Proxmox in production

Sep 26, 2023
Hello fellow beeks.

I've been playing around with several products (proxmox,esxi,truenas, and even ubuntu with kvm/virt-manager) for a bit now. Now that I'm a little familiar with the different O/S performance and quirks I'm curious if 'outside' of a home use, how many people are actually using Proxmox in a production environment. I manage a small system at work (<20 mostly windows, but mixed vm servers) and it's time (warranty is out on hardware/no support for current environment) to look for another economical solution for the next 5+ years. I know what type of system that I currently have, but since there's not a good way to actually measure (netdata doesn't log externally for historical usage/iops/cpu/mem/etc) my current environment so that I will know if the new box I purchase will be able to handle the current load or environment. I almost have to 'guess' that the same, albeit newer hardware, will perform with the same type of performance. That's a bad assumption, but not knowing how the proxmox system resources work in a production environment - I don't have much of a choice.

A couple of questions for the group:

How many people are actually using Proxmox in their production environment?
How well is it working?
Even tho there are many forums and youtube videos on the proxmox environment, I would still purchase a support contract as this is a 'production' environment. That said, how is the support - for a US based consumer?
Should I also get their 'separate' backup solution to manage backups/snapshots - or stick with what's 'out of the box'?
How do you handle replication - scripted zfs send, rsync, ?? How well does that work?
Any issues with multiple VLAN's ?
I currently, and in the next solution - utilize replication to another box for DR. Currently I do hourly/daily snapshots with replication and test my DR environment quarterly.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be nice to hear.

Thanks in advance.

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Hey, so we've been using Proxmox in our small business since it was at version 3, and now we're on version 8. I don't know a ton about ESXi, but I've seen folks from other places slowly moving away from it and some hopping onto Proxmox.

To be real, Proxmox isn't exactly plug-and-play, and honestly, neither are other systems like it. The basic stuff? Pretty straightforward. But if you're diving deep and tweaking things, you might want someone who really knows their stuff, be it Proxmox support or a Linux guru.

Even though Proxmox is a bit behind ESXi in terms of speed and cool features, I reckon most ESXi users probably don't need all the bells and whistles it offers. And just a heads up, ESXi isn't a breeze to use either; you still need someone who knows their way around.

We're using Proxmox's backup (PBS). Super easy to set up, and backing up and restoring simple as a click of a button.

One big reason we went for Proxmox? It's got this CEPH thing built-in, which is great for network storage. We split our internet into two parts (one super-fast for storage and the other for regular stuff), and it's been smooth sailing. We also have other storage stuff like QNAP and TRUENAS, but those are more for extra space on the side.
Any issues with multiple VLAN's ?
No, I use it even at home. I find it much easier to work as with VMware/Hyper-V, because I know every VLAN we have by heart and just plug in the ID. Others may be better of using named network devices, so the VMware/Hyper-V-way.

Should I also get their 'separate' backup solution to manage backups/snapshots - or stick with what's 'out of the box'?
PBS is great. I'm the author and presenter of the "Speicherplatzoptimierte Backupstrategie" / "storage space optimized backup strategy" (german) talk back in 2017 on the german ProxTalks conference and even we (as we spend a lot of time and money in developing our strategy) changed to PBS, because it does everything we did faster, better, more features and out-of-the-box.

And just a heads up, ESXi isn't a breeze to use either; you still need someone who knows their way around.
YES! I cannot believe why people use VMware at all, it's madness and I saw it broke more than once. Maybe if you're doing just basic stuff, it's ok, but if you go deeper, it's very, very frustating to work with. Their shitty GUI has so many bugs, we only and exclusively use ovftool to manage everything, which works but many VMware "basic" administrations don't know and are unable to do just simple imports. It's really a pity.

How do you handle replication - scripted zfs send, rsync, ?? How well does that work?
For our "satellite" systems, we just do send/receive with our own scripts. That's because we set them up way before there was a PVE-based replication availabe and we use pull instead of push.

How well is it working?
I also tried (over many, many years) almost everything else in this category: Xen variants, VirtualBox (from beginning Innotek, SUN now Oracle), Oracle VM, virt-manager, kvm, VMware variants including desktop, fusion, parallels, Hyper-V variants etc. I feel at home with PVE use it in production in single-host and cluster configurations and never looked back.
For those of you that have, or are using Proxmox in production - have you found that getting a support contract is 'timely' for US-based client, and how much more 'stable' is the 'paid' code instead of the 'free' that you get whenever you just download and start using it?
The no-subscription repo is pretty stable. And if there is a problem and you report it, it will usually be reproduced and fixed the next 1 or 2 business days and a fixed package will roll out immediately.
It's of cause better to use the enterprise repo, so all the no-subscription repo users are "beta" testers running into problems first.
Its: internal testing -> (inofficial edge repo) -> test repo -> no-subscription repo -> enterprise repo

Most problematic are problems that can only be fixed upstream, as then the Proxmox team can not do much.
Most packages are still default Debian and the kernel ist based on Ubuntu LTS. So it's only as stable as Debian...which is pretty conservative and stable.
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When VMware/Dell dropped official support for 12th-gen Dells, I migrated the machines to Proxmox after I flashed the PERCs to IT-mode.

Zero issues.

Only hardware failures are the SAS HDDs but that's easily fixed in ZFS/Ceph.


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