Proxmox container vs vm

Setting up a server can sometimes feel like navigating through a maze, especially when faced with the containers vs. VMs dilemma. Are you struggling to decide between Proxmox Containers and VMs for your server setup? You’re not alone. Going down this road and pairing that journey with thorough research on the Proxmox platform, I’ve gained some clarity that might be the beacon you need in your setup endeavors.

Have you ever wondered why some experts swear by Proxmox Containers while others prefer VMs? Join me as I reveal some lesser-known advantages of each option and help you make an informed decision. My upcoming post dives into Proxmox Containers and Virtual Machines, teasing out their differences, highlighting their strengths, and pinpointing when each one shines brightest.

Understanding Proxmox Containers (LXC)

In my journey through the virtualization landscape, I’ve come to appreciate the sheer elegance of Proxmox Containers (LXC). These containers offer a lightweight approach to running multiple isolated Linux systems on a single host, making them an ingenious solution for efficient resource management.

A container is based on a template

What is a template for a Container?

Templates in Proxmox are pre-configured images of operating systems designed to streamline the deployment of containers. They provide a base structure and essential files for running a specific OS within a container, ensuring efficiency and consistency in the container setup process. Proxmox has various pre-configured templates for different Linux distributions, allowing for quick and easy container deployment.

Beyond these provided options, Proxmox also allows users to create custom templates. It is done by setting up and configuring a container to meet specific needs and preferences and then converting this fully configured container into a template. This custom template can then be used to deploy new containers, inheriting all the unique configurations and settings of the original.

This feature is handy for standardizing configurations across multiple containers, ensuring a consistent environment for each deployment.

How Disk Works in a Proxmox Container

In Proxmox, managing storage for containers involves a straightforward yet powerful approach. Each container starts with a primary disk, hosting the root filesystem that includes the operating system and key configuration files. But Proxmox’s flexibility shines when you need additional storage.

Adding an extra disk to a Proxmox container doesn’t require pre-existing space in the root filesystem. Instead, this additional disk is a separate entity, akin to attaching a new hard drive to a computer. During setup, you choose a mount point within your container’s filesystem – a specific directory where this new disk will be accessible. This mount point is a gateway to the added storage, functioning independently of the container’s primary disk.

This method of adding and mounting disks offers a neat way to expand a container’s storage capabilities. It allows for better organization and management of data, potentially improving overall performance. Whether for different applications or data types, additional disks in Proxmox containers provide a flexible solution to meet diverse storage needs.

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Setting up a Proxmox Container

I’m about to walk you through setting up a Proxmox Container, which is surprisingly straightforward. You’ll harness all the efficiency and agility LXC containers offer with the proper steps. Here’s how I do it:

  • First, I launch Proxmox VE and log in to the web-based interface using my credentials.
Proxmox GUI
  • I navigate to the “Local” storage on the left-hand side panel where templates are stored or downloaded.
Proxmox download a container template
  • From there, I click “Templates” and then select “Download templates” to pull a suitable LXC template from the available options.
  • Choosing a template depends on my needs; for instance, if I need an Ubuntu 20.04 server, I’ll pick that specific one.
Proxmox Container download a template

Once downloaded, I click “Create CT” at the interface’s top right corner to start with configuration.

Proxmox create a new container
  • A new window prompts me for essential details such as hostname, password, and resource allocation like CPU cores and memory.
  • Network settings are essential; they require configuring IP addresses or DHCP settings to ensure my container communicates effectively with other systems.
  • Next comes disk options, where I allocate virtual disk space by selecting storage locations and defining sizes based on my application requirements.
  • After confirming all configurations are correct, I hit “Finish” – this initiates the container’s creation process on my physical host machine.
  • It doesn’t take long before it’s up and running – from here, starting or stopping is just a matter of clicks within Proxmox VE’s interface.

Here is a short video on how to create a Container (LXC)

The Advantages of Proxmox Containers

When we dive into Proxmox Containers, it’s like uncovering a hidden gem regarding efficiency and speed. These containers stand out with their lightweight footprint and rapid deployment capabilities. They offer an appealing alternative to traditional virtualization methods—a powerful tool for tech enthusiasts looking to optimize their system’s performance.

Resource Efficiency

I’ve discovered that Proxmox Containers are a game changer in terms of squeezing every last bit of power from your hardware. Instead of gobbling up resources by running a full-blown operating system for each instance, these containers neatly pack themselves into the available space.

They share the host’s kernel, reducing overhead and allowing additional services to run.

With faster startup times than traditional VMs, I can rapidly deploy applications or scale services without waiting for lengthy boot sequences. Consider it like this: getting a web server or database online with an LXC container feels almost instant—a clear win for productivity and efficiency.

And since each container operates independently, there’s no need to worry about one affecting another, making them resource-efficient and reliably isolated.

Does running apt-get upgrade inside a Proxmox container also update the original template used to create that container?

No, running apt-get upgrade in a Proxmox container does not update the original template. This command only updates the container itself, as each container operates independently with its own filesystem, separate from the template it originated from.

Exploring Proxmox Virtual Machines (VMs)

Diving into Proxmox Virtual Machines, we find a world where full-fledged OS environments are encapsulated, offering robust isolation and hardware emulation. This sandboxed approach is ideal for scenarios that demand an independent operating system, free from the constraints of shared kernel dependencies.

Proxmox virtual machines

Setting Up a Virtual Machine in Proxmox

Creating a Virtual Machine (VM) in Proxmox is a straightforward process. I make sure to carefully follow the steps so I can have my VM up and running without any hiccups. Here’s how I do it:

  • First, I select the storage location for the VM files. Proxmox supports various types of storage, so I picked one that best suited my needs.
  • Next, I download the appropriate template or ISO image for the operating system running on my virtual machine.
  • Once that’s done, it’s time to create the new virtual machine by clicking ‘Create VM’ in the Proxmox user interface.
Proxmox set up a vm
  • After creation, I configure various settings like CPU cores, memory allocation, and disk size depending on what’s needed for optimal performance.
  • Network settings are essential, too; here, I assign network interfaces and VLAN tags if necessary.
  • Security is critical; therefore, I set up encryption and other security options to protect my VM.
  • Now, it’s time to confirm all the settings. A final review ensures everything is correctly set before proceeding.
Proxmox summary new VM
  • With all configurations double-checked, I click ‘Finish’ to deploy my new virtual machine.

The Advantages of Proxmox VMs

Diving into Proxmox VMs, one finds a world where full-fledged operating systems hum in seclusion, each within their virtual hardware realm. These encapsulated environments promise more than isolation; they emulate intricate hardware dynamics that cater to diverse and complex workloads with robust agility.

Full OS Isolation

One key advantage I appreciate about Proxmox VMs is their complete OS isolation. It means each virtual machine operates with its entire instance of an operating system, separate from the host and other VMs.

It’s almost like having multiple computers packed into one physical machine.

The beauty here lies in this separation; it allows you to run different operating systems side by side or even different versions of the same OS without any conflict. And because they’re isolated, security issues in one VM won’t spill over to others—crucial for maintaining system integrity and uptime.

With that in mind, let’s explore how hardware emulation plays a role in virtualization efficiency.

Hardware Emulation

While ensuring each virtual machine operates independently is pivotal, we must also address the complexity of hardware emulation. Proxmox VMs emulate a complete set of hardware, creating an entirely isolated environment for each operating system.

This process requires the hypervisor to mimic every piece of physical equipment that a typical OS would interact with—from CPUs and hard drives to network interfaces.

This approach means more than duplicating software environments; it’s about crafting a fully functional digital replica of computer components. It introduces more overhead than containers since running multiple virtual machines demands hefty computations and resources to simulate real hardware.

Despite this cost, emulation provides unmatched compatibility and flexibility for various operating systems, allowing them to run as if they were on their dedicated machine.

Comparing Proxmox Containers vs VM

To begin with Here’s a comparison table outlining the pros and cons of Proxmox Containers (LXC) versus Proxmox Virtual Machines (VMs):

Proxmox Containers (LXC)Proxmox Virtual Machines (VM)
Higher (shared kernel, less overhead)Lower (dedicated kernel, more overhead)
Faster boot times, generally better performance for lightweight applicationsSlower boot times, can handle more resource-intensive applications
Less isolated compared to VMs (shares the host kernel)Full isolation (separate kernel and OS instance)
Limited to Linux-based systems, but highly efficient for theseSupports various OS types, including non-Linux systems
Lower overhead due to shared kernel and fewer virtualized hardware componentsHigher overhead due to full hardware and OS virtualization
Ideal for running multiple lightweight and scalable applications, good for microservicesBetter for applications requiring full isolation, resource-intensive tasks, and non-Linux systems

The comparison between Proxmox containers and virtual machines reveals vital contrasts in their architecture and functionality. This exploration will illuminate which technology aligns best with specific workloads, offering insights to inform your choice for optimal results.


I’ve run my performance tests on Proxmox Containers and Virtual Machines to see which holds up under pressure. The results are eye-opening: containers start up blazingly fast and can handle a much higher density of applications than VMs.

It’s clear that when it comes to getting the most out of your system resources, LXC containers have a significant edge.

Let me tell you, nothing beats the efficiency gains from using Proxmox’s container technology. Less overhead means more power for running your applications, and who doesn’t want that? Plus, with quicker deployment times, you’re looking at a better performance where it counts.

If squeezing every potential from your server hardware matters to you (and I know it does), then embracing LXC in Proxmox could be a game-changer for your setups.

Resource allocation

From the performance discussion, let’s dive into how Proxmox tackles resource allocation for containers and virtual machines. Managing resources effectively is critical to keeping systems running smoothly and efficiently.

Containers in Proxmox are a game changer because they require less horsepower than full-blown VMs. They don’t need an entire operating system; instead, they cleverly share the host system’s kernel, frees up valuable resources that can be allocated elsewhere.

On the flip side, setting up a virtual machine in Proxmox means preparing to allocate more of your server’s power – we’re talking CPU cores, RAM, disk space – you name it. Each VM acts like a separate computer with its own full OS copy and hardware emulation layer.

This approach impacts resource availability but offers benefits like complete isolation and robust simulations of hardware environments. 

Whatever your choice—containers or VMs—Proxmox provides efficient tools for managing these resources seamlessly so you can optimize usage based on your specific needs without breaking a sweat.

Regarding running isolated applications or services like mail servers, Proxmox Containers allows us more freedom with less strain on our hardware resources.


What’s the main difference between Proxmox containers and VMs?

Proxmox containers, like LXC (Linux Containers), share the same kernel but keep applications isolated. VMs, such as those from VMware or VirtualBox, run a full copy of an operating system with kernel modifications.

Why might someone choose to use a container over a VM in Proxmox?

Containers running on Proxmox perform better than virtual machines because they have less system overhead. They’re ideal for when you need to run multiple instances that require available resources like CPU and memory more efficiently.

Can Docker be used with Proxmox, and what are its benefits?

You can run Docker in a VM on Proxmox VE (Virtual Environment). Using Docker allows for application isolation and easy deployment of apps across different environments without worrying about underlying platform differences.

Are there security implications when using containers vs VMs?

While both have robust security measures, unprivileged Linux Containers reduce risk by not granting root access within the container, unlike privileged LXC or some Virtual Machines, which might offer broader access rights.

How does downtime compare when updating systems or applications in containers versus VMs?

Updating software in containers typically results in less downtime since only the specific container needs to restart rather than the entire virtual machine environment, which requires halting all processes running within it.

Can I get commercial support for using either technology with Proxmox?

Yes! You can find commercial support options through sources like the Proxmox Support Forum, whether you use LXCs or more traditional KVM-based virtualization technologies for your infrastructure solutions.

I would love to get some feedback from you. Was this article helpful? Please share your opinion with me in the comment section below. Or, if you prefer a more personal touch, feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. Your thoughts and insights are always appreciated.

Before you go …

If you found comparing Proxmox containers and VMs insightful, you might be interested in delving deeper into the Proxmox environment. I recommend checking out this detailed exploration of Proxmox filesystems. This article will enhance your understanding of the underlying storage systems in Proxmox, which are crucial for optimizing performance and reliability in your virtualization setup. It’s an excellent read for tech enthusiasts looking to deepen their Proxmox knowledge.


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