1 2 3 Previous Next 38 Replies Latest reply on Dec 4, 2019 5:23 PM by signalsout

    Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0

    bgarner Hot Shot

      Starting a thread to discuss ESXi on Mac Pro hardware.

       

      MacPro1,1
      MacPro2,1
      The first two generation Mac Pro's boot to black screen prompting to pick cd boot type 1 or 2. However no keyboard input is accepted. I suspect this may be solvable with some hacking.
      MacPro3,1
      MacPro4,1
      MacPro5,1
      The three most recent generation Mac Pro's install fine to standard sata drives.
      I beleive that none of apple's hardware raid cards are workable for booting from. The most common fiber channel cards apple shiped with Mac Pro's from LSI also do not work. The Xraid still works if you connect it to a supported FC adapter however.

       

      If you have other Mac + ESXi questions start your own thread Let's keep this one specific to installing ESXi 5.0 on Mac Pro hardware..

       

      Blake

        • 1. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
          bgarner Hot Shot

          Here is a screen pic of the menu the older Mac Pro's get stuck at. Missing usb support for the keyboard ?

          photo.JPG

          • 2. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
            CharlesLaCour Lurker

            I have been running ESXi on my Mac Pro 1,1 since version 3 and I was not exactly happy when V5 came up with that Select CD-ROM Boot type menu.  I had seen the exact same thing with the Ubuntu install CD/DVD and they came out with a special one for Mac hardware.

             

            One thing that is new is that if I hold down the <ALT> key when booting from the ESXi CD I get a choice of a "Windows" or "EFI" boot.  If I chose the "Windows" boot I get the "Select CD-ROM Boot Type" prompt.  If I select the EFI boot the CD spins for a while and goes quiet it is wither waiting for something or has hung. 

             

            I am glad to hear that the later versions work, I was thinking about upgrading from my MacPro 1,1 to the newer 8 or 12 core boxes.  This may just make up my mind. 

            • 3. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
              CharlesLaCour Lurker

              Just tried a round about way of getting ESXi 5 installed on a drive in my Mac Pro 1,1.  I set up a vmdk mapping to an empty disk using VirtualBox and created a virtual server, I initaly tried VMWare Fusion but the mapping of the physical HD to a vmdk could not be added to a VIrtual machine. 

               

              I installed ESXi 5 in the VirtualBox VM.  It installed but complained that the Virtualization Hardware support was not available but it allowed me to continue.  Once it finished installing I shut down the VM and the disk looked like it was OK, it had been partitioned with a GUID partition table. 

               

              When I shutdown the Mac Pro and booted it holding down the <alt> key.  It showed the OS X boot drive and an "EFI Boot" volume.  I chose to boot to the "EFI Boot" volume and it hung just like the boot CD.

               

              So that was a bust.  Oh well. 

              • 4. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                bgarner Hot Shot

                I have determined that the issue is the efi bootloader. ESXi 5.0 works properly if you can get past the bootloader probelm. I'm looking into ways to replace the provided bootloader with either refit or maybe grub2.

                • 6. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                  EmGV Lurker

                  Hi,

                   

                  Any news on this I am hitting the same issue with a MacPro 1.1

                   

                  Cheers,

                  • 7. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                    bgarner Hot Shot

                    I have not had any time to hack on this further. I can share some info on what it will take to get the MacPro1,1 & 1,2 working. The problem is with the bootloader on the install media and the one that is written to disk durring install. Replacing these files with ones that are compatible with the older MacPro will result in a working ESXi 5.0 install.

                     

                    1. Setup a bootable USB stick formatted fat32 and clone the esxi .iso contents to the stick.

                    2. Replace the boot files on the stick with working ones

                    3. Boot from the USB stick and install ESXi 5.0

                    4. Boot back in to OS X and mount the efi boot partition

                    mkdir /Volumes/gpt

                    mount_msdos /dev/disk0s1 /Volumes/gpt

                    5. Replace the boot files on this partition with working ones

                    6. Reboot the system holding the option key down to select the ESXi volume

                     

                    Now the hard part is getting and configuring the working boot files. I'm guessing that you could take a build of EFI GRUB2 and configure it to work as the needed bootloader. What we are missing is the details on how to configure it.

                     

                    Here is a source for the files needed.

                    http://blog.christophersmart.com/2009/12/22/updated-efi-grub2-tarball-including-64bit/

                     

                    I have tested this process with some boot files I have on hand from the ESXi 5 beta. However I can't share those files due to VMware's licensing. From my poking around it looks like replacing the files with open source MacPro compatible ones will do the trick.

                     

                    I have seen some issues with the networking on the MacPro2,1 but I don't know if the issue is my box specifically or ESXi not working well with it's nic.

                     

                    Somebody with GRUB skills or knowledge of configuring it to boot ESXi should be able to get it working.

                     

                    Blake

                    • 8. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                      perquin Lurker

                      hi bgarner,

                       

                      I finally found older bootia32.efi maybe from 5 beta but now it work well.

                       

                      Really thank for the help

                       

                      Philippe

                      • 9. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                        JeffH322 Novice

                        @perquin

                         

                        So you actually got it working???

                        • 10. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                          perquin Lurker

                          Hi,

                           

                          I'm always working on it.

                           

                          The last version working directly seem to be a beta 5.0.0-381646. You can install it and it boot and run with my usb install.

                           

                          Taking the last version and replacing the bootia32.efi from beta help me to make an install.

                          But after booting it always have a problem. I look at partition and there is other bootia32.efi and mboot32.efi.

                          I make a try just replacing bootia32.efi but it's not working.

                           

                          My computer is not connected with internet and i can't try to make an update.

                           

                          I think that the macpro2,1 is really not compatible we can't have simple update

                          • 11. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                            perquin Lurker

                            hi,

                             

                            I finnally have a 5.0.0-469512 running in my macpro2,1.

                             

                            You need to find a 5.0.0-381646 with google.

                             

                            1- put the installer on usb (unetbootin is your friend) with and take it's bootia32.efi and bootx64.efi in /EFI/BOOT/

                            2- install it in other disk, mount the disk under linux, mount partition ESXI and take the files bootia32.efi,bootx64.efi in /EFI/BOOT/ and mboot32.efi,mboot64.efi in /EFI/VMWARE.

                            3-same as one with 5.0.0-469512 and replace files with files taken at 1 in same place

                            4- now install with the modify one, mount the disk mount the disk under linux, mount partition ESXI and replace the files  bootia32.efi,bootx64.efi in /EFI/BOOT/ and mboot32.efi,mboot64.efi in /EFI/VMWARE.

                             

                            it seem to work well.

                             

                            Regards,

                             

                            Philippe

                            • 12. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                              bgarner Hot Shot

                              On your MacPro2,1 are you having any networking issues? Two of the MacPro2.1's I setup had intermittent network packet loss. I ended up adding a dual port intel network adapter to resolve that problem.

                               

                              Blake

                              • 13. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                                perquin Lurker

                                Hi,

                                 

                                I can't reply to this.

                                 

                                I just try to make the installation to see, My home lab setup is running under osx/fusion.

                                 

                                Regards,

                                • 14. Re: Mac Pro compatibility with installing ESXi 5.0
                                  CharlesLaCour Lurker

                                  OK, with the two EFI boot files replaced I was able to boot to the USB thumb drive.

                                   

                                  I did not get a chance to try with a non-Apple keyboard but using a standard USB keyboard I could not get it to reconise any of the function keys so I could not move past the installation confirmation screen.

                                   

                                  Update, I tried with annother keyboard (Sun USB Keyboard) and got through the install and on reboot it hangs.  When starting up holding down the <Alt> key it shows an EFI boot device and if I select to boot from it the system hangs.

                                   

                                  I guess next is to replace the EFI boot files on the ESX EFI boot volume.

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