Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

ESXi 5.x on new Apple Mac Mini 6,2 Late 2012 *NOT* working

Hello!

I bought one of the new MacMinis, which were presented yesteraday, plugged two 8GiB DD3-1600 modules in (OsX reported 16GiB of memory, as the models before) and tried to install ESXi 5.1 Build 799733. It started promising:

Initializing chipset...

Initializing timing...

Initializing scheduler...

Initializing processors...

Initializing ACPI...

*BANG*

Pink screen! Smiley Sad

NOT_REACHED bora/vmkernel/hardware/intel/vtd.c:3638

cr0=0x8001003d cr2=0x0 cr3=0x449ad500 cr4=0x12c

*PCPU0:4096/bootstrap

PCPU  0: SISISISISISISIS

Code start: 0x41800c600000 VMK uptime: 0:00:00:04.301

and a stackdump.

macmini.png

I tried instalkling 5.0 and 5.0 U1 also, but with the same result.

It is the regular MacMini with an i7 4C 2.3GHz and one 1TB SATA drive (http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD388LL/A with no extras), not the MacMini Server.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

PS1: I was unable to boot the ESXi setup from USB key! Since other USB keys (OsX setup for example) didn't work either, I suspect that there's some EFI boot problem from the new USB3 ports. Booting from CD worked, however.

PS2: on the earlies models we had the problem, that the Alt key wasn't recognized after powering on, when there is an USB hub between the keyboard and the Mac (a KVM switch for example). That seems to be fixed now: whenever I press the Alt key at the powerup chime, I get the Apple "boot menu", even with our KVM switch in between.

338 Replies
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

We all are once. 🙂

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

@telecastle: thanks for the information.

I suppose the iScsi NAS should ideally use a second reserved nic.

I thought apple had  a converter thunderbolt>utp for this (although I cannot locate it now)  - would this be fast enough?

glenn

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yes, Apple makes a Thunderbolt Gigabit adapter. I'm using it on my Mac Mini 6,2, and it is directly connected to NIC 2 on my NAS with a CAT 6 cable.

It's not the ideal solution. I'm not going to get into the details here, but I cannot have more than one iSCSI target on my NAS because if my ESXi host is reset, only the primary target can be automatically re-connected to the ESXi host. As long as you are OK putting all of your VMs on the same target, you should be fine, though.

The better solution is to use a Gigabit switch, but the connection between the ESXi host's NIC2 and your iSCSI NAS' NIC2 should either be on a separate VLAN from the rest of your network, or if your switch cannot create different VLANs, this connection should be on a separate Gigabit switch.

In ESXi, you should limit iSCSI to only NIC2, and use your primary NIC for administration of the ESXi host and for the LAN connectivity of your VMs hosted on the ESXi host (your Mac Mini).

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

@telecastle: thank you for the clarification of the setup.
I'll go that route too once I find a silent NAS - I really rate the mini for its lack of noise

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Calling all Coders/Developers:

Anyone want to jump in and help the effort at;

http://www.vm-help.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4320&start=100

So that we can get more than 2 NICs on these machines?

The USB NIC driver is almost complete.... (I'm sure we'll get it alone, but many hands make for light work.)

Every mac mini user here would benefit from this venture.

If anyone ever wants more than 2 NICs on these machines they'll have to purchase a Thunderbolt Hub, which will be hundreds of dollars at a minimum.

A USB based NIC is $20.

Just imagine these mini's as host for the Virtual Storage Appliance when you put dual SSD's in them. Quality and speed of service will go drastically up, and server overhead will drastically go down. (No more need for self contained cooling rooms, no more giant racks needed. the possibilities for reducing overhead are endless.)

That's my ultimate goal. I know it won't be officially supported, but enabling USB NIC's would open ESXi to be used by the masses. (I will concede that a XHCI driver for the mini's controller will need a driver as well)

I have a dream, that one day, everyone will have a ESXi Hypervisor at home. 0:-)

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

So, can VSA be installed on the same Mac Mini that runs ESXi or are you talking about a three-host scenario with one host being the EXSi 5.x host and two other hosts being VSA hosts? I've just read FAQs on VSA, and it appears that VSA can be installed on two hosts as a minimum so that the internal storage is mirrored between the two VSA hosts, thus providing redundancy.

If VSA could be installed on the same Mac Mini as the ESXi host, then you could run redundant storage and a bunch of VMs between the two Mac Minis. Of course, you would also have to purchase a vCenter license.

I still think that the better solution would be to get ESXi to support software raid.

Thanks

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Yes, VSA runs as a VM under ESX.. And yes your right, VSA requires a vcenter license.

But that's my ultimate goal, the 2 mac mini scenario.

Still USB 3 based NICs would be of value to the entire community. Especially the ones from ASIX Elctronics Corp, which supports;

Gigabit Ethernet Controller

    • Supports IEEE 802.3az (Energy Efficient Ethernet)
    • IEEE 802.3, 802.3u and 802.3ab compatible
    • Integrates 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet MAC/PHY
    • Supports dynamic cable length detection and dynamic power adjustment Green Ethernet (Gigabit mode only)
    • Supports parallel detection and automatic polarity correction
    • Supports crossover detection and auto- correction
    • Supports IPv4/IPv6 packet Checksum Offload Engine (COE) to reduce CPU loading, including IPv4 IP/TCP/UDP/ICMP/IGMP & IPv6 TCP/UDP/ICMPv6 checksum check & generation
    • Supports TCP Large Send Offload V1
    • Supports full duplex operation with IEEE 802.3x flow control and half duplex operation with back-pressure flow control
    • Supports IEEE 802.1P Layer 2 Priority Encoding and Decoding
    • Supports IEEE 802.1Q VLAN tagging and 2 VLAN ID filtering; received VLAN Tag (4 bytes) can be stripped off or preserved
    • Supports Jumbo frame
    • PHY loop-back diagnostic capability

With the USB 3 introduction, we really can get Gigabit speeds from these devices at a minimal cost.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Would the USB NICs be configured to be direclty passed though to the VM, or would they work with ESXi as the thunderbolt enternet adapter does. I love my Mac Mini setup right now, but could really use more NICs.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

These would be ESX host devices. VSA requires 4 NICs per ESX Host.

The devices already work for pass through in my testting.

Still, VMware will have to make a driver for the mini's XHCI controller before we can get true gigabit speeds, however with the driver currently under devlopement by the user, "Trickstarter" on the vm-help.com/forum, the setup of VSA will work, even if it's not truly running at gigabit speed.

(Since currently it runs on the ECHI USB 2 controller it can't really do full 1000mbps since USB 2 is limited to 480mbps)

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

That is encorgageing news. I was considering tring this via passthough, but that doesn't fully solve my configuration issue. I'd love to add a couple more NICs via USB.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

So, can VSA be installed on the same Mac Mini that runs ESXi or are you talking about a three-host scenario with one host being the EXSi 5.x host and two other hosts being VSA hosts? I've just read FAQs on VSA, and it appears that VSA can be installed on two hosts as a minimum so that the internal storage is mirrored between the two VSA hosts, thus providing redundancy.

If VSA could be installed on the same Mac Mini as the ESXi host, then you could run redundant storage and a bunch of VMs between the two Mac Minis. Of course, you would also have to purchase a vCenter license.

I still think that the better solution would be to get ESXi to support software raid.

Thanks

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Driver's done. I'm using USB based NIC's on my mac mini now. 😄

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Spoke too soon. Driver does indeed work, however I have terrible upload speeds.. 11-12KBps. Download of 330KBps. So the driver still needs tweaked.

Any VMware folks want to help out? It is completely understood it will be unofficial, like the smc fix.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Issues fixed on USB NIC driver. Same transfer speeds my iMac gets now.

All thanks and props go to Trickstarter on the vm-help.com forums.

Thos interested should go there for more info, and if you download the driver, please make sure to say thanks to Trickstarter for all his hard work, and to add your expereinces so that we may continue to identify issues that may remain.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Anyone ever get the latest patch (build 914609) applied to these Mini's successfully?

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Wow I just read though the thread about making the USB NIC driver. That really shapped up fast. What USB NIC are you using. I only saw the chipset mentioned. How do you add the driver to ESXi? Sorry I have only been playing with ESXi since I got my mini last month.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Technically, as long as it's this chipset the driver should work. Lots of vendor's slap their name over top of someone else's hardware. I got mine from NewEgg for $20, but now they're $32. Still alot cheaper than alot of other, "supported" hardware. They can be found here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833114074&Tpk=usb3%20ethernet%20adapter

The quickness of the driver development, just goes to show the amazing things that can be accomplished when we all pull together for the greater good.

You add the driver to esx by simply uploading the files to the driverstore. I created a folder called "tweak" in mine to house these drivers. (We haven't created the .vib file yet)

The devloper had to modify the existing usbnet driver included in ESX so that's why there's two modules in the forum.

First load the custom usbnet driver with:

   vmkload_mod /<path to driver>/usbnetvz024

Then load the ASIX USB3 Ethernet adapter driver with:

   vmkload_mod /<path to driver>/ax88179vz024

Then, if it's not already attached to vSwitch0 or you want to attach it to another vSwitch you can issue:

   esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vusb0 -v vSwitch1

         or whatever your nic and switch numbers are...

You can't attach it to a vSwitch via the GUI right now since we believe the code looks for devices begining with vmnet* and these adapters get the vusb* name.

And never apologize for asking questions. At least not to me... I didn't know any of this 2 weeks ago either and only know now from a very helpful community at vm-help.com/forum

Hope this helps. have a wonderful day!

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Is anyone interested in trying to get the Dobo 5d / Drobo Mini boxes to be used as Thunderbolt RAID devices to host ESXi datastores? These provide the best bang (bandwidth) for the buck and are cheaper than getting a second Mac Mini (and a vCenter license) to run VSAs on two Mac Minis to provide data storage redundancy. I can't imagine nobody is thinking about it.

Thanks!

Sent from my iPhone

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor
Contributor

Aren't those drobo's just hard drive enclosures?

If it's thunderbolt attached then there's no need for a driver since it's just an extension of the exsisiting PCie bus, however what you may need a driver for is the raid device/drive controller.

So you would need to find out what storage controller it's using to control the drives. You'd also need access to the controller driver's source code. If you can get that information, then I will look in to driver development.

I personally don't see any of that information. Without the source code, it will never happen. And even if you get all that, you will have to purchase one to develop a driver with, since there will be debugging to perform.

Let me know and I'll see what I can do about getting people and resources together to move a project forward.

That's what it means to be a community, helping one another.

History and experince have told me, you most likey won't find third party driver help here. You should really register and post your request at http://www.vm-help.com/forum

Great community there, with people ready and willing to help.

Hope this helps....

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks for this info.

Drobo is a RAID device, and is shipped with a Drobo dashboard, which is the interface that controls the creation of the volumes on the Drobo RAID (and perhaps the initializing of the volumes) and also serves as the driver for OS X. I don't know the details because I do not own one of those. I have participated in a few online presentation for the Drobo devices and have seen demos of how the Drobo dashboard functions. On the Drobo devices without Ethernet interfaces (such as Drobo 5D / Drobo Mini), the communication with the Drobo is done via another port (USB and perhaps Thunderbolt) for the purposes of configuring the Drobo device. Drobo dashboard exists as a Windows and Mac application. On the Drobo devices that can serve as an iSCSI target, the Drobo dashboard also includes an iSCSI initiator for OS X, but this does not apply to Drobo 5D / Drobo Mini.

So, you are probably correct that there must be a driver in ESXi to be able to communicate with the Drobo RAID controller. On the other hand, I believe that the volume initialization and management can be done with a Windows or OS X client, so that piece of the Drobo dashboard functionality does not have to be present in the ESXi driver. So, the volume could be initialized with a Windows or OS X laptop/desktop, and once it's created, the Drobo should be able to be connected to the ESXi 5.x running on the Mac Mini and ESXi should be able to see the volume created earlier and format it with its own file system. The problem, as you correctly pointed out, is the fact that ESXi has no driver that can communicate with the Drobo RAID controller in order to see the volume that's created on the Drobo 5D / Drobo Mini.

I can try to contact someone within Drobo to see if they would be interested in the open source community creating a driver for their Thunderbolt devices to be used with ESXi. I don't know if I will get anywhere with it.

Provided that the creation of such a driver could be possible, Drobo 5D / Drobo Mini would provide the best solution for redundant datastore with ESXi running on Mac Mini. No one would be able to beat the storage capacity, expandability, storage bandwidth with any other (non-Thunderbolt) device for the price of Drobo Mini or Drobo 5D. Drobo Mini is also extremely quiet, so you could set it side by side with the Mac Mini right on your desk and not be bothered by excessive fan noise, so this is a perfect solution for a home lab. With most NAS devices, you really have to put the NAS in a closet or another room so that the noise does not bother you. And because most closets are not air-conditioned, it's always a problem to find the right location for a noisy NAS.

With the Mac Mini running ESXi and having the datastore on a Drobo Mini, there's really no need for a NAS because the OS X Server app provides all functionality that a consumer-grade NAS does and then some, and the Thunderbolt Drobo would provide data storage redundancy.

Thanks again!

0 Kudos