Installing on existing Debian 11 Server

I am just cracking the surface here of openHAB and wanted to get an openHAB server up and running. I currently have a bare-metal server running Jellyfin on a Debian 11 OS and that is all the server dose.

Would I be making a mistake to try and also run openHAB on this same machine? I mean It wouldn’t be the end of the word if I killed my Jellyfin server but I don’t really want to.

Here are the server specs. It is a cute little industrial box about the size of a paperback novel only running up 7-14 watts of power in idle. I really don’t want to put a Raspberry Pi 4 online if I don’t need to.

memory 16GiB DDR4 System memory
processor Intel(R) Core™ i7-6820EQ CPU @ 2.80GHz
bridge Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core P
bus 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family USB
storage HM170/QM170 Chipset SATA Controller [AHCI


Your server should be fine to run openHAB, so no need to worry. Just keep in mind that it’ll be harder for us to help you at times, since we won’t know exactly what your environment looks like. Whenever you read a post that’s about openHABian, remember that it might not apply in exactly the same way for you.

The openHABian image that you can download for RPi is there to make life easier for new users by removing variables, which makes it much easier for us to help them get set up. It’s particularly good for anyone who’s not familiar with Linux (like me).

Since you’re running Debian, you can install openHABian yourself, and I highly recommend doing so. This will give you access to the openhabian-config tool, which is very useful.

It’s also possible to run openHAB in docker, but I know next to nothing about that.

If you do happen to have an RPi sitting around, then another option is to just start with it so that you minimize issues while you’re learning how it works. It’s easy to backup your configuration and move it to your Jellyfin server later, but you might also just find that you’re comfortable running it as is.

Good luck!

In addition to Russ’ post, you might also want to consider running a Hypervisor on your server (i.e. Proxmox) if not too elaborate.
This will give you “complete” separation of things like Jellyfin, OH and other services.
Docker, as mentioned, is another option though.


This is a monster of a machine for openHAB! As Russ says you’ll have no issues there.

If you want to install normal openHAB (as opposed to openHABian) bare-metal on your server then just follow the Linux install instructions after ensuring you have Java 11 installed (specifically version 11). I run both openHAB and Jellyfin - I don’t think their requirements conflict.

However, I would also consider what Chris has mentioned: using a hypervisor so you can separate your services into separate containers or VMs. You then also get a bunch of very easy to use backup and restore options for free.

I’m looking after two hypervisor servers, both running Proxmox. The first has openHAB in a Debian 11 LXC container, with Java 11 from the standard Debian repositories. The second has openHAB in an Ubuntu 20.04 LXC container with Java 11 from Zulu, and this server also runs Jellyfin in a separate LXC. I will say that I struggled a bit with setting up the Jellyfin transcoding options so that this worked in the LXC, so if you’re relying on GPU or QuickSync transcoding then make sure you prepare yourself for some trial and error.

Note that both my servers have less than half the grunt of your monster, and are ticking along just fine with a myriad other services installed.

In my opinion no - most people don’t have the resources to dedicate an entire separate system for openHAB alone. I’ve certainly (carefully) shared the openHAB system with many other services pre-Proxmox, and post-Proxmox this is a doddle. And as you’re only starting out you may as well see if this is the right service for you in the first place.

And Raspberry Pi’s are almost impossible to get hold of at MSRP at the moment.

If, however, you end up going all in on home automation and it starts to become critical to the way you live (it becomes more than an interesting hobby) then definitely consider your setup. And get a UPS.

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I’ll second everything said here. The only thing I’ll caution you about is that while Docker and VMs are really great and I use them myself, they do add a little bit of complexity and require you to do some additional learning up front. You may not be up for that and that is perfectly fine.

Personally, I started by running everything on an old laptop running Ubuntu 16.04 and was perfectly happy. Over the years though I outgrew that laptop and I wanted some more flexibility, like being able to upgrade without taking everything down at the same time, making backups easier, making upgrades easier, etc. So first I moved everything to VMs running on ESXi (probably would not recommend ESXi today but it was the best choice back then). Then I moved everything possible to run in Docker containers on those VMs.

I eventually outgrew that one machine and have moved some of my services to an RPi 4 (still in Docker containers).

Everything is installed and configured and upgraded using Ansible.

I raise all this to point out that this is for most of us a journey. We start with what we know (install on bare metal) and then something happens that causes us to look for “a better way”. So while all of the advice on this thread is good advice, don’t let the need to learn how to install and use Proxmox or understand how to use Docker stop you from forging ahead with openHAB. You can always migrate later if you find you need to. The thing that made my look at Docker was how much of a pain it is changing the default port numbers for various services which intersect.