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: Continue reading “Booting VMware vSphere 6.5 From A Mac mini (7,1)”

Booting vSphere ESXi 6.0 From USB Stick To Successfully Build a VSAN 6.0 – Including An Apple Mac Mini Late 2014 (7,1)

Finally, I bought a brand-new Apple Mac Mini Late 2014 (Code 7,1) with a Fusion Drive (1.13TB) to complement my two legacy 2011 models. My intention was to build a VSAN (version 6.0) rather to replace my NAS device that is slowly but steadily running out of capacity! Before I bought the new Mac mini I extensively read blog posts about VSAN and the Mac mini systems (huge thank you to William Lam, Cormac Hogan, and Duncan Epping!).

The following blog posts and resources most helped me to make it work (in random order):

It was quite a journey until I got Mac mini 7,1 booting from the USB stick whereas my other two systems (version 5,2) were booting OotB from the stick. Not at all true for the latest version as I disappointedly found out! This was followed by hours of intense research on the web. Please use this post as your shortcut.

Continue reading “Booting vSphere ESXi 6.0 From USB Stick To Successfully Build a VSAN 6.0 – Including An Apple Mac Mini Late 2014 (7,1)”

VMware vCenter Operations in Memory Constrained Lab Environments

I’m always eager to learn some new cool pieces of technology. Yes, I know vCenter Operations for quite some time, but it makes a difference, if you install it on your own. Thus said, I grabbed the VMware vCenter Operations vApp (referred to as vCOps) as an evaluation copy here. After downloading the ova I logged in to my vCenter server and went for Deploy OVF Template…. Looking at the memory specifications for a small vCOps deployment I realized quickly that it won’t work on my Mac Mini (vCOps minimum requirement of 16GB RAM).

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But I refused to let go… Continue reading…

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!

Continue reading “The Virtualized Mac Mini Lab”