Installation on Debian

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This document briefly describes the steps needed to install OpenVZ on your Debian 7 "Wheezy" machine. For RHEL/Centos 6 based systems, please see Quick installation.

A commercial version of OpenVZ is available, which simplifies installation with a single disk as well as supports networked installation using PXE boot. To learn more about Parallels Cloud Server and request a free trial, please see


This guide assumes you are running Debian 7 "Wheezy" for AMD64 or i686.

/vz file system

It is recommended to use a separate partition for containers (by default /var/lib/vz) and format it to ext4.

apt pre-setup

Yellowpin.svg Note: For more info about Debian repositories, see

Run the following:

cat << EOF > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/openvz-rhel6.list
deb wheezy main
# deb wheezy-test main
Yellowpin.svg Note: The second line with wheezy-test is commented out. This is a testing repo with newer kernels and possibly tools. Enable it if you want to stay on a bleeding edge of technology.

Import GPG key used for signing repository:

apt-key add archive.key

Update the local cache:

apt-get update

Kernel installation

Limited OpenVZ functionality is supported when you run a recent 3.x kernel (check vzctl for upstream kernel), so OpenVZ kernel installation is optional but still highly recommended.

# apt-get install linux-image-openvz-amd64

Or, if you still have i686:

# apt-get install linux-image-openvz-686

System configuration

Please make sure the following steps are performed before rebooting into OpenVZ kernel.


There are a number of kernel parameters that should be set for OpenVZ to work correctly. These parameters are stored in /etc/sysctl.conf file. Here are the relevant portions of the file; please edit accordingly.

# On Hardware Node we generally need
# packet forwarding enabled and proxy arp disabled
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv6.conf.default.forwarding = 1
net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1
net.ipv4.conf.default.proxy_arp = 0

# Enables source route verification
net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter = 1

# Enables the magic-sysrq key
kernel.sysrq = 1

# We do not want all our interfaces to send redirects
net.ipv4.conf.default.send_redirects = 1
net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0

Tools installation

Before installing tools, please read about vzstats and opt-out if you don't want to help the project.

OpenVZ needs some user-level tools installed:

# apt-get install vzctl vzquota ploop vzstats

Reboot into OpenVZ kernel

Now reboot the machine and choose an entry with word "openvz" in the boot loader menu (it should be default choice).

Download OS templates

Yellowpin.svg Note: this step is optional, vzctl is able to download templates on demand.

An OS template is a Linux distribution installed into a container and then packed into a gzipped tarball. Using such a cache, a new container can be created in a minute.

Download precreated template caches from Downloads » Templates » Precreated, or directly from, or from one of the mirrors. Put those tarballs as-is (no unpacking needed) to the /vz/template/cache/ directory.

Next steps

OpenVZ is now set up on your machine. Follow on to basic operations in OpenVZ environment document.