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.

System Requirements

For production servers, high quality server equipment is needed. Keep in mind, if you run 10 Virtual Servers on one machine and you then experience a hardware failure, 10 services are lost. Proxmox VE supports clustering, this means that multiple Proxmox VE installations can be centrally managed thanks to the included cluster functionality.

Proxmox VE can use local storage (DAS), SAN, NAS and also distributed storage (Ceph RBD). For details see chapter storage.

Minimum Requirements, for Evaluation

  • CPU: 64bit (Intel EMT64 or AMD64)

  • Intel VT/AMD-V capable CPU/Mainboard for KVM Full Virtualization support

  • RAM: 1 GB RAM, plus additional RAM used for guests

  • Hard drive

  • One NIC

  • CPU: 64bit (Intel EMT64 or AMD64), Multi core CPU recommended

  • Intel VT/AMD-V capable CPU/Mainboard for KVM Full Virtualization support

  • RAM: 8 GB RAM, plus additional RAM used for guests

  • Hardware RAID with batteries protected write cache (“BBU”) or flash based protection

  • Fast hard drives, best results with 15k rpm SAS, Raid10

  • At least two NICs, depending on the used storage technology you need more

Simple Performance Overview

On an installed Proxmox VE system, you can run the included pveperf script to obtain an overview of the CPU and hard disk performance.

Note this is just a very quick and general benchmark. More detailed tests are recommended, especially regarding the I/O performance of your system.

Supported web browsers for accessing the web interface

To use the web interface you need a modern browser, this includes:

  • Firefox, a release from the current year, or the latest Extended Support Release

  • Chrome, a release from the current year

  • the Microsoft currently supported versions of Internet Explorer (as of 2016, this means IE 11 or IE Edge)

  • the Apple currently supported versions of Safari (as of 2016, this means Safari 9)

If Proxmox VE detects you’re connecting from a mobile device, you will be redirected to a lightweight touch-based UI.

Using the Proxmox VE Installation CD-ROM

You can download the ISO from http://www.proxmox.com. 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 By default, the complete server is used and all existing data is removed.
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.

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.

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)

If you have more than one disk, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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>

Install Proxmox VE on Debian

Proxmox VE ships as a set of Debian packages, so you can install it on top of a normal Debian installation. After configuring the repositories, you need to run:

apt-get update
apt-get install proxmox-ve

Installing on top of an existing Debian installation looks easy, but it presumes that you have correctly installed the base system, and you know how you want to configure and use the local storage. Network configuration is also completely up to you.

In general, this is not trivial, especially when you use LVM or ZFS.

You can find a detailed step by step howto on the wiki.

Install from USB Stick

The Proxmox VE installation media is now a hybrid ISO image, working in two ways:

  • An ISO image file ready to burn on CD

  • A raw sector (IMG) image file ready to directly copy to flash media (USB Stick)

Using USB sticks is faster and more environmental friendly and therefore the recommended way to install Proxmox VE.

Prepare a USB flash drive as install medium

In order to boot the installation media, copy the ISO image to a USB media.

You need at least a 1 GB USB media.

Note Using UNetbootin or Rufus does not work.
Important Make sure that the USB media is not mounted and does not contain any important data.

Instructions for GNU/Linux

You can simply use dd on UNIX like systems. First download the ISO image, then plug in the USB stick. You need to find out what device name gets assigned to the USB stick (see below). Then run:

dd if=proxmox-ve_*.iso of=/dev/XYZ bs=1M
Note Be sure to replace /dev/XYZ with the correct device name.
Caution Be very careful, and do not overwrite the hard disk!

Find Correct USB Device Name

You can compare the last lines of dmesg command before and after the insertion, or use the lsblk command. Open a terminal and run:

 lsblk

Then plug in your USB media and run the command again:

 lsblk

A new device will appear, and this is the USB device you want to use.

Instructions for OSX

Open the terminal (query Terminal in Spotlight).

Convert the .iso file to .img using the convert option of hdiutil for example.

hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o proxmox-ve_*.dmg proxmox-ve_*.iso
Tip OS X tends to put the .dmg ending on the output file automatically.

To get the current list of devices run the command again:

diskutil list

Now insert your USB flash media and run this command again to determine the device node assigned to your flash media (e.g. /dev/diskX).

diskutil list

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX
Note replace X with the disk number from the last command.
sudo dd if=proxmox-ve_*.dmg of=/dev/rdiskN bs=1m

Instructions for Windows

Download Etcher from https://etcher.io , select the ISO and your USB Drive.

If this doesn’t work, alternatively use the OSForensics USB installer from http://www.osforensics.com/portability.html

Boot your server from USB media

Connect your USB media to your server and make sure that the server boots from USB (see server BIOS). Then follow the installation wizard.