Crafting a Virtual Machine with Proxmox VE

Published:8 November 2022 - 10 min. read

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Leo Castillote

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Are you looking for a hypervisor that does not break the bank? Or are you simply trying to learn about virtual machines (VMs)? Proxmox VE, an open-source (free) hypervisor for cost-efficient and flexible computing, is a must-try!

Proxmox VE lets you set up hosted or bare metal servers and can run different operating systems, including Linux-based and Windows.

Sit tight as you delve into virtualizing machines with Proxmox VE!

Prerequisites

This tutorial will be a hands-on demonstration. To follow along, be sure you have the following:

  • A USB drive for installing Proxmox VE.
  • A dedicated desktop or server computer to install Proxmox VE.
  • A client computer for managing the Proxmox VE server via the GUI – This tutorial uses Windows 10 Pro.
  • An administrator account and a shared folder named installers for storing installation files.
  • An ISO image for the guest OS of your choosing.

Downloading and Installing Proxmox VE

Proxmox VE offers an integrated web-based UI where you can manage VMs and containers. But first things first, you have to download and install Proxmox VE. Downloading Proxmox VE is done in a few steps.

1. Open your preferred web browser, and visit Proxmox’s official download page.

Scroll down a bit to find Proxmox VE ISO installers, then choose and click the Download button to download the latest version.

Downloading the latest version of Proxmox VE
Downloading the latest version of Proxmox VE

2. Next, create a bootable USB drive for the Proxmox VE ISO installer.

3. Plug your bootable USB drive into your Proxmox VE dedicated computer and fire it up.

4. Ensure the Install Proxmox VE option is selected in the installation media, as shown below, and press Enter to install Proxmox VE.

Initiating installing Proxmox VE
Initiating installing Proxmox VE

5. Now, accept the End User License Agreement (EULA) to proceed with the installation.

Accepting the EULA
Accepting the EULA

6. Click Next to proceed with the default options.

Below, the installer detects the target hard disk and assigns ext4 as the file system. But if you wish to select a different file system, click Options, choose your preferred file system, and click Next.

Confirming the target hard disk and file system
Confirming the target hard disk and file system

7. Configure the country, time zone, and keyboard layout, and click Next.

Setting up location, time zone, and keyboard layout
Setting up location, time zone, and keyboard layout

8. Provide, and confirm the following information:

  • A root Password of at least eight characters long, a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You will need the root password to access your Proxmox VE server later.A valid Email address for receiving alerts and notifications from your Proxmox VE server.Click Next to proceed.
Providing a root password and valid email address Providing a root password and valid email address

Providing a root password and valid email address
Providing a root password and valid email address

9. Under Management Network Configuration, click Next since the installer chooses the Management Interface automatically. But you can choose which one to use if you have two or more network interface cards.

The rest of the fields (Hostname, IP address, Gateway, and DNS Server) are automatically populated based on your network configuration.

Setting the network configuration
Setting the network configuration

10. Review the summary information of your selected settings, and click Install to install your Proxmox VE server.

Finalizing the installation
Finalizing the installation

11. Finally, remove the installation media (USB drive) when prompted.

After successful installation, your Proxmox VE server displays the Welcome to the Proxmox Virtual Environment message, as shown below.

Note down the URL below (yours may be different) and keep the server running. You will need this URL later in accessing the Proxmox VE server’s GUI.

Verifying the Proxmox VE server is running
Verifying the Proxmox VE server is running

Accessing the Proxmox VE Server’s GUI

The display on the server side is command based, which is fine if you are primarily working in a terminal. But if you prefer to manage the server effortlessly, you can pull up the Proxmox VE server’s GUI on another computer connected to the same network.

1. On your other computer, open your preferred web browser, and navigate to the URL you noted in the last step of the “Downloading and Installing Proxmox VE” section.

2. On Edge and Chrome, click AdvancedContinue (Edge) or Proceed (Chrome) to continue accessing the URL.

Getting past the privacy error in Edge and Chrome
Getting past the privacy error in Edge and Chrome

On Firefox, click AdvancedAccept the Risk and Continue.

Getting past the security risk in Firefox
Getting past the security risk in Firefox

3. Log in to Proxmox VE with the following:

  • User name – Input root, the default username.Password – Provide the password you set in step eight of the “Downloading and Installing Proxmox VE” section.Tick the Save User name checkbox to save the username for future logins.Click the Login button to log in to Proxmox VE.

Logging in to Proxmox VE
Logging in to Proxmox VE

4. When prompted, click OK, as shown below.

This message only says you do not have a valid subscription, which you do not need for this tutorial.

Acknowledging the lack of valid subscription
Acknowledging the lack of valid subscription

The image below shows a glimpse of the GUI, which confirms you have successfully logged in to Proxmox VE.

Viewing the Proxmox VE GUI
Viewing the Proxmox VE GUI

Creating a Network Storage for the Guest OS ISO Installers

Why let your local storage suffer when you can use network storage instead? The advantage of creating network storage is to save storage space on the local disk on your Proxmox VE server.

1. On your Proxmox VE server GUI, click DatacenterStorageAddSMB/CIFS since the shared folder in this example is created in a Windows 10 computer.

Adding network storage
Adding network storage

2. Next, configure the network storage with the following:

  • ID – The name of the network storage you are creating (must not contain spaces).Server – The IP address of the server or client where your shared folder is located.Username and Password – The administrator account and password on the computer of the shared folder.Share – The folder you shared for your installers.Content – Click the dropdown field and choose Disk Image and ISO image.
Click Add to finish creating the network storage.

Setting up a network storage
Setting up a network storage

Once added, you will see the network storage in the list, as shown below.

Verifying the newly-created network storage
Verifying the newly-created network storage

3. Open File Explorer and copy the ISO image for your guest OS.

4. Lastly, navigate to the shared installers/template/iso folder, and paste the ISO image for installing the guest OS into this directory.

Adding an ISO image
Adding an ISO image

Creating a Local Directory for ISO Images

Perhaps you own a heft storage space and prefer to upload your ISO images to a local directory instead. If yes, let Proxmox VE help you fill up your storage with images.

1. On your Proxmox VE server dashboard, click DatacenterStorageAddDirectory to initiate adding a directory.

Initiating creating a local directory
Initiating creating a local directory

2. Configure the new local directory with the following steps:

  • ID – Input the name of the folder you want to create.Directory – Set your directory path where you like to save ISO images.Content – Set the content designation of the directory to ISO image.Tick the Enable checkbox to enable your directory.
Click Add to finalize creating your directory.

Finishing ISO image directory creation
Finishing ISO image directory creation

3. After creating a directory, expand your node (pve) → select your local directory (local-isos) → click on ISO ImagesUpload to initiate uploading ISO images.

Initiating uploading an ISO image to a local directory
Initiating uploading an ISO image to a local directory

4. Now, click Select File to locate the ISO image you wish to upload and click Upload.

Uploading an ISO image
Uploading an ISO image

Below, you can see the upload progress, which takes time to complete depending on the file size of the ISO image.

Verifying the upload is in progress
Verifying the upload is in progress

Creating a Virtual Machine

Now that you have either network storage or a local directory to source your ISO image, it is time to create a VM.

1. Return to your Proxmox VE server GUI and click Create VM (upper-right) to initiate creating a new VM in Proxmox VE.

Creating a VM
Creating a VM

2. On the General tab, configure the following:

  • Node – Since you only have one, your node is already selected by default.VM ID – The default value for the first VM is 100, but you can change it as you please.Name – The name of the VM you are creating.Tick AdvancedStart at boot, and click Next.

Configuring the new VM’s general information
Configuring the new VM’s general information

3. Under the OS tab, select the Use CD/DVD disc image file (iso) option, and configure the following:

  • Storage – Select your network or local storage.ISO image – Choose the ISO image you wish to install to the VM, in this case, Windows 2019 Evaluation.Type – Select the type of OS to install on your VM. This tutorial’s choice is Microsoft Windows.Version – Pick an OS version to install. But in this example, the version set is 2019.Click Next to continue.

Setting the VM’s OS configuration
Setting the VM’s OS configuration

4. Now, keep or change the populated values in the System tab as you prefer, and click Next.

Suppose you need to establish an information exchange between the VM and the host, tick Qemu Agent (a helper daemon). In addition, if the guest OS requires TPM to run, tick Add TPM, select the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Storage, and choose Version v2.0.

Changing the system configuration
Changing the system configuration

5. Configure the disk for the VM as follows:

  • Bus/Device – Choose the disk’s device type.Storage – Select the location to store your VM.Disk size – Set the disk size of your VM.SSD emulation – Tick this option if you want the disk to imitate an SSD.
Click Next to continue.

To add more disks, click Add at the bottom-left side.

Configuring disks for the VM
Configuring disks for the VM

6. Next, on the CPU screen, indicate the number of sockets and cores to use, and click Next.

Configuring CPU
Configuring CPU

7. Configure the VM’s memory allocation under the Memory tab with the following:

  • Indicate the Maximum allotted memory (in megabytes).Tick the Ballooning Device box, and specify the minimum memory (in megabytes) to make the memory dynamic.
Click Next to continue.

Configuring memory
Configuring memory

8. Change the Model to VirtIO (paravirtualized) on the Network screen, and click Next.

This option makes guest-to-hypervisor transitions more efficient. But note that at the moment, below are the supported types of devices:

Configuring the VM network
Configuring the VM network

9. Review your selections, and click Finish to finalize creating the VM.

Finishing the VM creation
Finishing the VM creation

10. Lastly, expand your PVE node, and click your newly-created VM to display the VM options, as shown below.

Viewing the VM options
Viewing the VM options

Starting a VM and Installing the Guest OS

You have just created your first VM in Proxmox VE. But your VM is empty right now and is not even started yet.

There are three methods to start a VM. The first method is when you tick the Start at boot option during the VM creation. But in this example, you will go through the other two methods.

Start your VM with either of the following:

  • Click Start, and Console at the top, which starts the VM in a separate window.
Starting VM in a separate window
Starting VM in a separate window
  • Or click the Console option (left panel) and click Start Now.
Starting VM via the on-page Console
Starting VM via the on-page Console

If you cannot start the VM for the first time, look for and double-click an error message at the bottom of the Server’s GUI to launch the Task Viewer window with the specific error.

As you can see below, there is a Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) error. Close the Task Viewer window after reading the error.

KVM hardware virtualization is only supported in Linux-based virtual environments. If you are running Proxmox VE inside Hyper-V and possibly other hypervisors, KVM is not supported.

Launching the Task Viewer
Launching the Task Viewer

To address the KVM virtualization error:

  • Navigate to Options (left panel) → select KVM hardware virtualization → click Edit, untick the Enabled box, and click OK. Doing so disables the KVM hardware virtualization if you run Proxmox VE inside Hyper-V or other non-Linux Hypervisors.

If you installed Proxmox VE on a physical machine, refer to your motherboard’s manufacturer on how to enable hardware virtualization in the BIOS/UEFI settings.

  • Once disabled, start the VM again and see if you still get an error.
Resolving the KVM virtualization error
Resolving the KVM virtualization error

Now, install the guest OS on your VM once it starts and boots to the ISO image you selected during the VM creation (i.e., Windows).

You can see below that installing the guest OS inside the VM is similar to how you install an OS on a physical computer.

Installing the guest OS
Installing the guest OS

Conclusion

Congratulations on reaching this far! Throughout this tutorial, you have successfully created and started a VM with Proxmox VE. You have seen how you can install a guest OS on a VM. But are you willing to give Proxmox VE a chance to be part of your workflow?

Explore more of Proxmox VE for on-premises and cloud environments. Provide virtual application resources to multiple users simultaneously!

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