Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

iTARDIS vSphere on a Mac Mini

You may be familiar with my vTARDIS project; I’ve been trying for a long time to make this work on a Mac Mini   that I have as that would be the most awesome home lab possible – it’s almost silent and is small enough to fit underneath your monitor (however large your monitor is Smile)


I alluded to this in this previous post, but due to a bug the Mac Mini locked up on boot with ESX5 and there were no network drivers, with vSphere 5.1 and a little bit of frigging it finally works – it lives!


The network drivers don’t ship out of the box with ESX 5.1 but it no longer locks up on boot so you can get in and configure the IP address, kudos to this post on the VMware communities for finding the steps, which are summarized as;

  1. Download the NIC driver VIB for the Mac Mini (mine reports as MacMini4,1) is the server version with 8Gb and 2 x 500GB SATA drives.
  2. Customize your installation ISO with the driver VIB using this simple tool
  3. Install ESXi to a bootable USB drive (I used a 2GB Kingston flash drive) using Fusion
    1. create ESX5 VM in Fusion (or Workstation, principal is the same)
    2. attach customized ESX ISO to VM
    3. insert USB disk into laptop
    4. map USB drive to ESX VM
    5. boot VM from ISO file and install to USB stick when prompted
  4. Insert USB stick into Mac Mini
  5. Boot Mac Mini holding down alt key image
  6. Select EFI boot when prompted
  7. ESX will boot
  8. set the management NIC and it’s IP address (or wait for it to get a DHCP address)
  9. You can now even install some nested ESX VMs on to it – see Williams post here  which is more up to date than my vTARDIS pages for the required steps.


Ok, so it’s only got 8Gb of RAM, but this opens up all sorts of possibilities outside of nested ESX, because it’s Apple hardware you can install OS X as a VM (this is prevented on non-Apple hardware in ESX to comply with Apple’s licensing conditions).


Much more experimenting to come!

One response to “iTARDIS vSphere on a Mac Mini

  1. Pingback: Welcome to vSphere-land! » Home Lab Links

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