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The Lone Geek Blog

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Trying Out Proxmox on My Lab Server

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Yesterday I decided to try something different on my lab server. I just got tired of the limits of ESXI with it’s free license. Was gonna put it on another flash drive but after trying and experiencing the excruciatingly slow install of the Citrix Xenserver onto a flash drive only to be left with no webui to manage it, I ended up putting proxmox on the 1.2TB 4 disk RAID-10 array. Felt faster that way and more reliable.

First impressions

The webui looks nice. I like that it’s built on debian because makes it easier for me to manage. :) I notice it supports LXC containers and that presents some interesting possibilities. Because it’s on debian, I can run docker on the host. VMs, LXC, docker… yes. 24 threads, 64GB of ram, 1.2TB HDD array.

Networking?

Ran into an annoyance with the networking side of things. I tried bridging two of my server’s physical nics for fail-over and was hoping to double it’s bandwidth (just because) but then none of the VMs and containers could connect to the network. I’ve no idea why or how to troubleshoot when the host had no issues connecting to the network. Then there’s the whole needing a reboot to reload the config. I didn’t like that idea, especially once I get a bunch of stuff running on it. I found this post that describes manually setting the network config in /etc/network/interfaces OR configure within the web-ui then copy the new config over the old cp /etc/network/interfaces.new /etc/network/interfaces then bring up and down the changed nics. That’s fine I guess but seems prone to breakage and I’d rather not risk breaking the ssh session to the server. Hopefully that change isn’t needed very often so, keep a monitor handy? idk, we’ll see.

Containers

LXC containers are interesting, they feel kinda like docker in that it’s isolated but weirdly, I can view the processes in the LXC containers from htop on the host. Not sure if that’s normal because I cannot do that with docker containers. Docker, you have your host commands and then everything inside the container is hidden from the host. Only way to look inside is with a docker exec or docker run command to get a shell for top and htop or one-off ps aux or any of the typical linux tools for doing that.

I don’t know much about LXC at the moment, I created a few from templates on the lab server and there’s quite a few templates to choose from. Obviously not the tons and tons of images docker has but still. There’s a good number of templates to play with and probably more on the web somewhere.

Thoughts

I’m not sure I like the idea of proxmox on baremetal, at least not for that machine. Maybe on something smaller. I’m gonna put ESXI back on my lab server and run proxmox in a VM for further testing.

several hours later

Welp, even in a VM the networking for containers seems broken. :/ VMs run but they can’t even get an IP from my router. .-.

one day later

Hmm, a quick inquiry on a facebook group brings up something I overlooked. Allowing promiscuous mode on ESXI’s vSwitch and rebooting proxmox just to be sure, finally allowed the containers to work.

one week later

So since the networking was resolved. I still gotta work out how to get the containers to register their hostnames. I’m not sure why they won’t. seems like they would. idk. I started to just assign static IPs to them for now and looking at some of the turnkey templates it offers. I had to expand the data volume because apparently a 74GB lvm volume gets full pretty fast with a bunch of 8gb volumes for the containers. :) I’m gonna keep proxmox in a VM for now.

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