This script will create a VM on Proxmox VE without requiring any user interation. Upon completion, you’ll be able to ssh to the VM with your ssh key, just like you’d do with a VM hosted on a major cloud provider like AWS.

You’ll need an OS cloud image for this, it will install the OS without any user interaction. We’ll use Debian cloud image, but you can use a cloud image of any distro.


It has 2GB disk space by default, but you can Increase disk size of cloud image before running the script.

Step 1. The Script

We’ll copy-paste this script in a file You can read comments in the script for more details.


# Exit on error
set -e

if [ "$#" -ne 7 ]; then
  echo "Usage: $0 <id> <name> <memory> <cores> <image> <ciuser> <sshkey>"
  exit 1


echo Creating VM using parameters:
echo id=$id
echo name=$name
echo memory=$memory
echo cores=$cores
echo image=$image
echo ciuser=$ciuser
echo sshkey=$sshkey

# Print commands that are executed (facilitates debugging)
set -x

# Destroy the VM if it exists
qm stop $id || true
qm destroy $id -purge 1 || true

# Create the VM
qm create $id
qm set $id --name $name
qm set $id --memory $memory
qm set $id --cores $cores
qm set $id --net0 virtio,bridge=vmbr0
qm importdisk $id $image local-lvm
qm set $id --scsihw virtio-scsi-pci
qm set $id --scsi0 local-lvm:vm-$id-disk-0
qm set $id --ide2 local-lvm:cloudinit
qm set $id --ciuser $ciuser
qm set $id --sshkey $sshkey
qm set $id --serial0 socket --vga serial0

# Start the VM for the first time, this will install the OS from the cloud image
qm start $id

# Reboot for a clean start
sleep 60
qm reboot $id

We make the script executable

chmod +x

Step 2. Run the Script

./ 999 debian-999 4096 2 debian-11-genericcloud-amd64.qcow2 jdemers

Step 3. SSH to your VM

ssh debian-999

Step 4. Automate VM setup with ansible…

Not in scope of this article

Author: Jonathan Demers