupsnapshot new-groupsnapshot-demo  -o yaml | sed -n '/pvcVolumeSnapshotRefList/,$p'

  - persistentVolumeClaimRef:
      name: hpvc
      name: snapshot-4bcc4a322a473abf32babe3df5779d14349542b1f0eb6f9dab0466a85c59cd42-2024-06-19-12.35.17
  - persistentVolumeClaimRef:
      name: hpvc-2
      name: snapshot-62bd0be591e1e10c22d51748cd4a53c0ae8bf52fabb482bee7bc51f8ff9d9589-2024-06-19-12.35.17
  readyToUse: true

Create a PVC from a VolumeSnapshot that is part of the group snapshot:

# In the command below, the volume snapshot name should be chosen from
# the ones listed in the output of the previous command
sed 's/new-snapshot-demo-v1/snapshot-4bcc4a322a473abf32babe3df5779d14349542b1f0eb6f9dab0466a85c59cd42-2024-06-19-12.35.17/' restore.yaml | kubectl create -f -


See the Drivers for a list of CSI drivers that implement the group snapshot feature.