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Proxmox. Choosing the right virtualisation tool between LXC and VM

Proxmox offers two main virtualisation options: LXC containers and VMs (Virtual Machines). Both allow you to run multiple isolated environments on a single server, but they differ in their approach and ideal use cases. This tutorial will guide you through their key differences to help you decide which one suits your needs best.

Understanding Virtualisation

Virtualisation creates a virtual layer on your physical hardware, allowing you to run multiple operating systems or applications simultaneously. However, they achieve this in distinct ways:

  • LXC (Linux Containers): Lightweight and efficient, LXC containers share the host system’s kernel. They act like isolated processes with their own file systems and resources, but rely on the host’s kernel functionalities.
  • VMs (Virtual Machines): Provide a higher level of isolation by emulating a complete computer system. Each VM has its own virtual hardware (CPU, RAM, storage), and runs its own operating system independent of the host.

Here’s a breakdown of key factors to consider when choosing between LXC and VMs in Proxmox:

1. Resource Efficiency

  • LXC: Wins due to their lightweight nature. They share the kernel, leading to faster startup times and lower resource consumption. This is ideal for running multiple, resource-light applications on a single server.
  • VMs: Require more resources as they emulate entire systems. They are better suited for resource-intensive applications or situations where complete isolation is necessary.

2. Security

  • LXC: Offer a good level of isolation at the process level, but a security breach could potentially affect the host system since they share the kernel.
  • VMs: Provide stronger security as each VM is a separate environment. A compromised VM is less likely to impact the host or other VMs.

3. Operating System Support

  • LXC: Limited to Linux distributions due to their reliance on the host kernel.
  • VMs: Can run almost any operating system (Linux, Windows, macOS) as they emulate the underlying hardware.

4. Hardware Access

  • LXC: Limited direct hardware access.
  • VMs: Offer more flexibility for assigning specific hardware resources (like USB devices) to individual VMs.

5. Use Cases

Ideal for LXC:

  • Running multiple web servers or development environments.
  • Lightweight applications that don’t require full system isolation.
  • Scenarios where maximising resource efficiency is crucial.

Ideal for VMs:

  • Running applications requiring specific operating systems (Windows, macOS).
  • Situations demanding high security isolation.
  • When needing direct hardware access for the virtualised environment.


Proxmox LXC and VMs offer different advantages. LXC shines in resource efficiency and speed, while VMs provide stronger isolation and broader OS support. Consider your specific needs – resource constraints, security requirements, and the type of applications you want to run – to make the best choice for your virtualised environment on Proxmox.


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