clint01
Contributor
Contributor

Esxi on a iMac

Hello there.

I would like to learn more about esx,esxi and the vshpere ,to this end I need to purchase some new hardware to run and test the technologies.

Can I install esxi on a new imac as a bare metal install or can I run esxi in a virtual enviroment after I have allready booted the imac up .

I would then like to be able to test on windows 2008 servers and exchange 2010 servers.

Let me know if this can be done please ,I guess the best way for this to work is if I can boot the mac up but have esxi installed another virtual player and still install my servers on the esxi host that way I can still use the mac.

If this is not possible I guess it can only be done on a PC ,thanks for your advice

GG

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9 Replies
chrisb101
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Hi Clint01,

I have successfully run ESXi on my new IMac using VMwares Fusion product. Its just like Workstation but for Macs. You will need to create a virtual XP machine or equivalent so you can download the VI Client which will allow you to manage the ESXi server.

You can download a 30day trial of Fusion from here https://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/

Hope this helps

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WoodyZ
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IMO running ESXi under Fusion is more for Proof of Concept or a gruelingly slow Demo and not for Production Use in any manner! If you intend to install ESXi in a Virtual Machine and in turn install Virtual Machines in ESXi then don't expect to get any sort of productivity out of it as running nested Virtual Machines is inherently slow and grueling so in some cases. However just running normal file based Virtual Machines under VMware Fusion, not in an ESXi Virtual Machine, will be fine and can expect to get good productivity as long as you do not stretch the resources to thin.

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clint01
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Hay guys thanks for the good info ,Is it possible to install esxi straight onto a imac as a bare metal install and then maybe have it set to dual boot .

That way I can either use the mac or boot up into esxi and experiment with the virtual machines when necessary?

Thanks

Clint

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chrisb101
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I'm pretty sure that Macs will not be on the hardware compatability list. I agree with Woody if you just want to take a look at ESXi for proof of concept then Fusion would be the best however if you actually want to host vm's within ESXi or use it for production I'd recommend you use hardware that is on the HCL

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asatoran
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...Is it possible to install esxi straight onto a imac as a bare metal install...

As stated, Macs are not on the compatibility list for ESX(i). I've tried it briefly on a Mac Mini, but the installer hung. It may be possible with some additional work, but that is for another discussion.

...and then maybe have it set to dual boot. That way I can either use the mac or boot up into esxi and experiment with the virtual machines when necessary?

Even if you could directly install ESXi onto your Mac, you still need another machine to run the vSphere client. (ESXi has only a limited console for troubleshooting and such. Nothing that you can manage virtual machines with.) And the client is Windows based so that machine needs to be a Windows machine (physical or virtual.) So your best bet for a bare metal install is buy or build a ESXi server. For learning/training a white-box can be built. (Take a look at http://www.vm-help.com/ for a list of unsupported devices that have found to work.)

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sirozha1
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Today is the last day of the tax free weekend in North Carolina, and I would like to justify purchasing a 27" iMac with 3.4 GHz i7-2600 CPU. I want to combine a desktop Mac and a beefy machine for running ESXi natively. In light of the recent announcement by VMware of vSphere 5, even more recent change of their licensing on the vSphere 5 Hypervisor free edition (up to 32 GB of vRAM per machine), and the announcement that vSphere 5 runs on Xserve, I am wondering if I will be able to install VMware Hypervisor natively on the 27" iMac with 3.4 GHz i7-2600 CPU. Currently, I am running my Cisco voice lab on a Dell server with Xeon 5620 (2.4 GHz) and 12 GB of RAM. It's a pretty big box, and I would be happy to get rid of it and combine business (my Cisco lab) with pleasure (owning and using a 27" iMac). Judging by benchmarks, the 3.4 GHz i7-2600 CPU is pretty close to the performance of the 2.4 GHz Xeon 5620. The Xeon has 8 cores and 12 MB of cache vs the i7's 4 cores and 8 MB of cache, though. So, I have a few questions:

1. If you know the modern computer hardware well, what's your opinion on the performance of the Xeon 5620 vs the 3.4 GHz i7-2600.

2. Is it realistic to expect that in a few weeks - once VMWare releases vSphere 5 Hypervisor - it will install natively on the mid-2011 iMac?

3. Provided I can install vSphere 5 Hypervisor natively on the iMac, is it possible to use the iMac's monitor to be directly connected to a VM running Mac OS on the iMac? On my Dell, the only thing that I can see on the locally attached monitor is the VMWare ESXi console. To access any other VMs' desktop, I have to RDP to them. So, is it possible to redirect one of the VM's desktop/keyboard/mouse to the locally attached (to the iMac) devices? That would allow me to use my Cisco lab running in VMs on the iMac (and being accessed remotely) and at the same time use Mac OS X (running as a VM) via the local (gorgeous) 27" display, Bluetooth keyboard, and the Bluetooth Magic trackpad.

Thanks.

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WoodyZ
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If you want a nice brand new iMac with its "(gorgeous) 27" display" because you like Mac's and like using OS X then by all means get one however whether or not it will be able to run vSphere 5 Hypervisor is not know because the HLC for it isn't posted yet at Compatibility Guides.

That said, why would you spend that type of money on a beautifully designed and crafted machine that will just sit there hosting virtual machines when you could build a white-box system (or buy a certified system) with so much more capacity and performance for much less and would be so much more appropriate for its intended use then putting ESXi on an iMac! Smiley Wink

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sirozha1
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I alrady have a Dell server - a monster - that's sitting in my mini-datacenter and running 10 VMs - exactly what I need fir it to do. I am trying to get a machine that I can use as both a desktop Mac and a server running ESXi at the same time. That way, I can have it on my desk, and utilize it both as a server hosting a bunch of lab VMs and as a desktop running Mac OS X in a VM. If I can achieve that, I can get rid of my monster Dell server.

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WoodyZ
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I am trying to get a machine that I can use as both a desktop Mac and a server running ESXi at the same time. That way, I can have it on my desk, and utilize it both as a server hosting a bunch of lab VMs and as a desktop running Mac OS X in a VM.

Even if you could install ESXi on bare metal on an iMac you cannot then use it for anything else at the same time, so what's the point since you already have a Dell Server! Smiley Wink

If you're talking about creating a ESXi Virtual Machine under VMware Fusion you could do that however see my first reply in this thread and asatoran's reply.

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