Installation

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Proxmox VE is based on Debian and comes with an installation CD-ROM which includes a complete Debian system ("stretch" for version 5.x) as well as all necessary Proxmox VE packages.

The installer just asks you a few questions, then partitions the local disk(s), installs all required packages, and configures the system including a basic network setup. You can get a fully functional system within a few minutes. This is the preferred and recommended installation method.

Alternatively, Proxmox VE can be installed on top of an existing Debian system. This option is only recommended for advanced users since detail knowledge about Proxmox VE is necessary.

Using the Proxmox VE Installation CD-ROM

You can download the ISO from https://www.proxmox.com/en/downloads. It includes the following:

  • Complete operating system (Debian Linux, 64-bit)

  • The Proxmox VE installer, which partitions the hard drive(s) with ext4, ext3, xfs or ZFS and installs the operating system.

  • Proxmox VE kernel (Linux) with LXC and KVM support

  • Complete toolset for administering virtual machines, containers and all necessary resources

  • Web based management interface for using the toolset

Note During the installation process, the complete server is used by default and all existing data is removed.
screenshot/pve-grub-menu.png

Please insert the installation CD-ROM, then boot from that drive. Immediately afterwards you can choose the following menu options:

Install Proxmox VE

Start normal installation.

Tip It is possible to only use the keyboard to progress through the installation wizard. Buttons can be pressed by pressing down the ALT key, combined with the underlined character from the respective Button. For example, ALT + N to press a Next button.
Install Proxmox VE (Debug mode)

Start installation in debug mode. It opens a shell console at several installation steps, so that you can debug things if something goes wrong. Please press CTRL-D to exit those debug consoles and continue installation. This option is mostly for developers and not meant for general use.

Rescue Boot

This option allows you to boot an existing installation. It searches all attached hard disks and, if it finds an existing installation, boots directly into that disk using the existing Linux kernel. This can be useful if there are problems with the boot block (grub), or the BIOS is unable to read the boot block from the disk.

Test Memory

Runs memtest86+. This is useful to check if your memory is functional and error free.

screenshot/pve-select-target-disk.png

You normally select Install Proxmox VE to start the installation. After that you get prompted to select the target hard disk(s). The Options button lets you select the target file system, which defaults to ext4. The installer uses LVM if you select ext3, ext4 or xfs as file system, and offers additional option to restrict LVM space (see below)

You can also use ZFS as file system. ZFS supports several software RAID levels, so this is specially useful if you do not have a hardware RAID controller. The Options button lets you select the ZFS RAID level, and you can choose disks there. Additionally you can set additional options (see below).

screenshot/pve-select-location.png

The next page just ask for basic configuration options like your location, the time zone and keyboard layout. The location is used to select a download server near you to speedup updates. The installer is usually able to auto detect those setting, so you only need to change them in rare situations when auto detection fails, or when you want to use some special keyboard layout not commonly used in your country.

screenshot/pve-set-password.png

You then need to specify an email address and the superuser (root) password. The password must have at least 5 characters, but we highly recommend to use stronger passwords - here are some guidelines:

  • Use a minimum password length of 12 to 14 characters.

  • Include lowercase and uppercase alphabetic characters, numbers and symbols.

  • Avoid character repetition, keyboard patterns, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past) and biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors' names or dates).

It is sometimes necessary to send notification to the system administrator, for example:

  • Information about available package updates.

  • Error messages from periodic CRON jobs.

All those notification mails will be sent to the specified email address.

screenshot/pve-setup-network.png

The last step is the network configuration. Please note that you can use either IPv4 or IPv6 here, but not both. If you want to configure a dual stack node, you can easily do that after installation.

screenshot/pve-installation.png

If you press Next now, installation starts to format disks, and copies packages to the target. Please wait until that is finished, then reboot the server.

Further configuration is done via the Proxmox web interface. Just point your browser to the IP address given during installation (https://youripaddress:8006).

Note Default login is "root" (realm PAM) and the root password is defined during the installation process.

Advanced LVM Configuration Options

The installer creates a Volume Group (VG) called pve, and additional Logical Volumes (LVs) called root, data and swap. The size of those volumes can be controlled with:

hdsize

Defines the total HD size to be used. This way you can save free space on the HD for further partitioning (i.e. for an additional PV and VG on the same hard disk that can be used for LVM storage).

swapsize

Defines the size of the swap volume. The default is the size of the installed memory, minimum 4 GB and maximum 8 GB. The resulting value cannot be greater than hdsize/8.

Note If set to 0, no swap volume will be created.
maxroot

Defines the maximum size of the root volume, which stores the operation system. The maximum limit of the root volume size is hdsize/4.

maxvz

Defines the maximum size of the data volume. The actual size of the data volume is:

datasize = hdsize - rootsize - swapsize - minfree

Where datasize cannot be bigger than maxvz.

Note In case of LVM thin, the data pool will only be created if datasize is bigger than 4GB.
Note If set to 0, no data volume will be created and the storage configuration will be adapted accordingly.
minfree

Defines the amount of free space left in LVM volume group pve. With more than 128GB storage available the default is 16GB, else hdsize/8 will be used.

Note LVM requires free space in the VG for snapshot creation (not required for lvmthin snapshots).

Advanced ZFS Configuration Options

The installer creates a ZFS pool rpool. When selecting ZFS, no swap space is created by default. You can leave some unpartitioned space for swap or create a swap zvol after installation, though the latter can lead to problems (see ZFS swap notes).

ashift

Defines the ashift value for the created pool. The ashift needs to be set at least to the sector-size of the underlying disks (2 to the power of ashift is the sector-size), or any disk, which might be put in the pool (e.g. during replacing a defective disk).

compress

Defines whether compression is enabled for rpool.

checksum

Defines which checksumming algorithm should be used for rpool.

copies

Defines the copies parameter for rpool. Check the zfs(8) manpage for the semantics, and why this does not replace redundancy on disk-level.

hdsize

Defines the total HD size to be used. This way you can save free space on the HD for further partitioning (e.g. for creating a swap-partition).

ZFS Performance Tips

ZFS uses a lot of memory, so it is best to add additional RAM if you want to use ZFS. A good calculation is 4GB plus 1GB RAM for each TB RAW disk space.

ZFS also provides the feature to use a fast SSD drive as write cache. The write cache is called the ZFS Intent Log (ZIL). You can add that after installation using the following command:

zpool add <pool-name> log </dev/path_to_fast_ssd>

Video Tutorials