Have you ever wanted a nice, easy way to create new VMs to play with using your favorite base distro, without doing a lot of work to configure basic settings like your account, networking, hostname, etc?

Cloud-Init can do all of that and more, but it’s designed more for big cloud providers and not the easiest thing to setup. But, what if we could take a generic cloud image, and use it with Proxmox’s built-in Cloud-Init automation, to provision easy bare VMs without having to build our own templates? That’s what I’ve done, and I’ve written a script to automate downloading these templates on new Proxmox systems from the major distros which provide them (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora).

Of course, once cloud-init is installed and configured, there’s no reason we can’t clone a template, install software on it, and then clone the clone to have a newly-configured VM with more software installed. From here, you can build out your library of useful application templates for whatever you do regularly.

The Video

As always, here’s the video with the full instructions. Thumbnail

The Script

This script will download a bunch of premade cloud images from the most common Linux distributions and add them as new 900-numbered VM templates, import your SSH keys, and configure the VM how I like it as a template. Of course, feel free to change any of the settings in the script before you run it, and you’ll need to add your public key in a plain text file and set your username.

#!/bin/bash

#Create template
#args:
# vm_id
# vm_name
# file name in the current directory
function create_template() {
    #Print all of the configuration
    echo "Creating template $2 ($1)"

    #Create new VM 
    #Feel free to change any of these to your liking
    qm create $1 --name $2 --ostype l26 
    #Set networking to default bridge
    qm set $1 --net0 virtio,bridge=vmbr0
    #Set display to serial
    qm set $1 --serial0 socket --vga serial0
    #Set memory, cpu, type defaults
    #If you are in a cluster, you might need to change cpu type
    qm set $1 --memory 1024 --cores 4 --cpu host
    #Set boot device to new file
    qm set $1 --scsi0 ${storage}:0,import-from="$(pwd)/$3",discard=on
    #Set scsi hardware as default boot disk using virtio scsi single
    qm set $1 --boot order=scsi0 --scsihw virtio-scsi-single
    #Enable Qemu guest agent in case the guest has it available
    qm set $1 --agent enabled=1,fstrim_cloned_disks=1
    #Add cloud-init device
    qm set $1 --ide2 ${storage}:cloudinit
    #Set CI ip config
    #IP6 = auto means SLAAC (a reliable default with no bad effects on non-IPv6 networks)
    #IP = DHCP means what it says, so leave that out entirely on non-IPv4 networks to avoid DHCP delays
    qm set $1 --ipconfig0 "ip6=auto,ip=dhcp"
    #Import the ssh keyfile
    qm set $1 --sshkeys ${ssh_keyfile}
    #If you want to do password-based auth instaed
    #Then use this option and comment out the line above
    #qm set $1 --cipassword password
    #Add the user
    qm set $1 --ciuser ${username}
    #Resize the disk to 8G, a reasonable minimum. You can expand it more later.
    #If the disk is already bigger than 8G, this will fail, and that is okay.
    qm disk resize $1 scsi0 8G
    #Make it a template
    qm template $1

    #Remove file when done
    rm $3
}


#Path to your ssh authorized_keys file
#Alternatively, use /etc/pve/priv/authorized_keys if you are already authorized
#on the Proxmox system
export ssh_keyfile=/root/id_rsa.pub
#Username to create on VM template
export username=apalrd

#Name of your storage
export storage=local-zfs

#The images that I've found premade
#Feel free to add your own

## Debian
#Buster (10) (really old at this point)
#wget "https://cloud.debian.org/images/cloud/buster/latest/debian-10-genericcloud-amd64.qcow2"
#create_template 900 "temp-debian-10" "debian-10-genericcloud-amd64.qcow2"
#Bullseye (11) (oldstable)
wget "https://cloud.debian.org/images/cloud/bullseye/latest/debian-11-genericcloud-amd64.qcow2"
create_template 901 "temp-debian-11" "debian-11-genericcloud-amd64.qcow2" 
#Bookworm (12) (stable)
wget "https://cloud.debian.org/images/cloud/bookworm/latest/debian-12-genericcloud-amd64.qcow2"
create_template 902 "temp-debian-12" "debian-12-genericcloud-amd64.qcow2"
#Trixie (13) (testing) dailies
wget "https://cloud.debian.org/images/cloud/trixie/daily/latest/debian-13-genericcloud-amd64-daily.qcow2"
create_template 903 "temp-debian-13-daily" "debian-13-genericcloud-amd64-daily.qcow2"
#Sid (unstable)
wget "https://cloud.debian.org/images/cloud/sid/daily/latest/debian-sid-genericcloud-amd64-daily.qcow2"
create_template 909 "temp-debian-sid" "debian-sid-genericcloud-amd64-daily.qcow2" 

## Ubuntu
#20.04 (Focal Fossa) LTS
wget "https://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/releases/focal/release/ubuntu-20.04-server-cloudimg-amd64.img"
create_template 910 "temp-ubuntu-20-04" "ubuntu-20.04-server-cloudimg-amd64.img" 
#22.04 (Jammy Jellyfish) LTS
wget "https://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/releases/22.04/release/ubuntu-22.04-server-cloudimg-amd64.img"
create_template 911 "temp-ubuntu-22-04" "ubuntu-22.04-server-cloudimg-amd64.img" 
#23.10 (Manic Minotaur)
wget "https://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/releases/23.10/release/ubuntu-23.10-server-cloudimg-amd64.img"
create_template 912 "temp-ubuntu-23-10" "ubuntu-23.10-server-cloudimg-amd64.img"
#As 23.10 has *just released*, the next LTS (24.04) is not in dailies yet

## Fedora 37
#Image is compressed, so need to uncompress first
wget https://download.fedoraproject.org/pub/fedora/linux/releases/37/Cloud/x86_64/images/Fedora-Cloud-Base-37-1.7.x86_64.raw.xz
xz -d -v Fedora-Cloud-Base-37-1.7.x86_64.raw.xz
create_template 920 "temp-fedora-37" "Fedora-Cloud-Base-37-1.7.x86_64.raw"
## Fedora 38
wget "https://download.fedoraproject.org/pub/fedora/linux/releases/38/Cloud/x86_64/images/Fedora-Cloud-Base-38-1.6.x86_64.raw.xz"
xz -d -v Fedora-Cloud-Base-38-1.6.x86_64.raw.xz
create_template 921 "temp-fedora-38" "Fedora-Cloud-Base-38-1.6.x86_64.raw"

## Rocky Linux
#Rocky 8 latest
wget "http://dl.rockylinux.org/pub/rocky/8/images/x86_64/Rocky-8-GenericCloud.latest.x86_64.qcow2"
create_template 930 "temp-rocky-8" "Rocky-8-GenericCloud.latest.x86_64.qcow2"
#Rocky 9 latest
wget "http://dl.rockylinux.org/pub/rocky/9/images/x86_64/Rocky-9-GenericCloud.latest.x86_64.qcow2"
create_template 931 "temp-rocky-9" "Rocky-9-GenericCloud.latest.x86_64.qcow2"