Run Proxmox on OCI - FOR FREE

Run Proxmox on OCI - FOR FREE


This article will walk you through the steps that I took to get Proxmox running inside of an OCI instance. Because you cannot VNC directly into an instance that is booting, this will be a great way to run services that may require some sort of connection other than RDP (Windows Server) or SSH.

In my use case, I was looking to deploy a virtual PBX to a cloud environment so all of our locations did not need to rely on our on premises server. You can imagine the chaos when the phone system goes down.

In this method, we are going to be using a custom Debian image to create a boot image on OCI and create a virtual instance. Then, once that is set up we will be manually installing Proxmox.

Step 1: Download Required Files

We need to download the Debian image required first. At the time of writing Proxmox is using Debian 11 (bullseye). Lucky for us Debian provides ready-to-deploy cloud images. The image that you will need can be download directly from them here:

The version that I used was debian-11-genericcloud-amd64-20221205-1220.qcow2. That image can be downloaded directly here:

Step 2: Create OCI Bucket

Next we will need to start getting our image ready for OCI. Once logged into your OCI Dashboard you will need to navigate to Storage -> Buckets. If you don’t already have one, create a new bucket for your custom images by clicking “Create New”. These are the options I used:

Bucket Settings

Step 3: Upload Debian to Bucket

Now that you have a bucket created, we need to click on it to open it up. Once you are in your bucket, scroll down and choose “Upload” under objects.

Upload in Objects

Upload the Debian image from Step 1. You can name it whatever you like.

Step 4: Make Custom Image

With the Debian image uploaded, it is time to convert that to an Oracle Cloud Image. To do this Navigate to Compute -> Custom Images. Once there choose “Import Image”. This is an example of the import settings you should emulate:

Custom Image settings

This will take a few mins to provision.

Step 5: Deploy Custom Image

Now that our Custom Image has been provisioned, we can now create our custom image. Navigate to Compute -> Instances and choose “Create Instance”. On the “Create compute instance” page start off by creating a name for your Proxmox instance. I called mine “Proxmox”.

Name Instance

Then choose your Availability Domain

Choose availability domain

Then When it comes time to choose your Image make sure to choose “Custom Images” and pick the Debian one that we created. Next, choose your shape. You CAN run this on OCI’s “Always Free-eligible” Tier if you’d like.

Choose image and shape

(Important Note Here) If you would like to run this on Ampere, you can do this by using all the previous steps but using the Debian arm64 Image! Next, select all your networking settings. You can make a separate subnet for this Proxmox machine if you’d like but it’s not necessary.

Choose image networking

Finally, make sure to download your SSH Keys. This is what will allow you to SSH into your machine once it’s up and running! Go ahead and Choose “Create” to start up your new Debian image. Wait for OCI to finish provisioning your machine and move on to step 6.

Step 6: Installing Proxmox

Using your instance’s public IP address and the key that you downloaded, SSH into your instance. On Windows I use MobaXterm, regular SSH on macOS or Linux is perfectly fine. From here we will run the required commands in order to prep and install Proxmox.

We Will start by making sure the OS is up-to-date

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Now we begin to install Proxmox manually.

Most of this process can be found on Proxmox’s documentation site here! Make sure to visit that page if you have any issues.

Because this image is set up for a cloud environment, we need to edit the cloud.cfg first. We WILL NOT be adjusting the hosts file directly.

sudo nano /etc/cloud/cloud.cfg

Make sure to set preserve_hostname to true.

preserve_hostname: true

Then below that line add:

hostname: proxmox

Now we need to edit the cloud master file found at /etc/cloud/templates/hosts.debian.tmpl.

sudo nano /etc/cloud/templates/hosts.debian.tmpl

By default, my hosts file looked like this: localhost

I changed it to look like this: proxmox

Then once that is finished you will need to reboot your instance from the OCI dashboard.

Reboot instance

Once the Reboot has finished, SSH back into your instance and verify the change has been made with this command:

hostname --ip-address

Your output should look like this:

Now we need to add the Proxmox VE repo:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-install-repo.list

Then add this line:

deb [arch=amd64] bullseye pve-no-subscription

Add the Proxmox VE repository key as sudo:

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/proxmox-release-bullseye.gpg

Now update and upgrade your instance:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Next we need to install the Proxmox VE kernel:

sudo apt install pve-kernel-5.15

If apt asks if you would like to install the new version of grub, be sure to select “Keep the local version currently installed”. We will be manually updating grub later.
Keep local version

Once the Kernel has finished installing make sure to reboot the system using OCI dashboard.

Reboot instance

Once the system has rebooted, SSH back into your instance and you can Install the Proxmox VE packages.

sudo apt install proxmox-ve postfix open-iscsi

Choose “Local only” for postfix when prompted.
Choose Local only

After all the packages have been installed, it is time to remove the previous Debian Kernel and update Grub:

apt remove linux-image-amd64 'linux-image-5.10*'

Apt will warn you that removing your kernel is bad. Normally this is true, but the Proxmox packages we installed ship with its own Kernel and we will update Grub to use that one in the next step.

Update Grub manually to use the Kernal installed by Proxmox:

sudo update-grub

Verify that os-prober package is NOT installed:

sudo apt remove os-prober

Step 7: Configure Proxmox

To enable us to log into the Proxmox Web UI, we will need to set the root user password.

sudo passwd root

With the root password set, you can now log into your Proxmox Web UI:


The next time that your Proxmox instance reboots, it will apply some network changes that will break your ability for the machine to connect to the internet. There is a chance that this can break any time there is a Kernel update but it is unlikely. Following are the steps to fix this.

In the Proxmox Web UI, go to your machine’s network settings. You will notice it is asking you to create the VM Bridge network since it does not create that by default. We are going to create this network now!

Fill in the sections below to match the Virtual Bridge to you OCI dashboard. Pictured below are my settings:

Create Network bridge adapter

Reboot the instance one more time using the OCI dashboard, NOT THE PROXMOX WEB UI, after these changes have been made. Once the reboot has finished, you will not be able to SSH to the instance OR access the WEB UI.

In the OCI Dashboard, select your Instance and open “Console connection”

Compute → Instances → Instance details → Console connection

Then click on “Launch Cloud Shell Connection”

Launch OCI Cloud Shell connection

It will take a few mins for the console to open, but once it does log in using the “root” user and the password you had created in Step 7.

Once logged in, get your interface names:

ip -br -c addr show

Make note of these. For me I had 3: loens3, and vmbr0. You will notice that both ens3 and vmbr0 are reporting as down.

Example of network interface list

To fix this we will need to edit /etc/network/interfaces:

nano /etc/network/interfaces

And then adjust your file to match this using your network information:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto ens3

iface ens3 inet manual

auto vmbr0
iface vmbr0 inet static
        bridge-ports ens3
        bridge-stp off
        bridge-fd 0

# source-directory /etc/network/interfaces.d
# source-directory /run/network/interfaces.d

Once you have saved your changes we can now up the interfaces.

ifup ens3

ifup vmbr0


After you have upped your interfaces, your Proxmox install is complete and can now be accessed from the Proxmox Web UI and SSH once again. From here you can make any adjustmets to Proxmox from the web UI. Thanks so much for reading!

Thanks for reading!

Written By: Max Kulik