Move a Hub across clusters

Moving hubs between clusters is possible, but requires manual steps to ensure data is preserved.

Setup a new hub

Setup a new hub in the target cluster, mimicking the config of the old hub as much as possible.

Copy home directories

Next, copy home directory contents from the old cluster to the new cluster.


This might not entirely be necessary - if the source and target cluster are in the same GCP Project / AWS Account, we can just re-use the same home directory storage!

NFS Servers

Primarily used with GKE right now.

  1. In the target NFS server, create a new ssh key-pair, with ssh-keygen -f nfs-transfer-key

  2. Copy the public key to the source NFS server’s /home/ubuntu/.ssh/authorized_keys, so the target NFS server can scp from the source NFS server.

  3. Copy the NFS home directories from the source NFS server to the target NFS server, making sure that the NFS exports locations match up appopriately. For example, if the source NFS server has home directories for each hub stored in /export/home-01/homes, and the target NFS server also has hub home directories stored under /export/home-01/homes, you can scp the contents across with:

    su ubuntu
    scp -p -r -i nfs-transfer-key ubuntu@nfs-source-server-public-IP:/export/home-01/homes/<hub-name> /export/home-01/homes/<hub-name>

    This makes sure the target is owned by the ubuntu user, which has uid 1000. Our user pods run as uid 1000, so this makes sure they can mount their home directories.


AWS DataSync (docs) can copy files between EFS volumes in an AWS account. The [quickstart] Once the source & dest EFS instances are created, create a DataSync instance in the the VPC, Subnet and Security Group that have access to the EFS instance (you can find these details in the ‘Network’ tab of the EFS page in the AWS Console). Set the transfer to hourly, but immediately manually start the sync task. Once the data is transfered over and verified, switch the EFS used in the hub config. Remember to delete the datasync instance soon after - or it might incur extra charges!


If you need to modify the directory structure on the EFS instance, use the ssh key provided to kops or eksctl during cluster creation to ssh into any worker node. Then mount the EFS instance manually and do your modifications. This prevents needing to create another EC2 instance just for this.

Transfer DB

Copy /srv/jupyterhub/jupyterhub.sqlite file from old hub pod to new hub’s. This preserves user information, since they might be added via the admin UI. The kubectl cp command might be used here, to copy jupyterhub.sqlite file from old hub pod to your local machine, and then to the new hub.

Transfer DNS

Move DNS from old cluster to new cluster, thus completing the move.