User Guide/Preface

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User's Guide
OpenVZ Philosophy
Installation and Preliminary Operations
Operations on Containers
Managing Resources
Advanced Tasks

About This Guide[edit]

This guide is meant to provide comprehensive information on OpenVZ — high-end server virtualization software for Linux-based computers. The issues discussed in this guide cover the necessary theoretical conceptions as well as practical aspects of working with OpenVZ. The guide will familiarize you with the way to create and administer containers (sometimes also called Virtual Environments, or VEs) on OpenVZ-based Hardware Nodes and to employ the command line interface for performing various tasks.

Who Should Read This Guide[edit]

The primary audience for this book is anyone responsible for administering one or more systems running OpenVZ. To fully understand the guide, you should have strong Linux system administration habits. Attending Linux system administration training courses might be helpful. Still, no more than superficial knowledge of Linux OS is required in order to comprehend the major OpenVZ notions and learn to perform the basic administrative operations.

Organization of This Guide[edit]

Chapter 2, OpenVZ Philosophy, is a must-read chapter that helps you grasp the general principles of OpenVZ operation. It provides an outline of OpenVZ architecture, of the way OpenVZ stores and uses configuration information, of the things you as administrator are supposed to perform, and the common way to perform them.

Chapter 3, Installation and Preliminary Operations, dwells on all those things that must be done before you are able to begin the administration proper of OpenVZ. Among these things are a customized installation of Linux on a dedicated computer (Hardware Node, in OpenVZ terminology), OpenVZ installation, preparation of the Hardware Node for creating Virtual Private Servers on it, etc.

Chapter 4, Operations on Virtual Private Servers, covers those operations that you may perform on a container as on a single entity: creating and deleting Virtual Private Servers, starting and stopping them, etc.

Chapter 5, Managing Resources, zeroes in on configuring and monitoring the resource control parameters for different containers. These parameters comprise disk quotas, disk I/O, CPU and system resources. Common ways of optimizing your containers configurations are suggested at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 6, Advanced Tasks, enumerates those tasks that are intended for advanced system administrators who would like to obtain deeper knowledge about OpenVZ capabilities.

Chapter 7, Troubleshooting, suggests ways to resolve common inconveniences should they occur during your work with the OpenVZ software.

Chapter 8, Reference, is a complete reference on all OpenVZ configuration files and Hardware Node command-line utilities. You should read this chapter if you do not understand a file format or looking for an explanation of a particular configuration option, if you need help for a particular command or looking for a command to perform a certain task.

Documentation Conventions[edit]

Before you start using this guide, it is important to understand the documentation conventions used in it. For information on specialized terms used in the documentation, see the Glossary at the end of this document.

Typographical Conventions[edit]

The following kinds of formatting in the text identify special information.

Formatting convention Type of information Example


Used to emphasize the importance of a point or to introduce a term. Such servers are called Hardware Nodes.


The names of commands, files, and directories. Use vzctl start to start a Container.
On-screen computer output in your command-line sessions.
Saved parameters for CT 101
Preformatted bold
What you type, as contrasted with on-screen computer output.
rpm -q quota

Shell Prompts in Command Examples[edit]

Command line examples throughout this guide presume that you are using the Bourne-again shell (bash). Whenever a command can be run as a regular user, we will display it with a dollar sign prompt. When a command is meant to be run as root, we will display it with a hash mark prompt:

Ordinary user shell prompt $
Root shell prompt #

General Conventions[edit]

Be aware of the following conventions used in this book.

  • Chapters in this guide are divided into sections, which, in turn, are subdivided into subsections. For example, Documentation Conventions is a section, and General Conventions is a subsection.
  • When following steps or using examples, be sure to type double-quotes ("), left single-quotes (`), and right single-quotes (') exactly as shown.
  • The key referred to as RETURN is labeled ENTER on some keyboards.

The root path usually includes the /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin and /usr/sbin directories, so the steps in this book show the commands in these directories without absolute path names. Steps that use commands in other, less common, directories show the absolute paths in the examples.

Getting Help[edit]

In addition to this guide, there are a number of other resources available for OpenVZ which can help you use it more effectively. These resources include:


If you spot a typo in this guide, or if you have thought of a way to make this guide better, we would love to hear from you!

If you have a suggestion for improving the documentation (or any other relevant comments), try to be as specific as possible when formulating it. If you have found an error, please include the chapter/section/subsection name and some of the surrounding text so we can find it easily.

Please submit a report by e-mail to