This blog will show you how to take a backup from a running Prometheus and restore it in some other Prometheus instance. You might ask why would you even want to do something like that? Well, sometimes you want the Prometheus metrics because they were collected for some particular purpose and you want to do some analysis later.


This blog assumes that you have a Prometheus running that is deployed using prometheus-operator in monitoring namespace. But even if you have deployed it in some other way modify the commands in few places.


Step: Enable Admin API.

Find out what is the name of your Prometheus object:

kubectl -n monitoring get prometheus

Set the value of spec.enableAdminAPI to true. Run the following command to do so:

kubectl -n monitoring patch prometheus prometheus-operator-prometheus \
  --type merge --patch '{"spec":{"enableAdminAPI":true}}'

Step: Verify that the admin API is enabled.

$ kubectl -n monitoring get sts prometheus-prometheus-operator-prometheus \
  -o yaml | grep admin
        - --web.enable-admin-api

Step: Verify that the pod is up.

Wait for the Prometheus pod to be up. It can take some time to be up if you have a lot of data. Move to next step once all the containers are in READY state.

$ kubectl -n monitoring get pods prometheus-prometheus-operator-prometheus-0
NAME                                          READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
prometheus-prometheus-operator-prometheus-0   3/3     Running   0          33m

Step: Port Forward.

Open a separate window to port forward and keep it running in the foreground:

kubectl -n monitoring port-forward svc/prometheus-operator-prometheus 9090

Step: Create a snapshot.

Run following command to

$ curl -XPOST http://localhost:9090/api/v2/admin/tsdb/snapshot

Step: Locate snapshot.

Find the snapshot you have just created in the Prometheus pod. If you have provided the --storage.tsdb.path flag then the snapshot is under:


To figure out the path just exec into the pod:

$ kubectl -n monitoring exec -it prometheus-prometheus-operator-prometheus-0 \
  -c prometheus -- /bin/sh -c \
  "ls /prometheus/snapshots/20200731T123913Z-6e661e92759805f5"

Step: Copy it locally.

Then copy the content from the prometheus container locally by running following command:

kubectl cp -n monitoring \
  prometheus-prometheus-operator-prometheus-0:/prometheus/snapshots/20200731T123913Z-6e661e92759805f5 \
  -c prometheus .

This might take a long time if you have a lot of data.

Step: Upload it to new Prometheus pod.

Delete the data in the existing --storage.tsdb.path. By running following command:

kubectl -n newprom exec -it prometheus -- /bin/sh -c "rm -rf /prometheus/*"

Now upload the old data to the new pod:

kubectl -n newprom cp ./* prometheus:/prometheus/

NOTE: My new pod’s --storage.tsdb.path points to /prometheus.

I hope this helps, happy hacking!