I recently started using VPS from OVH: http://www.ovh.co.uk/vps/vps-classic.xml This is likely problem very specific to this one provider.

My goal is to install and run Docker on it, for this I need kernel supporting modules. By default, OVH's VPS machines use custom kernel that does not and Docker crashes. I tried reinstalling machine a few times with various versions of Debian (6, 7) and Ubuntu (12.04, 13.10) available for their VPSs, every time uname -r shows me

uname -r

... /boot directory is empty, there is no grub nor lilo installed, there are no linux-image packages installed, though they are available.

Installing linux kernel from repository, grub, updating grub (this is widely spread advice I googled out) and rebooting machine has little effect. Grub finds one system image, the freshly installed one, /boot gets populated, but system still runs kernel mentioned above. This and the above symptoms puzzle me greatly: how exactly this machine boots in the first place? Net boot perhaps? How to check it, how to change this behaviour?

Following netboot idea I checked google again, this told me there is an option in OVH web manager version 3 to change net boot settings. I use manager v.6 to tinker with my VPS (they say the functionality is moved there), I found no such option there, previous manager versions don't even see my VPS.

This is how far I went until now. I want to run standard repository kernel on this VPS, would also welcome any explanations on how this setup works and why is it so problematic, because right now I feel rather confused :)

  • 2
    As Bert said, OpenVZ uses the host kernel so it's impossible to use your own.
    – Nathan C
    Apr 2, 2014 at 14:03
  • 2
    You can't run Docker in OpenVZ, as your OpenVZ "VPS" is itself a container. Apr 2, 2014 at 14:10
  • Right, I wasn't aware how this is virtualised and didn't know OpenVZ limitations. After short reading on the topic it's painfully obvious now. Thank you.
    – zencodism
    Apr 2, 2014 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


You cannot run your own kernel on a VPS using OpenVZ. You would have to upgrade from OVH's VPS Classic service to their VPS Cloud service, which runs VMware and would allow you to run a customised kernel.


Please note that OVH now offers images supporting Docker for this VPS service: http://www.ovh.co.uk/vps/operating-system.xml#Dev

You can install the following distributions on your VPS:

  • Ubuntu Docker (Ubuntu 14.04)
  • Ubuntu Docker (Ubuntu 15.04)

You will have to reinstall your VPS though, and I don't know which version of Docker they support.

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