Nested virtualization with Proxmox

Published by Tobias Hofmann on

3 min read

Nested virtualization allows to run a hypervisor inside a VM. You have a VM running in Proxmox, and that VM is running another VM. The guest VM is the host for another guest VM: Host -> VM => runs another VM. The Proxmox Wiki contains some more information about the topic and how to configure Proxmox to support that scenario.

By default, support is not enabled. Trying to run a VM inside a VM will fail. Below screenshot shows an example of such an error message (taken while trying to run CRC).

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Activate virtualization on host

Check if nested virtualization is enabled on the Proxmox server. Actual command differs on your CPU vendor. For Intel (I have a NUC, therefore Intel CPU):

cat /sys/module/kvm_intel/parameters/nested

Activate the parameter:

echo "options kvm-intel nested=Y" > /etc/modprobe.d/kvm-intel.conf

This will create the file kvm-intel.conf and set the parameter. Reload the kernel module to activate the change.

modprobe -r kvm_intel
modprobe kvm_intel

Check if KVM is active.

cat /sys/module/kvm_intel/parameters/nested

Activate virtualization on guest

After activating the CPU feature in the host, Proxmox supports nested virtualization. For a guest to be able to host a VM, the guest VM must be configured to use the CPU feature. Change the CPU type of the VM to host. This can be done via cli or via the web interface.


qm set 104 --cpu host

The number (104) is the number of the guest VM in Proxmox.


The CPU setting can be changed using the web UI. Go to the hardware settings of the VM and edit them.

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The type setting needs to be changed to host.

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Now both Proxmox and the VM support nested virtualization. When a new VM is created in Proxmox that is intended to run another VIM, ensure that the CPU property is set.

Let the world know

Tobias Hofmann

Doing stuff with SAP since 1998. Open, web, UX, cloud. I am not a Basis guy, but very knowledgeable about Basis stuff, as it's the foundation of everything I do (DevOps). Performance is king, and unit tests is something I actually do. Developing HTML5 apps when HTML5 wasn't around. HCP/SCP user since 2012, NetWeaver since 2002, ABAP since 1998.


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