Currently, the Proxmox installer does not support setting up encryption with ZFS. Thus, we have to set it up manually. This post will go over how to use the native ZFS encryption with Proxmox.
The post also assumes that the Proxmox installation is new and does not have any virtual machines or containers yet.
Proxmox installs its system inside of the
rpool/ROOT dataset. This is what we will encrypt first.
First, boot into the initramfs. On the startup menu, press
e to edit the boot argument. Remove
root=ZFS=rpool/ROOT/pve-1 boot=zfs from the argument and press
Load in the
zfs kernel module:
Next, follow this gist to encrypt the dataset. You do not need to use any sort of live USB or rescue mode, as the initramfs has all what we need. In case it gets moved or deleted, I will copy and paste it here:
# Import the old zpool import -f rpool # Make a snapshot of the current one zfs snapshot -r rpool/ROOT@copy # Send the snapshot to a temporary root zfs send -R rpool/ROOT@copy | zfs receive rpool/copyroot # Destroy the old unencrypted root zfs destroy -r rpool/ROOT # Create a new zfs root, with encryption turned on # OR -o encryption=aes-256-gcm - aes-256-ccm vs aes-256-gcm zfs create -o encryption=on -o keyformat=passphrase rpool/ROOT # Copy the files from the copy to the new encrypted zfs root zfs send -R rpool/copyroot/pve-1@copy | zfs receive -o encryption=on rpool/ROOT/pve-1 # Deviate from the original gist and delete copyroot zfs destroy -r rpool/copyroot # Set the Mountpoint zfs set mountpoint=/ rpool/ROOT/pve-1 # Export the pool again, so you can boot from it zpool export rpool
Reboot into the system. You should now be prompted for an encryption password.
Next, we need to encrypt the
rpool/data dataset. This is where Proxmox stores virtual machine disks.
Note that the encryption key will be stored inside of the
rpool/ROOT dataset. Since
rpool/ROOT is already encrypted, we can safely store it there. The key also has to be exactly 32 bytes.
# Destroy the original dataset zfs destroy -r rpool/data # Create a new encryption key dd if=/dev/urandom bs=32 count=1 of=/.data.key # Set the approprieate permission chmod 400 /.data.key # Make the key immutable chattr +i /.data.key # Create a new dataset with encryption enabled zfs create -o encryption=on -o keylocation=file:///.data.key -o keyformat=raw rpool/data
Next, we need to setup a systemd service for automatic unlocking. Put the following inside of
[Unit] Description=Load encryption keys DefaultDependencies=no After=zfs-import.target Before=zfs-mount.service [Service] Type=oneshot RemainAfterExit=yes ExecStart=/usr/sbin/zfs load-key -a [Install] WantedBy=zfs-mount.service
Finally, enable the service:
systemctl enable zfs-load-key
Setting Dropbear for remote unlocking (optional)
It is not convenient to type in the encryption password on the console. You might want to setup Dropbear inside of the initramfs to unlock the drive over SSH instead.
First, install the
dropbear package. Note that we are passing the
--no-install-recommends argument here, as we don’t want it to install
cryptsetup and give annoying warnings on every initramfs generation.
apt install --no-install-recommends dropbear
/etc/dropbear/authorized_keys and put your ssh keys in there.
You may also edit
/etc/dropbear/config and adjust it however you like. You can find the list of the options here. In my opinion, the default is good enough. Some other blog posts may recommend that you change the port to avoid the ssh fingerprint mismatch warning, but I would recommend using a different subdomain to connect to dropbear instead. That way, you can pin Dropbear’s fingerprint with SSHFP records. I will write a seperate post on this later.
Then, edit the
/etc/initramfs-tools/initramfs.conf and add the static IP address for it to use. The format is
One thing to keep in mind is that I have found only IPv4 to be working with this on Debian. If you figure out how to get IPv6 to work, please let me know.
Finally, generate a new initramfs:
You should now be able to ssh into your Dropbear upon reboot. Use
zfsunlock to unlock the
rpool/ROOT dataset :)