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Version: v2.6

Migrating Rancher to a New Cluster

If you are migrating Rancher to a new Kubernetes cluster, you don't need to install Rancher on the new cluster first. If Rancher is restored to a new cluster with Rancher already installed, it can cause problems.


These instructions assume you have created a backup and you have already installed a new Kubernetes cluster where Rancher will be deployed.


It is required to use the same hostname that was set as the server URL in the first cluster. If not done, downstream clusters will show as unavailable in the cluster management page of the UI, and you won't be able to click inside the cluster or on the cluster's Explore button.

Rancher version must be v2.5.0 and up

Rancher can be installed on any Kubernetes cluster, including hosted Kubernetes clusters such as Amazon EKS clusters. For help installing Kubernetes, refer to the documentation of the Kubernetes distribution. One of Rancher's Kubernetes distributions may also be used:

1. Install the rancher-backup Helm chart

Install version 2.x.x of the rancher-backup chart. The following assumes a connected environment with access to DockerHub:

helm repo add rancher-charts
helm repo update
helm install rancher-backup-crd rancher-charts/rancher-backup-crd -n cattle-resources-system --create-namespace --version $CHART_VERSION
helm install rancher-backup rancher-charts/rancher-backup -n cattle-resources-system --version $CHART_VERSION

For an air-gapped environment, use the option below to pull the backup-restore-operator image from your private registry when installing the rancher-backup-crd helm chart.

--set image.repository $REGISTRY/rancher/backup-restore-operator

2. Restore from backup using a Restore custom resource


Kubernetes v1.22, available as an experimental feature of v2.6.3, does not support restoring from backup files containing CRDs with the apiVersion In v1.22, the default resourceSet in the rancher-backup app is updated to collect only CRDs that use There are currently two ways to work around this issue:

  1. Update the default resourceSet to collect the CRDs with the apiVersion v1.
  2. Update the default resourceSet and the client to use the new APIs internally, with as the replacement.
  • Note that when making or restoring backups for v1.22, the Rancher version and the local cluster's Kubernetes version should be the same. The Kubernetes version should be considered when restoring a backup since the supported apiVersion in the cluster and in the backup file could be different.

If you are using an S3 store as the backup source and need to use your S3 credentials for restore, create a secret in this cluster using your S3 credentials. The Secret data must have two keys - accessKey and secretKey - that contain the S3 credentials.


The values accessKey and secretKey in the example below must be base64-encoded first when creating the object directly. If not encoded first, the pasted values will cause errors when you are attempting to backup or restore.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
name: s3-creds
type: Opaque
accessKey: <Enter your base64-encoded access key>
secretKey: <Enter your base64-encoded secret key>

This secret can be created in any namespace; with the above example, it will get created in the default namespace.

In the Restore custom resource, prune must be set to false.

Create a Restore custom resource like the example below:

# migrationResource.yaml
kind: Restore
name: restore-migration
backupFilename: backup-b0450532-cee1-4aa1-a881-f5f48a007b1c-2020-09-15T07-27-09Z.tar.gz
prune: false
encryptionConfigSecretName: encryptionconfig
credentialSecretName: s3-creds
credentialSecretNamespace: default
bucketName: backup-test
folder: ecm1
region: us-west-2

The field encryptionConfigSecretName must be set only if your backup was created with encryption enabled. Provide the name of the Secret containing the encryption config file. If you only have the encryption config file, but don't have a secret created with it in this cluster, use the following steps to create the secret:

  1. The encryption configuration file must be named encryption-provider-config.yaml, and the --from-file flag must be used to create this secret. So save your EncryptionConfiguration in a file called encryption-provider-config.yaml and run this command:
kubectl create secret generic encryptionconfig \
--from-file=./encryption-provider-config.yaml \
-n cattle-resources-system
  1. Apply the manifest, and watch for the Restore resources status:

    Apply the resource:

kubectl apply -f migrationResource.yaml
Watch the Restore status:
kubectl get restore
Watch the restoration logs:
kubectl logs -n cattle-resources-system --tail 100 -f rancher-backup-xxx-xxx

Once the Restore resource has the status Completed, you can continue the Rancher installation.

3. Install cert-manager

Follow the steps to install cert-manager in the documentation about installing cert-manager on Kubernetes.

4. Bring up Rancher with Helm

Use the same version of Helm to install Rancher, that was used on the first cluster.

helm install rancher rancher-latest/rancher \
--namespace cattle-system \
--set hostname=<same hostname as the server URL from the first Rancher server> \