The Virtualized Mac Mini Lab


VMware vSphere 5.0 Update 1 on Apple Mac Mini and virtualized Apple Mac OS X 10.7.

For many of my professional years my opinion has been that I don’t need a to run an own lab. I have changed my mind. With all the amazing software that’s been released on increasingly tighter release cycles, I’ve found myself not being able to cope with knowledge wise. Since, I am living in a small apartment I am very limited in space. Therefore, I need a lab environment that is very space efficient. My first obvious choice was an Apple Mac Mini, despite of only supporting one Gigabit network interface (which is a shortage on a Mac Mini server system, IMHO). Blogs released in 2011didn’t sound promising that vSphere on a Mac Mini might ever work. Hence, besides being constrained on time, I stopped my own investigations on this topic. Instead, I started to spend a decent amount of time finding the right equipment equal to the size of a Mac Mini. I was only partially successful. But after reading the blog post from Paraguin (thank you for everything!) earlier this year, I got really excited that he got vSphere 5 running on an Apple Mac Mini. The next day I went to an Apple Reseller and bought a Mac Mini 5,1 (Intel Core i5, 2.3GHz, 2 GB RAM) as well as a 16GB RAM Kit (Corsair CMSA16GX3M2A1333C9).

I shortly want to explain to you what I did in order to get it working. First of all, in preparation, I spent some time reading these posts: VMware Community thread, ESXi on Mac Mini, Lion on ESXi, recommended RAM, RAM checker how-to, unetbootin, and register & download ESXi. Many thanks to all of the bloggers and other folks who contributed to making it happen! Now, let me introduce you to the 7 steps to have your Lion running on top of vSphere!

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