In today’s rapidly evolving IT landscape, choosing the right virtualization technology is crucial for optimizing performance, resource utilization, and manageability. Proxmox VE, a powerful and versatile open-source virtualization platform, offers both containers and virtual machines (VMs) to meet diverse needs. However, the decision between using containers or VMs in your Proxmox environment is not always straightforward. It requires careful consideration of your hardware resources, application requirements, and the specific advantages each technology offers.

In this blog post, we will guide you through the key factors to consider when deciding between containers and VMs for your Proxmox VE setup, helping you make an informed choice that aligns with your operational goals. If you missed the previous posts of the Proxmox VE 8.x series, you can find them here:

  1. Introduction to Proxmox VE 8.1
  2. Installing Proxmox VE 8.1 on VMware Workstation 17
  3. Proxmox VE 8.1: Overview of Web Console

If you want to learn more about Proxmox VE, Proxmox VE 8: A Comprehensive Virtualization Course 2024 will help you understand it and completely walk through the product.

Assess Your Hardware Resources

Assess Hardware Resources in proxmox ve 8.1

When deciding between containers and VMs in your Proxmox environment, the first step is to evaluate the hardware resources available on your host server. The amount of RAM you have on your system can be a significant factor in determining the best approach.

If you have a resource-constrained server, such as one with only 4GB of RAM, running multiple VMs may not be feasible, as each VM typically requires at least 1GB of RAM. In this case, using containers can be a more efficient solution, as they generally consume fewer resources than VMs.

On the other hand, if you have ample hardware resources, like 128GB of RAM, you have more flexibility in choosing between VMs and containers. In such cases, the decision may come down to the specific requirements of your applications and the level of isolation or control you need.

Also Read: Veeam Now Supports Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE): Enhanced Data Protection for SMBs and Service

Understanding Containers vs. VMs

Containers vs. VMs in Proxmox VE have distinct characteristics that can impact your choice:

Feature Containers VMs
Resource Utilization Use fewer resources by sharing the host’s OS kernel and encapsulating only necessary dependencies. Each VM has its own complete OS, leading to higher resource consumption.
Migration and Availability Cannot be live-migrated; migration involves downtime. Can be live-migrated, ensuring high availability.
Application Support May not be suitable for all applications due to technical limitations or vendor policies. Generally accommodates a wider range of applications, offering a traditional isolated environment.

Choose the Right Approach for Containers vs. VMs Case

Based on your assessment of hardware resources and the specific requirements of your applications, you can make an informed decision between containers and VMs:

Resource-Constrained Environments

If you have limited hardware resources, such as a server with 4GB of RAM, using containers is generally the better choice. Containers’ efficient resource utilization can help you maximize the number of applications you can run on your host.

High Availability and Live Migration

If your applications require high availability and the ability to perform live migrations between Proxmox hosts, VMs are the preferred option, as they support these features natively.

Vendor-Supported Applications

If you’re running applications that have specific vendor support requirements, it’s important to check whether the vendor allows or supports the use of containers. If not, VMs may be the safer choice to ensure you receive the necessary support.

Also Read: Veeam Now Supports Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE): Enhanced Data Protection for SMBs and Service

Leveraging Proxmox VE Capabilities

Leveraging Proxmox VE Capabilities

Proxmox VE provides a robust platform for managing both containers and VMs, allowing you to take advantage of their respective strengths. As you build your Proxmox environment, consider the following:

  • Use container templates to quickly provision new containers with consistent configurations.
  • Leverage Proxmox’s live migration capabilities for VMs to ensure high availability and seamless maintenance.
  • Explore Proxmox’s integrated firewall and networking features to secure your containers and VMs.
  • Take advantage of Proxmox’s backup and snapshot capabilities to protect your critical workloads, whether they’re running in containers or VMs.

By carefully considering your hardware resources, application requirements, and Proxmox’s features, you can make an informed decision on whether to use containers or VMs in your Proxmox environment, ensuring optimal performance, availability, and manageability for your workloads.

Also Read: Proxmox VE 8.2 is Released with VMware ESXi Import Wizard


Can I run both containers and VMs simultaneously on Proxmox VE?

Yes, Proxmox VE allows you to run both containers and VMs simultaneously on the same host. This flexibility enables you to leverage the strengths of each technology based on your specific use cases. You can use containers for lightweight, resource-efficient applications while using VMs for applications that require full isolation and compatibility with traditional virtualized environments.

How do I decide whether to use a container or a VM for my application?

The choice between a container and a VM depends on several factors:

  • Resource Availability: If your server has limited resources, containers are generally more efficient.
  • Application Requirements: Some applications may require full OS isolation or have vendor support only for VMs.
  • High Availability Needs: If you need live migration and high availability, VMs are a better option. Evaluate your hardware resources, application compatibility, and specific feature requirements to make an informed decision.

Are there any security differences between using containers and VMs in Proxmox VE?

Yes, there are some security differences:

  • Containers: Share the host’s kernel, which might pose a security risk if a container is compromised. However, modern containerization platforms include features to mitigate these risks, such as namespaces and cgroups.
  • VMs: Provide stronger isolation as each VM runs its own OS with a separate kernel. This makes VMs more secure for running untrusted applications. It’s important to implement proper security measures, regardless of whether you choose containers or VMs, to protect your environment effectively.


Selecting between containers and VMs in your Proxmox VE environment hinges on a thorough understanding of your hardware capabilities and application needs. Containers provide an efficient, resource-friendly option for environments with limited resources, while VMs offer robust isolation, broad application compatibility, and advanced features like live migration and high availability. By leveraging Proxmox’s powerful management tools, you can optimize the deployment of both containers and VMs, ensuring your infrastructure is both efficient and resilient. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on balancing your current resources with the future needs of your applications, paving the way for a flexible and scalable virtualization strategy.

If you want to learn more about Proxmox VE, Proxmox VE 8: A Comprehensive Virtualization Course 2024 will help you understand it and completely walk through the product.


Proxmox VE Documentation

Download Proxmox VE 8.2

Proxmox VE 8.2 Release Notes



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *