Skip to content

Latest commit



274 lines (198 loc) · 8.92 KB

File metadata and controls

274 lines (198 loc) · 8.92 KB

Development Guide

This document provides instructions on how to build and run Kanister locally.


Kanister is a data management framework written in Go. It allows users to express data protection workflows using blueprints and actionsets. These resources are defined as Kubernetes Custom Resource Definitions , following the operator pattern.

kanister workflow

Repository Layout

  • build - A collection of shell scripts used by the Makefile targets to build, test and package Kanister
  • cmd - Go main packages containing the source of the controller, kanctl and kando executables
  • docker - A collection of Dockerfiles for build and demos
  • docs - Source of the documentation at
  • examples - A collection of example blueprints to show how Kanister works with different data services
  • graphic - Image files used in documentation
  • helm - Helm chart for the Kanister operator
  • pkg - Go library packages used by Kanister


The Makefile provides a set of targets to help simplify the build tasks. To ensure cross-platform consistency, many of these targets use Docker to spawn build containers based on the public image.

For make test to succeed, a valid kubeconfig file must be found at $HOME/.kube/config. See the Docker command that runs make test here.

Use the check target to ensure your development environment has the necessary development tools:

make check

The following targets can be used to lint, test and build the Kanister controller:

make golint

make test

make build-controller

To build kanister tools (kanctl and kando), use the following conmmand:

make build GOBORING=true BIN=<kanctl|kando> ARCH=<arm64|amd64>

This will build a selected binary BIN for a selected architecture ARCH.

To build the controller OCI image:

make release-controller \
  IMAGE=<your_registry>/<your_controller_image> \

Update the IMAGE variable to reference the image registry you'd like to push your image to. You must have write permissions on the registry. If IMAGE is not specified, the Makefile will use the default of kanisterio/controller.

The VERSION variable is useful for versioning your image with a custom tag. If VERSION is not specified, the Makefile will auto-generate one for your image.

For example, the following command will build and push your image to the registry at, with the tag 20221003:

make release-controller \ \

You can test your Kanister controller locally by using Helm to deploy the local Helm chart:

helm install kanister ./helm/kanister-operator \
  --create-namespace \
  --namespace kanister \
  --set image.repository=<your_registry>/<your_controller_image> \
  --set image.tag=<your_image_tag>

Subsequent changes to your Kanister controller can be applied using the helm upgrade command:

helm upgrade kanister ./helm/kanister-operator \
  --namespace kanister \
  --set image.repository=<your_registry>/<your_controller_image> \
  --set image.tag=<your_new_image_tag>

Non-Docker Setup

Most of the Makefile targets can work in a non-Docker development setup, by setting the DOCKER_BUILD variable to false.


Kanister is using check library to extend go testing capabilities: It's recommended to write new tests using this library for consistency.

make test runs all tests in the repository. It's possible to run a specific test with TEST_FILTER environment variable:

make tests TEST_FILTER=OutputTestSuite

This variable will be passed to -check.f flag and supports regex filters.

To run tests for specific package you can run go test in that package directory. It's recommended to do that in build image shell, you can run it with make shell.

The check library handles arguments differently from standard go test

  • to run specific test, you can use -check.f <test regex> to filter test (or suite) names
  • to increase verbosity, you can use -check.v or -check.vv
  • to controll how many suites from the package run in parallel, you can use -check.suitep <number>

See and for more information

Integration Tests

Integration tests verify that different components of Kanister work together as expected. They are located in the pkg/testing directory.


Before running integration tests, ensure the following:

  • MinIO: Make sure MinIO is installed and running. Use the following command to install it:
    make install-minio

Running Tests

To execute the integration tests, use the following Makefile target:

make integration-test [app-type]

Replace [app-type] with one of the following options:

  • all: Runs all integration tests.
  • short: Runs a quick subset of tests for common applications (PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, MSSQL).
  • openshift ocp_version=<ocp_version>: Runs tests specifically for a certain OpenShift version. Replace <ocp_version> with the version you want to test (e.g., openshift ocp_version=4.13). Currently supported versions are 3.11, 4.4, 4.5, 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, and 4.13.

Test Selection

You can also control which integration tests are run by setting the TEST_APPS environment variable.


Running all integration tests:

make integration-test all

Running the short suite of tests:

make integration-test short  # Or simply 'make integration-test'

Running tests for OpenShift 4.13:

make integration-test openshift ocp_version=4.13


The source of the documentation is found in the docs folder. They are written in the reStructuredText format.

To rebuild the documentation:

make docs

The docs target uses the public image to generate the HTML documents and store them in your local /docs/_build/html folder.

New Documentation

We have started experimenting, and will soon fully transition, to using VitePress to generate Kanister documentation. This requires the documentation files to be written in Markdown, along with some extensions.

This new documentation system offers a live-dev server that will dynamically render Markdown documentation files as you are making changes to them on your local machine/branch. To start this development server, place yourself in the docs_new folder, then run the following commands:

pnpm install
pnpm run docs:dev

To render/build the docs locally (it will generate static assets, like HTML pages, Javascript/CSS files, etc.), use this command:

pnpm run docs:build

To start a local webserver that you can use to preview the documentation that has been rendered by the command above, use this command:

pnpm run docs:preview

New Blueprints

If you have new blueprints that you think will benefit the community, feel free to add them to the examples folder via pull requests. Use the existing folder layout as a guide. Be sure to include a comprehensive to demonstrate end-to-end usage.

New Kanister Functions

Kanister can be extended with custom Kanister Functions. All the functions are written in Go. They are located in the pkg/function folder.

Take a look at this PR to see how to write a new Kanister Function.

Don't forget to update the documentation at docs/functions.rst with configuration information and examples to show off your new function.

Build Kanister image

The Kanister build image workflow is used to build and push a new Kanister build image ( It is an on-demand workflow and needs to be run manually. This workflow expects image tag value as an input.

The author updating the build image tag must raise a separate PR to update this value for it to be used in the build process. It should be set it here.

Build MongoDB Atlas tools image

The MongoDB Atlas image workflow is used to build and push a new Atlas tools image ( It is an on-demand workflow and needs to be run manually when there are changes in Atlas dockerfile. This workflow expects image tag value as an input.