Proxmox and virtualized Kubernetes

Proxmox VE is an open source Virtual Machine hypervisor Operating System, built on top of Debian Linux. It has a fully programmable API, can operate as a cluster, and can behave as your own self-hosted mini cloud, for compute and storage. Proxmox excels as an agile research and development environment, making it easy to create new virtual machines, whenever you have new ideas to try, or to automate resources as part of a script. New VMs are auto-configured from cloud-init, pre-provisioning your SSH keys, making it really feel similar to creating a Droplet on DigitalOcean, except that it is all running on your own self-hosted hardware.

Proxmox is also a good choice for certain production roles: if you have a relatively small number of very large computers, Proxmox can help you to “carve out” the larger machines into smaller VMs. It should be stressed however, that if you do run all of your kubernetes nodes on the same physical host, you are not protected from hardware or network failures. Large scale production scenarios will likely be better served by installing a native Kubernetes distribution (K3s) onto multiple bare-metal machines, rather than using Proxmox. However, you can still achieve High Availability with Proxmox by installing several nodes, and forming a cluster.

Yo dawg, you can run Proxmox inside another virtual machine, through nested virtualization. In part one: Virtual Proxmox, you will learn how to install Proxmox on any Linux computer (inside of an existing operating system). Proxmox itself will be running in a KVM virtual machine. (Or you can skip this step and install on real hardware.) On top of Proxmox, you will prepare an Ubuntu VM template, configuring the default VM size (cpu+memory+storage), and adding your SSH keys for cloud-init. You can clone new VMs using the template anytime (and there’s a REST API!), thus setting up your first Virtual Proxmox development cloud. Finally, you will create a small K3s Kubernetes cluster using two or three of these nested Proxmox KVM nodes, and you can use this for your local development environment.

In part four: Containers we discuss Proxmox support for LXC containers, which are a lightweight shared-kernel alternative to virtualized machines. Containers offer quicker start up time and efficient resource utilization. Unlike Docker containers, LXC containers are stateful and run systemd inside, and offer the same lifecycle as if it were a VM.

In part five: KVM and Cloud-Init we use a shell script to generate several KVM virtual machine templates from various distributions, including Arch Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and even FreeBSD (can’t do that one with a container!)

In part six: nftables home LAN router we build a network router for the home LAN inside a KVM virtual machine using PCI passthrough for a four port network interface, and install a nftables firewall, dnsmasq DHCP server, and dnscrypt-proxy DNS server.

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This blog is copyright EnigmaCurry and dual-licensed CC-BY-SA and MIT. The source is on github: enigmacurry/ and PRs are welcome. ❤️

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