Booting VMware vSphere 6.5 From A Mac mini (7,1)


As I tried a bare metal installation of VMware vSphere 6.5 on a fresh Mac mini I ran into the condition that I wasn’t able to boot from a USB stick. It simply didn’t show up as a Startup Disk in macOS in the respective application to flag it as a boot device! That’s something that always had been working flawlessly.

After hours of intensive research and trial and error I finally was able to boot into vSphere 6.5 from a USB stick.

Here’s how:1. Install vSphere 6.5 on a USB stick and keep it in the USB port.

2. Boot your Mac mini into macOS Yosemite (I tried El Capitan, but there was a recurring error condition setting the boot flag. I assume that this is due to the deprecated command bless.
3. Open Terminal

4. Type diskutil list, your output should be similar to the one below:

admins-Mac-mini:~ admin$ diskutil list
/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):
#: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
0: GUID_partition_scheme *1.0 TB disk0
1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
2: Apple_CoreStorage Internal Drive 999.3 GB disk0s2
3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3

/dev/disk1 (internal, physical):
#: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
0: GUID_partition_scheme *121.3 GB disk1
1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk1s1
2: Apple_CoreStorage Internal Drive 121.0 GB disk1s2
3: Apple_Boot Boot OS X 134.2 MB disk1s3

/dev/disk2 (internal, virtual):
#: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
0: hd +1.1 TB disk2
Logical Volume on disk1s2, disk0s2
33C811BB-A20B-463C-B551-7A3FABBF1E36
Unencrypted Fusion Drive

/dev/disk3 (external, physical):
#: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
0: GUID_partition_scheme *15.6 GB disk3
1: EFI ESXi 4.2 MB disk3s1
2: Microsoft Basic Data 262.1 MB disk3s5
3: Microsoft Basic Data 262.1 MB disk3s6
4: 9D275380-40AD-11DB-BF97-000C2911D1B8 115.3 MB disk3s7
5: Microsoft Basic Data 299.9 MB disk3s8
6: 9D275380-40AD-11DB-BF97-000C2911D1B8 2.7 GB disk3s9

5. Type sudo mkdir /Volumes/esxi
and type your macOS admin password
6. Type sudo mount -t msdos /dev/disk3s1 /Volumes/esxi to mount the disk partition containing EFI (see output from diskutil, above)
7. Check with the mount command that your disk partition has been correctly mounted. The output should be similar to this:

admins-Mac-mini:~ admin$ mount
/dev/disk2 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
/dev/disk3s5 on /Volumes/Untitled (msdos, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners)
/dev/disk3s6 on /Volumes/Untitled 1 (msdos, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners)
/dev/disk3s8 on /Volumes/Untitled 2 (msdos, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners)
/dev/disk3s1 on /Volumes/esxi (msdos, local, noowners)

8. For macOS to support boot from a USB stick type sudo nvram enable-legacy-orom-behavior=1
9. Finally, type sudo bless -mount /Volumes/esxi/EFI -setBoot. If this command doesn’t return an error you’re done.
10. Reboot your Mac mini

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s