This page provides an overview of persistent volumes and claims in Kubernetes, and their use with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). This page focuses on storage backed by Compute Engine persistent disks.
PersistentVolume resources are used to manage durable storage in a cluster. In
PersistentVolume is typically backed by a persistent
disk. You can also use other storage solutions like NFS.
Filestore is a NFS solution on
Google Cloud. To learn how to set up a Filestore
instance as an NFS PV solution for your GKE clusters, see
Access Filestore instances with the Filestore CSI driver
in the Filestore documentation.
Another storage option is Cloud Volumes Service. This product is a fully managed, cloud-based data storage service that provides advanced data management capabilities and highly scalable performance. For examples, see Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud.
Unlike volumes, the
PersistentVolume lifecycle is managed by Kubernetes. A
be dynamically provisioned; you do not have to manually create and delete the
PersistentVolume resources are cluster resources that exist independently of
This means that the disk and data
represented by a
PersistentVolume continue to exist as the cluster changes and
as Pods are deleted and recreated.
PersistentVolume resources can be
provisioned dynamically through
PersistentVolumeClaims, or they can be
explicitly created by a cluster administrator.
PersistentVolumeClaim is a request for and claim to a
PersistentVolumeClaim objects request a specific size, access mode,
PersistentVolume. If a
PersistentVolume that satisfies the request
exists or can be provisioned, the
PersistentVolumeClaim is bound to that
Pods use claims as volumes. The cluster inspects the claim to find the bound volume and mounts that volume for the Pod.
Portability is another advantage of using
PersistentVolumeClaims. You can easily use the same
across different clusters and environments because
PersistentVolume is an
interface to the actual backing storage.
Volume implementations such as
Compute Engine persistent disk Container Storage Interface (CSI) Driver
are configured through
GKE creates a default
StorageClass for you which uses the
balanced persistent disk type (ext4). The default
StorageClass is used when a
PersistentVolumeClaim doesn't specify a
StorageClassName. You can replace
the provided default
StorageClass with your own. For instructions, see
Change the default StorageClass.
You can create your own
StorageClass resources to describe different classes
of storage. For example, classes might map to quality-of-service levels, or to
backup policies. This concept is sometimes called "profiles" in other storage
If you are using a
cluster with Windows node pools,
you must create a
StorageClass and specify a
StorageClassName in the
PersistentVolumeClaim because the default fstype (ext4) is not supported with
Windows. If you are using a Compute Engine persistent disk, you must use NTFS
as the file storage type.
When defining a
StorageClass, you must list a provisioner.
On GKE, we recommend that you use one of the following provisioners:
Dynamically provision PersistentVolumes
Most of the time, you don't need to directly configure
or create Compute Engine persistent disks. Instead, you can create a
PersistentVolumeClaim and Kubernetes automatically provisions a persistent disk
The following manifest describes a request for a disk with 30 gibibytes (GiB)
of storage whose access mode allows it to be mounted as read-write by a single
node. It also creates a Pod that consumes the
# pvc-pod-demo.yaml apiVersion: v1 kind: PersistentVolumeClaim metadata: name: pvc-demo spec: accessModes: - ReadWriteOnce resources: requests: storage: 30Gi storageClassName: standard-rwo --- kind: Pod apiVersion: v1 metadata: name: pod-demo spec: volumes: - name: pvc-demo-vol persistentVolumeClaim: claimName: pvc-demo containers: - name: pod-demo image: nginx resources: limits: cpu: 10m memory: 80Mi requests: cpu: 10m memory: 80Mi ports: - containerPort: 80 name: "http-server" volumeMounts: - mountPath: "/usr/share/nginx/html" name: pvc-demo-vol
When you create this
PersistentVolumeClaim object with
kubectl apply -f
pvc-pod-demo.yaml, Kubernetes dynamically creates a corresponding
Because the storage class
standard-rwo uses volume binding mode
PersistentVolume will not be created until a Pod is scheduled to consume the volume.
The following example shows the
apiVersion: v1 kind: PersistentVolume metadata: annotations: pv.kubernetes.io/provisioned-by: pd.csi.storage.gke.io finalizers: - kubernetes.io/pv-protection - external-attacher/pd-csi-storage-gke-io name: pvc-c9a44c07-cffa-4cd8-b92b-15bac9a9b984 uid: d52af557-edf5-4f96-8e89-42a3008209e6 spec: accessModes: - ReadWriteOnce capacity: storage: 30Gi claimRef: apiVersion: v1 kind: PersistentVolumeClaim name: pvc-demo namespace: default uid: c9a44c07-cffa-4cd8-b92b-15bac9a9b984 csi: driver: pd.csi.storage.gke.io csi.storage.k8s.io/fstype: ext4 volumeAttributes: storage.kubernetes.io/csiProvisionerIdentity: 1660085000920-8081-pd.csi.storage.gke.io volumeHandle: projects/xxx/zones/us-central1-c/disks/pvc-c9a44c07-cffa-4cd8-b92b-15bac9a9b984 nodeAffinity: required: nodeSelectorTerms: - matchExpressions: - key: topology.gke.io/zone operator: In values: - us-central1-c persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Delete storageClassName: standard-rwo volumeMode: Filesystem status: phase: Bound
Assuming that you haven't replaced the storage class
PersistentVolume is backed by a new, empty Compute Engine
Deleting persistent storage
By default, deleting a PersistentVolumeClaim for dynamically provisioned volumes like Compute Engine persistent disk will delete both the PersistentVolume object and the actual backing disk. This behavior is controlled by the reclaim policy in the StorageClass and PersistentVolume. For full details, see the open-source Kubernetes documentation.
PersistentVolume resources support the following
- ReadWriteOnce: The volume can be mounted as read-write by a single node.
- ReadOnlyMany: The volume can be mounted read-only by many nodes.
- ReadWriteMany: The volume can be mounted as read-write by many nodes.
PersistentVolumeresources that are backed by Compute Engine persistent disks don't support this access mode.
Using Compute Engine persistent disks as ReadOnlyMany
ReadWriteOnce is the most common use case for persistent disks and works as the default access mode for most applications. Compute Engine persistent disks also support ReadOnlyMany mode so that many applications or many replicas of the same application can consume the same disk at the same time. An example use case is serving static content across multiple replicas.
For instructions, refer to Use persistent disks with multiple readers.
Use pre-existing persistent disks as PersistentVolumes
PersistentVolume resources are empty when they are
created. If you have an existing Compute Engine persistent disk populated with
data, you can introduce it to your cluster by manually creating a corresponding
PersistentVolume resource. The persistent disk must be in the same zone
as the cluster nodes.
Deployments vs. StatefulSets
Deployments are designed for
so all replicas of a Deployment share the same
PersistentVolumeClaim. Since the
replica Pods created are identical to each other, only volumes with the
ReadWriteMany mode can work in this setting.
Even Deployments with one replica using ReadWriteOnce volume are not recommended. This is because the default Deployment strategy creates a second Pod before bringing down the first Pod on a recreate. The Deployment may fail in deadlock as the second Pod can't start because the ReadWriteOnce volume is already in use, and the first Pod won't be removed because the second Pod has not yet started. Instead, use a StatefulSet with ReadWriteOnce volumes.
StatefulSets are the recommended method of deploying stateful applications that require a unique volume per replica. By using StatefulSets with PersistentVolumeClaim templates, you can have applications that can scale up automatically with unique PersistentVolumesClaims associated to each replica Pod.
Regional persistent disks
Regional persistent disks are multi-zonal resources that replicate data between two zones in the same region, and can be used similarly to zonal persistent disks. In the event of a zonal outage or if cluster nodes in one zone become unschedulable, Kubernetes can failover workloads using the volume to the other zone. You can use regional persistent disks to build highly available solutions for stateful workloads on GKE. You must ensure that both the primary and failover zones are configured with enough resource capacity to run the workload.
Regional SSD persistent disks are an option for applications such as databases that require both high availability and high performance. For more details, see Block storage performance comparison.
As with zonal persistent disks, regional persistent disks can be dynamically provisioned as needed or manually provisioned in advance by the cluster administrator. To learn how to add regional persistent disks, see Provisioning regional persistent disks.
Zones in persistent disks
Zonal persistent disks are zonal resources and regional persistent disks are multi-zonal resources. When you add persistent storage to your cluster, unless a zone is specified, GKE assigns the disk to a single zone. GKE chooses the zone at random. Once a persistent disk is provisioned, any Pods referencing the disk are scheduled to the same zone as the disk.
Volume binding mode WaitForFirstConsumer
If you dynamically provision a persistent disk in your cluster, we recommend
you set the
volume binding mode
on your StorageClass. This setting instructs Kubernetes to provision a persistent
disk in the same zone that the Pod gets scheduled to. It respects Pod scheduling
constraints such as
and node selectors. Anti-affinity on zones allows StatefulSet Pods to be spread
across zones along with the corresponding disks.
Following is an example
StorageClass for provisioning zonal persistent disks
apiVersion: storage.k8s.io/v1 kind: StorageClass metadata: name: slow provisioner: pd.csi.storage.gke.io parameters: type: pd-balanced csi.storage.k8s.io/fstype: ext4 volumeBindingMode: WaitForFirstConsumer
For an example using regional persistent disks, see Provisioning regional persistent disks.
- Learn about StatefulSets, the recommended method of deploying stateful applications.
- Learn how to deploy a stateful application using a StatefulSet.
- Learn to use persistent disks in a cluster.
- Learn how to create a disk that can be read from multiple nodes.
- Learn how to create persistent disks backed by SSDs.
- Learn how to provision regional persistent disks.