Installing And Using OpenVZ On Debian Squeeze (AMD64)

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Author: Falko Timme
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Last edited 02/14/2011

In this HowTo I will describe how to prepare a Debian Squeeze server for OpenVZ. With OpenVZ you can create multiple Virtual Private Servers (VPS) on the same hardware, similar to Xen and the Linux Vserver project. OpenVZ is the open-source branch of Virtuozzo, a commercial virtualization solution used by many providers that offer virtual servers. The OpenVZ kernel patch is licensed under the GPL license, and the user-level tools are under the QPL license.

This howto is meant as a practical guide; it does not cover the theoretical backgrounds. They are treated in a lot of other documents in the web.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I want to say that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I'm using an x86_64 (amd64) system here. If you are on an i386 system, a few commands will be slightly different - I have added annotations to that parts.


2 Installing OpenVZ

An OpenVZ kernel and the vzctl, vzquota, and vzdump packages are available in the Debian Squeeze repositories, so we can install them as follows:

apt-get install linux-image-openvz-amd64 vzctl vzquota vzdump

(If you are on a i386 system, the kernel package is named linux-image-openvz-686.)

Create a symlink from /var/lib/vz to /vz to provide backward compatibility:

ln -s /var/lib/vz /vz

Open /etc/sysctl.conf and make sure that you have the following settings in it:

vi /etc/sysctl.conf

net.ipv4.conf.default.proxy_arp = 0
kernel.sysrq = 1
net.ipv4.conf.default.send_redirects = 1
net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0

If you need to modify /etc/sysctl.conf, run

sysctl -p


The following step is important if the IP addresses of your virtual machines are from a different subnet than the host system's IP address. If you don't do this, networking will not work in the virtual machines!

Open /etc/vz/vz.conf and set NEIGHBOUR_DEVS to all:

vi /etc/vz/vz.conf

# Controls which interfaces to send ARP requests and modify APR tables on.

Finally, reboot the system:


If your system reboots without problems, then everything is fine!


uname -r

and your new OpenVZ kernel should show up:

root@server1:~# uname -r

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3 Comment(s)

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From: at: 2011-03-07 15:14:44

When you install on a 32 bit platform you should install linux headers,

you do like this;

apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.32-5-openvz-686

Before you reboot otherwise your new kernel won't boot, and will crash!

From: at: 2011-12-13 14:10:26

Hi, i have a problem whit ethernet cards from virtual stations, all the virtual cards has the mac address from ethernet from the host system.

 What it is wrong? thx.


From: wintel2006 at: 2011-02-17 17:29:17

I started to know openvz in the linux conference 2008, and I were pretty impressed by the features showed on the seminars. At that time I were trying to decide use xen or kvm to set up a cluster coldfusion server in my company, and finally I choose xen;

one of the key reason I choose xen is although openvz looks pretty amazing, the default file system for any guestOS is simfs, which I could not find any information about it. I would like to try that again if openvz support ext3,ext4 or any other common linux file system. (It is good to try the new virtual technology, but it is totally different story if you plan to use it in production environment. Again it is my personal opinion, and I do believe openvz is pretty good)

 By the way, if you do like to try openvz, Proxmox Virtual Environment (Proxmox VE, debian based OS) is a pretty good choice since it support both openvz and kvm, and also a web manager interface.