sidecar pattern
design patterns
Data Synchronization

Leveraging the Kubernetes Sidecar Pattern for Efficient Data Synchronization

by: Jerrish Varghese

March 09, 2023



In the world of Kubernetes, the sidecar pattern has emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing the functionality and resilience of your applications. This pattern involves running a secondary container alongside the primary application container, allowing you to extend the capabilities of your application without modifying its core logic. In this blog post, we'll explore a real-world example of the sidecar pattern, demonstrating how it can be used to synchronize data from an S3 bucket to a shared volume.

The Deployment YAML: Let's dive into a sample deployment.yaml file:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: {{ .Values.app }}
  namespace: {{ .Values.namespace }}
  replicas: {{ .Values.replicaCount }}
      app.kubernetes.io/name: {{ .Values.app }}
    type: RollingUpdate
        app.kubernetes.io/name: {{ .Values.app }}
      - name: {{ .Values.app }}
        image: {{ .Values.image.name }}:{{ .Values.image.tag }}
        imagePullPolicy: {{ .Values.image.pullPolicy }}
        # ... (existing environment variables)
        - name: shared-data
          mountPath: /mnt/els-palms-data
      - name: s3-sync-sidecar
        image: amazon/aws-cli:latest
        command: ["/bin/sh"]
        - "-c"
        - |
          while true; do
            echo 'Syncing S3 bucket...'
            start_time=$(date +%s)
            aws s3 sync s3://${BUCKET_NAME} /mnt/els-palms-data --delete --exact-timestamps
            end_time=$(date +%s)
            duration=$((end_time - start_time))
            sleep_time=$((60 - duration))
            echo "Duration: $duration"
            [ $sleep_time -gt 0 ] && sleep $sleep_time || sleep 0
        - name: BUCKET_NAME
          value: {{ .Values.palms.bucketName }}
        - name: shared-data
          mountPath: /mnt/els-palms-data
      - name: shared-data
        emptyDir: {}
      serviceAccountName: {{ .Values.serviceAccount.name }}

The Sidecar Container:

The key aspect of this deployment.yaml file is the sidecar container named "s3-sync-sidecar". This container is responsible for synchronizing the contents of an S3 bucket to a shared volume mounted at /mnt/els-palms-data.

The sidecar container uses the amazon/aws-cli:latest image, which provides the AWS CLI tools necessary for interacting with the S3 bucket. The container runs a continuous loop that synchronizes the S3 bucket with the shared volume, using the aws s3 sync command. The --delete and --exact-timestamps flags ensure that the local volume reflects the exact state of the S3 bucket.

The sidecar container also includes environment variables, such as BUCKET_NAME, which allows the synchronization process to target the appropriate S3 bucket.

Shared Volume:

The deployment.yaml file also defines a shared volume named "shared-data", which is an emptyDir volume. This volume is mounted to both the primary application container and the sidecar container, allowing them to access the same data.

Benefits of the Sidecar Pattern:

By using the sidecar pattern in this deployment, you can achieve several benefits:

  1. Separation of Concerns: The primary application container can focus on its core functionality, while the sidecar container handles the data synchronization task. This separation of concerns simplifies the application's architecture and makes it easier to maintain and scale.
  2. Reusability: The sidecar container can be reused across multiple deployments, as it encapsulates the logic for synchronizing data from S3 to a shared volume. This promotes code reuse and reduces development effort.
  3. Resilience: If the primary application container experiences issues, the sidecar container can continue to synchronize the data, ensuring that the application has access to the necessary data even during periods of instability.
  4. Flexibility: The sidecar pattern allows you to easily update or replace the data synchronization logic without modifying the primary application. This flexibility is particularly useful when requirements change or new data sources need to be integrated.


In this blog post, we've explored how the Kubernetes sidecar pattern can be leveraged to efficiently synchronize data from an S3 bucket to a shared volume. By using the sidecar pattern, you can separate concerns, promote reusability, enhance resilience, and maintain flexibility in your Kubernetes-based applications. The provided deployment.yaml file serves as a real-world example of this pattern in action, demonstrating how it can be implemented to address data synchronization challenges.

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