Search icon CANCEL
Cart icon
Close icon
You have no products in your basket yet
Save more on your purchases!
Savings automatically calculated. No voucher code required
Arrow left icon
All Products
Best Sellers
New Releases
Learning Hub
Free Learning
Arrow right icon
Mastering Proxmox, - Third Edition
Mastering Proxmox, - Third Edition

Mastering Proxmox,: Build virtualized environments using the Proxmox VE hypervisor, Third Edition

By Wasim Ahmed
$35.99 $24.99
Book Nov 2017 494 pages 3rd Edition
$35.99 $24.99
$15.99 Monthly
$35.99 $24.99
$15.99 Monthly

What do you get with eBook?

Product feature icon Instant access to your Digital eBook purchase
Product feature icon Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats
Product feature icon Access this title in our online reader with advanced features
Product feature icon DRM FREE - Read whenever, wherever and however you want
Table of content icon View table of contents Preview book icon Preview Book

Mastering Proxmox, - Third Edition

Chapter 1. Understanding Proxmox VE and Advanced Installation

Virtualization, as we all know today, is a decades-old technology that was first implemented in the mainframes of the 1960s. Virtualization was a way to logically divide the mainframe's resources for different application processing. With the rise in energy costs, running under-utilized server hardware is no longer a luxury. Virtualization enables us to do more with less, thus saving energy and money while creating a virtual green data center without geographical boundaries.

A hypervisor is a piece of software, hardware, or firmware that creates and manages virtual machines. It is the underlying platform or foundation that allows a virtual infrastructure to be built. In a way, it is the very building block of all virtualization. A bare metal hypervisor acts as a bridge between physical hardware and the virtual machines by creating an abstraction layer. Because of this unique feature, an entire virtual machine can be moved over a vast distance over the internet and be made available to function exactly the same. A virtual machine does not see the hardware directly; instead, it sees the layer of the hypervisor, which is the same no matter what hardware the hypervisor has been installed on.

The Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE) is a cluster-based hypervisor and one of the best-kept secrets in the virtualization industry. The reason is simple. It allows you to build an enterprise business-class virtual infrastructure at a small business-class price tag without sacrificing stability, performance, and ease of use. Whether it is a massive data center to serve millions of people, or a small educational institution, or a home serving important family members, Proxmox can handle configuration to suit any situation.

If you have picked up this book, you are no doubt familiar with virtualization, and perhaps well versed with other hypervisors, such as VMware, Xen, Hyper-V, and so on. In this chapter and upcoming chapters, we will see the mighty power of Proxmox from the inside out. We will examine scenarios and create a complex virtual environment. We will tackle some heavy day-to-day issues and show resolutions that might just save the day in a production environment. We will also learn how to deploy a highly redundant storage system using Ceph to store virtual machines. So strap yourself in and let's dive into the virtual world with the mighty hypervisor, Proxmox VE.

Understanding Proxmox features

Before we dive in, it is necessary to understand why one should choose Proxmox over the other mainstream hypervisors. Proxmox is not perfect, but stands out among other contenders with its hard-to-beat features. The following are some of the features that make Proxmox a real game changer.

It is free!

Yes, Proxmox is free! To be more accurate, Proxmox has several subscription levels, among which the community edition is completely free. One can simply download the Proxmox ISO at no cost and raise a fully functional cluster without missing a single hypervisor feature and without paying anything. The main difference between the paid and community subscription level is that the paid subscription receives updates, which go through additional testing and refinement. In a production cluster with a real workload, it is highly recommended to purchase a subscription from Proxmox or Proxmox resellers.

Built-in firewall

Proxmox VE comes with a robust firewall ready to be configured out of the box. This firewall can be configured to protect the entire Proxmox cluster down to a virtual machine. The per-VM firewall option gives you the ability to configure each VM individually by creating individualized firewall rules, a prominent feature in a multi-tenant virtual environment. We will learn about this feature in detail in Chapter 9, The Proxmox VE Firewall.

Open vSwitch

Licensed under Apache 2.0, Open vSwitch is a virtual switch designed to work in a multi-server virtual environment. All hypervisors need a bridge between VMs and the outside network. Open vSwitch enhances the features of the standard Linux bridge in an ever-changing virtual environment. Proxmox fully supports Open vSwitch which allows you to create an intricate virtual environment, all the while reducing virtual network management overhead. For details on Open vSwitch, refer to

We will learn about Open vSwitch management in Proxmox in Chapter 8, Network of Virtual Networks.

The graphical user interface

Proxmox comes with a fully functional graphical user interface (GUI) out of the box. The GUI allows an administrator to manage and configure almost all the aspects of a Proxmox cluster. The GUI has been designed keeping simplicity in mind, with functions and features separated into menus for easier navigation. The following screenshot shows an example of the Proxmox GUI dashboard:


We will dissect the Proxmox GUI dashboard in Chapter 2, Creating a Cluster and Exploring the Proxmox GUI.

KVM virtual machines

A Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is a kernel module that is added to Linux for full virtualization to create isolated, fully independent virtual machines. KVMs are not dependent on the host operating system in any way, but they do require the virtualization feature in BIOS to be enabled. A KVM allows a wide variety of operating systems for virtual machines, such as Linux and Windows. Proxmox provides a very stable environment for KVM-based VMs. We will learn how to create KVM VMs and also how to manage them in Chapter 6, KVM Virtual Machines.

Linux containers, or LXC

Introduced in Proxmox VE 4.0, Linux containers, or LXCs, allow multiple Linux instances on the same Linux host. All the containers are dependent on the host Linux operating system and only Linux flavors can be virtualized as containers. There are no containers for the Windows operating system. LXC replaces prior OpenVZ containers, which were the primary containers in the virtualization method in the previous Proxmox versions. If you are not familiar with LXC or want details on it, refer to

We will learn how to create LXC containers and manage them in Chapter 7, LXC Virtual Machines.

Storage plugins

Out of the box, Proxmox VE supports a variety of storage systems to store virtual disk images, ISO templates, backups, and so on. All plugins are quite stable and work great with Proxmox. Being able to choose different storage systems gives an administrator the flexibility to leverage the existing storage in the network. As of Proxmox VE 5.0, the following storage plugins are supported:

  • The local directory mount points
  • LVM
  • LVM thin
  • NFS
  • iSCSI
  • GlusterFS
  • Ceph RADOS Block Devices (RBD)
  • ZFS over iSCSI
  • ZFS

We will learn the usage of different storage systems and the types of files they can store in detail in Chapter 4, Storage Systems.

Vibrant culture

Proxmox has a growing community of users who are always helping others learn Proxmox and troubleshoot various issues. With so many active users around the world, and through active participation of Proxmox developers, the community has now become a culture of its own. Feature requests are continuously being worked on, and the existing features are being strengthened on a regular basis. With so many users supporting Proxmox, it sure is here to stay.


Visit the following link for the official Proxmox forum:

The basic installation of Proxmox

The installation of a Proxmox node is very straightforward. Simply accept the default options, select localization, and enter the network information to install Proxmox VE. We can summarize the installation process in the following steps:

  1. Download the ISO from the official Proxmox site and prepare a disc with the image (
  1. Boot the node with the disc and hit Enter to start the installation from the installation GUI, as shown in the following screenshot:

If an optical drive to use the installation disc is unavailable, we can also install Proxmox from a USB drive.

  1. Progress through the prompts to select options or type in information.
  2. After the installation is complete, access the Proxmox GUI dashboard using the IP address, as https://<proxmox_node_ip>:8006.

In some cases, it may be necessary to open the firewall port to allow access to the GUI over port 8006.

The advanced installation option

Although the basic installation works in all scenarios, there may be times when the advanced installation option is necessary. Only the advanced installation option provides you the ability to customize the main OS drive.

A common practice for the operating system drive is to use a mirror RAID array using a controller interface. This provides drive redundancy if one of the drives fails. This same level of redundancy can also be achieved using a software-based RAID array, such as ZFS. Proxmox now offers options to select ZFS-based arrays for the operating system drive right at the beginning of the installation. For details on ZFS, if you are not familiar, refer to


It is common to ask why one should choose ZFS software RAID over tried-and-tested hardware-based RAID. The simple answer is flexibility. Hardware RAID is locked, or fully dependent, on the hardware RAID controller interface that created the array, whereas ZFS creates software-based RAID which is not dependent on any hardware, and the array can easily be ported to different hardware nodes. Should a RAID controller failure occur, the entire array created from that controller is lost unless there is an identical controller interface available for replacement. The ZFS array is only lost when all the drives or a maximum tolerable number of drives are lost in the array.

Besides ZFS, we can also select other filesystem types, such as ext3, ext4, or xfs, from the same advanced option. We can also set the custom disk or partition sizes through the advanced option. The following screenshot shows the installation interface with the target hard disk selection page:

Click on Options, as shown in the preceding screenshot, to open the advanced options for the hard disk. The following screenshot shows the option window with supported filesystem drop-down menu:

We are going to select the ZFS mirror or RAID1, for the purpose of this book, in order to create a demo cluster from scratch. In the preceding screenshot, we selected zfs (RAID1) for mirroring, and the two drives, Harddisk 0 and Harddisk 1, to install Proxmox. The installer will auto-select the installed disk drive, as shown in the following screenshot:

The Advanced Options include some ZFS performance-related configurations such as compress, checksum, and ashift or alignment shift, as shown in the following screenshot:

For most environments, this configuration can be left as default.

If you are unfamiliar with ZFS advanced tuning, then the following link may be helpful to get some insight on ZFS performance tuning options:

If we pick a filesystem such as EXT3, EXT4, or XFS instead of ZFS, the Harddisk options dialog box will look like the following screenshot, with a different set of options:

Selecting a filesystem gives us the following advanced options:

  • hdsize: This is the total drive size to be used by the Proxmox installation.
  • swapsize: This defines the swap partition size.
  • maxroot: This defines the maximum size to be used by the root partition.
  • minfree: This defines the minimum free space that should remain after the Proxmox installation.
  • maxvz: This defines the maximum size for the data partition. This is usually /var/lib/vz.

From Proxmox VE version 5, we can select the interface that will be used for management. This is very useful when a node has multiple network interfaces and we want to intentionally use a particular interface for cluster management. The following screenshot shows the management network interface selection screen during Proxmox installation:

Debugging the Proxmox installation

Debugging features are part of any good operating system. Proxmox has debugging features that will help you during a failed installation. Some common reasons are unsupported hardware, conflicts between devices, ISO image errors, and so on. Debugging mode logs and displays installation activities in real time. When the standard installation fails, we can start the Proxmox installation in debug mode from the main installation interface, as shown in the following screenshot:

The debug installation mode will drop us in the prompt, as shown in the following screenshot:

To start the installation, we need to press Ctrl + D. If there is an error during the installation, we can simply press Ctrl + C to get back to this console to continue with our investigation. From the console, we can check the installation log using the following command:

# cat /tmp/install.log

At times, it may be necessary to edit the loader information when normal booting does not function. This is a common case when Proxmox is unable to show the video output due to UEFI or a nonsupported resolution. In such cases, the booting process may hang. From the main installation menu, we can press E to enter edit mode to change the loader information, as shown in the following screenshot:

One way to continue with booting is to add the nomodeset argument by editing the loader. The loader should look as follows after the edit:

linux/boot/linux26 ro ramdisk_size=16777216 rw quiet nomodeset

Proxmox subscription and repositories

Proxmox itself is completely free to download and deploy without any cost. But a subscription offers an added level of stability to any node used in a production environment. Both free and subscribed versions have separate repositories and receive updates differently. 

Updates or packages released through the subscribed or Enterprise repository go through additional testing and debugging before they are released. This is not to say the updates or packages in the free repository are full of bugs and are released without testing. All Proxmox patches, updates, and packages are taken through the complete development cycle, including testing, before they are released. But Enterprise packages go through much more comprehensive debugging and testing. This level of tests is mandatory for an enterprise-class network environment where a small issue can cost a company a lot of money. A highly stable environment is usually not needed in a home-based platform or small business environment. The subscription menu allows you to activate a purchased subscription on a node. So from a stability point of view, the enterprise version is without a doubt the best choice for any production environment cluster. The price of an enterprise subscription varies depending on the level of Proxmox support provided through tickets, portal, and phone.

Free repository users can only reach out for support through the official Proxmox forum. Proxmox developers quite often lend their expertise to address issues posted on the forum by users. There is no portal or ticket system available for free users. Since this is a free community forum, some issues may not get answered in time.


Even with the free version, Proxmox is still very stable. Do not let the subscription level fool you into thinking that the free version is not even worth considering.

Both free and enterprise versions can be mixed in the same environment. For example, some critical nodes actively serving users can be on the enterprise version, while any non-critical nodes, such as nodes used for testing, backup, and so on, can be on the free version. Upon logging in through the free non-subscription Proxmox node through the GUI, we will be presented with the following notification:

There are three package repositories for Proxmox:

  • Proxmox VE Enterprise repository
  • Proxmox VE No-Subscription or Free repository
  • Proxmox VE Test repository

Proxmox VE Enterprise repository

As the name suggests, this repository is for nodes with paid subscriptions. By default, the Enterprise Repository is enabled in Proxmox. The repository information is in the file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-enterprise.list. We can disable the Enterprise Repository by simply commenting it out with the # symbol in the following line:

deb jessie pve-enterprise

When disabling the Enterprise Repository, the No-Subscription Repository must be enabled in order to receive updates, patches, and packages. If you're using the Enterprise Repository on a mission-critical node and a subscription has been purchased, the subscription key can be uploaded through the Proxmox GUI by clicking on the Upload Subscription Key button under the Node | Subscription menu, as shown in the following figure:

Copy and paste the subscription key and then click on OK. Proxmox will automatically check the validity of the key and activate the subscription for the node. A fully subscribed node appears similarly to the following screenshot, under subscriptions in the GUI:

Let's look at the details provided through the Subscription page. 


This shows the name of the Proxmox subscription level. There are four levels of subscription available: Community, Basic, Standard, and Premium. The higher the level, the more support add-ons are included.

Subscription key

This is the alphanumeric subscription key the customer receives after purchasing any subscription. The key is formatted in two parts: pveXx-XXXXXXXXXX. The first portion of the key indicates which level of subscription this key belongs to and for how many server sockets. For example, in the previous screenshot, the subscription key is for a Community-level subscription for a server with two sockets. If this were the Premium-level subscription for a server with four sockets, the key would appear as pve4p-XXXXXXXX.

All letters and numbers after the - are unique to each key and should not be shared with unauthorized personnel or made public. 


This shows the current status of the subscription key. 

Server ID

This uniquely generated ID belongs to one node only. When a subscription key is activated on a particular server, the key gets associated with this unique ID. When a node needs to be reinstalled without any hardware changes in it, the key can be reapplied to the server without being reissued or reactivated. But if the key is to be applied to other server hardware or if any major component (such as the CPU, motherboard, or memory) in the server has been changed, then a new unique ID will be generated. In that case, the key will need to be reissued or reactivated. This reissuing can be done by the user on the Proxmox customer site or by the authorized reseller from whom the subscription key has been purchased. 


This shows the physical CPU socket count of the server node. 

Last checked

This shows the date and time of the last key validation check performed automatically by the node or manually by the user. 

Next due date

This shows the expiration date of the subscription key, by which the key needs to be renewed. If the key is not renewed and expires, the Proxmox node will still continue to function properly. But it will not receive any updates from the Enterprise Repository.

Proxmox VE No-Subscription repository

This repository includes updates and packages free of cost. If using this repository, changes must be made to activate it. After disabling the Enterprise Repository, by following the instructions in the previous section, add the following line to the file /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb jessie pve-no-subscription

Proxmox VE Test repository

This repository largely contains packages for testing purposes only. It is mainly used by Proxmox developers to test new packages and allow interested users to test them as well. Under no circumstances should this repository be used in a production environment. To enable this repository, add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb jessie pvetest


Proxmox has the very best prices per subscription in the virtualization product industry. The operating cost of a Proxmox cluster is minimal as compared to a giant virtual product, such as VMWare. Proxmox provides big-business virtualization at a small-business cost. For details of different subscription levels, refer to


In this chapter, we looked at why Proxmox is a better option as a hypervisor, what advanced installation options are available during an installation, and why we choose software RAID for the operating system drive. We also looked at different subscription levels and their benefits. We learned about the presence of the debugging features to investigate when an installation does not proceed as usual.

In next chapter, we will take a closer look at the Proxmox GUI and see how easy it is to centrally manage a Proxmox cluster from a web browser.


Left arrow icon Right arrow icon

Key benefits

  • -Formulate Proxmox-based solutions and set up virtual machines of any size while gaining expertise even on the most complex multi-cluster setups
  • -Master the skills needed to analyze, monitor, and troubleshoot real-world virtual environments
  • -This is the most up-to-date title on mastering Proxmox, with examples based on the new Linux Kernel 4.10.15 and Debian Stretch (9.x)


Proxmox is an open source server virtualization solution that has enterprise-class features for managing virtual machines, for storage, and to virtualize both Linux and Windows application workloads. You'll begin with a refresher on the advanced installation features and the Proxmox GUI to familiarize yourself with the Proxmox VE hypervisor. Then, you'll move on to explore Proxmox under the hood, focusing on storage systems, such as Ceph, used with Proxmox. Moving on, you'll learn to manage KVM virtual machines, deploy Linux containers fast, and see how networking is handled in Proxmox. You'll also learn how to protect a cluster or a VM with a firewall and explore the new high availability features introduced in Proxmox VE 5.0. Next, you'll dive deeper into the backup/restore strategy and see how to properly update and upgrade a Proxmox node. Later, you'll learn how to monitor a Proxmox cluster and all of its components using Zabbix. Finally, you'll discover how to recover Promox from disaster strikes through some real-world examples. By the end of the book, you'll be an expert at making Proxmox work in production environments with minimal downtime.

What you will learn

• Install basic Proxmox VE nodes and get to know the Proxmox GUI • Get to know Proxmox s internal structure and mechanics • Create and manage KVM or LXC-based virtual machines • Understand advanced virtual networks • Configure high availability Proxmox nodes • Integrate Ceph big data storage with the Proxmox hypervisor • Plan a large virtual environment for cloud-based services • Discover real-world scenarios for Proxmox troubleshooting

Product Details

Country selected

Publication date : Nov 16, 2017
Length 494 pages
Edition : 3rd Edition
Language : English
ISBN-13 : 9781788397605
Vendor :

What do you get with eBook?

Product feature icon Instant access to your Digital eBook purchase
Product feature icon Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats
Product feature icon Access this title in our online reader with advanced features
Product feature icon DRM FREE - Read whenever, wherever and however you want

Product Details

Publication date : Nov 16, 2017
Length 494 pages
Edition : 3rd Edition
Language : English
ISBN-13 : 9781788397605
Vendor :

Table of Contents

23 Chapters
Title Page Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
Credits Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
About the Author Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
About the Reviewers Chevron down icon Chevron up icon Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
Customer Feedback Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
Preface Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
1. Understanding Proxmox VE and Advanced Installation Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
2. Creating a Cluster and Exploring the Proxmox GUI Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
3. Proxmox under the Hood Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
4. Storage Systems Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
5. Installing and Configuring Ceph Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
6. KVM Virtual Machines Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
7. LXC Virtual Machines Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
8. Network of Virtual Networks Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
9. The Proxmox VE Firewall Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
10. Proxmox High Availability Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
11. Monitoring the Proxmox Cluster Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
12. Proxmox Production-Level Setup Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
13. Back Up and Restore Virtual Machines Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
14. Updating/Upgrading Proxmox Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
15. Proxmox Troubleshooting Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
16. Rescuing Proxmox Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Customer reviews

Top Reviews
Rating distribution
Empty star icon Empty star icon Empty star icon Empty star icon Empty star icon 0
(0 Ratings)
5 star 0%
4 star 0%
3 star 0%
2 star 0%
1 star 0%
Top Reviews
No reviews found
Get free access to Packt library with over 7500+ books and video courses for 7 days!
Start Free Trial


How do I buy and download an eBook? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Where there is an eBook version of a title available, you can buy it from the book details for that title. Add either the standalone eBook or the eBook and print book bundle to your shopping cart. Your eBook will show in your cart as a product on its own. After completing checkout and payment in the normal way, you will receive your receipt on the screen containing a link to a personalised PDF download file. This link will remain active for 30 days. You can download backup copies of the file by logging in to your account at any time.

If you already have Adobe reader installed, then clicking on the link will download and open the PDF file directly. If you don't, then save the PDF file on your machine and download the Reader to view it.

Please Note: Packt eBooks are non-returnable and non-refundable.

Packt eBook and Licensing When you buy an eBook from Packt Publishing, completing your purchase means you accept the terms of our licence agreement. Please read the full text of the agreement. In it we have tried to balance the need for the ebook to be usable for you the reader with our needs to protect the rights of us as Publishers and of our authors. In summary, the agreement says:

  • You may make copies of your eBook for your own use onto any machine
  • You may not pass copies of the eBook on to anyone else
How can I make a purchase on your website? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

If you want to purchase a video course, eBook or Bundle (Print+eBook) please follow below steps:

  1. Register on our website using your email address and the password.
  2. Search for the title by name or ISBN using the search option.
  3. Select the title you want to purchase.
  4. Choose the format you wish to purchase the title in; if you order the Print Book, you get a free eBook copy of the same title. 
  5. Proceed with the checkout process (payment to be made using Credit Card, Debit Cart, or PayPal)
Where can I access support around an eBook? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
  • If you experience a problem with using or installing Adobe Reader, the contact Adobe directly.
  • To view the errata for the book, see and view the pages for the title you have.
  • To view your account details or to download a new copy of the book go to
  • To contact us directly if a problem is not resolved, use
What eBook formats do Packt support? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Our eBooks are currently available in a variety of formats such as PDF and ePubs. In the future, this may well change with trends and development in technology, but please note that our PDFs are not Adobe eBook Reader format, which has greater restrictions on security.

You will need to use Adobe Reader v9 or later in order to read Packt's PDF eBooks.

What are the benefits of eBooks? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
  • You can get the information you need immediately
  • You can easily take them with you on a laptop
  • You can download them an unlimited number of times
  • You can print them out
  • They are copy-paste enabled
  • They are searchable
  • There is no password protection
  • They are lower price than print
  • They save resources and space
What is an eBook? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Packt eBooks are a complete electronic version of the print edition, available in PDF and ePub formats. Every piece of content down to the page numbering is the same. Because we save the costs of printing and shipping the book to you, we are able to offer eBooks at a lower cost than print editions.

When you have purchased an eBook, simply login to your account and click on the link in Your Download Area. We recommend you saving the file to your hard drive before opening it.

For optimal viewing of our eBooks, we recommend you download and install the free Adobe Reader version 9.