How to Virtualize Mac OS X using ESXi 5.1

As a proof of concept I recently tried to virtualize OS X (Mountain Lion) – It is important to note that VMware is now licensed to do so and you can read more here.

The following is an overview of the steps I followed to achieve my goal in some cases it was trial an error as I am not a regular Mac user.

The Hardware

As OS X requires Apple hardware to run you will have to find yourself a Mac that will install and run ESXi. You can check VMware’s HCL even though the results only listed MacPro5,1 I was able to run ESXi 5.1 on a MacPro4,1. I did try it on an earlier MacPro but no joy. For this proof of concept test i have the following hardware.

  • 2x 4core MacPro4,1
  • 7GB Ram
  • Single 1TB SATA Drive

I am also aware others have used Mac mini’s as Lab machines but I will not cover that here.

ESXi installation

The installation is simple, by burning an ISO with ESXi 5.1 and booting the MacPro from the CD and then follow the usual steps to deploy ESXi.

Note – if you find nothing happens and you end up with a black screen with “Select CD-ROM boot type” its likely your MacPro cannot run ESXi though I have read a few article where individuals have performed firmware updates etc.

Once you have have ESXi installed configure it in what ever fashion you wish (a static IP is never a bad idea)

[Read more…]

vSphere Security: Understanding ESXi 5.x Lockdown Mode

Security-GuardThis is the first article in a series of vSphere Security articles that I have planned. The majority of this article is based on vSphere/ESXi 5.1, though I will include any 5.5 information that I find relevant.

I think lockdown mode is a feature that is rarely understood, and even more rarely used. Researching this article I’ve already encountered several different definitions that weren’t quite right. As far as I can see there are no differences between lockdown more in 5.5 and 5.1.

The vSphere Security guide says (emphasis mine):

To increase the security of your ESXi hosts, you can put them in lockdown mode. In lockdown mode, all
operations must be performed through vCenter Server
. Only the vpxuser user has authentication
permissions, no other users can perform operations against the host directly.

In short, lockdown mode means you can ONLY manage the host via vCenter. The only exception is via the DCUI. [Read more…]

DataStore conflicts with an existing DataStore in the DataCenter – Manually disabling Storage I/O Control

vmware logoI ran into this issue yesterday while reconnecting hosts in our vCenter Server following a complete reinstall – the reasons for which are a long story, but suffice to say that there were new certificates and the host passwords were encrypted with the old ones.

The LUNs had been unpresented at the hardware level by the storage team, but had not been unmounted or removed from vCenter. This is *not* the way to remove storage – let me re-iterate: remove storage properly. Unfortunately in this case the storage was removed badly – doing this can lead to a condition called “All Paths Down” or APD which is best explained by Cormac Hogan (@vmwarestorage) in the article Handling the All Paths Down (APD) condition.

[Read more…]