Create virtual camera. I have a Mac mini that hosts VMs of every OS X/macOS version from Leopard to Mojave using VMware ESXi 6.0. Because I’m already an old Dutch guy who hates change, I wanted to see if it was possible to get a Catalina VM running without having to upgrade to ESXi 6.5 or 6.7, which would require abandoning its .NET client that I still prefer.
- We all know VMWare start to supporting Mac OS X as VM on latest ESXi hypervisor releases. According to Apple licensing policies, VMware only supports the virtualization of Apple Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) client or server, Apple Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) client or server, Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) client or server, Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) client or server, Mac OS X.
- Jul 24, 2020 On June 4, 2018, Apple released a new version of the MacOS operating system, 10.14, for developers. MacOS 10.14 was called Mojave. The full version of the macOS Mojave will probably be available for everyone in September or October. What is VMware ESXi? VMware ESXi is a server virtualization solution.
- Esxi install mac os x macOS vmware UPDATE 18/10/16: Changed to support 10.12 For one reason or another you need macOS on ESXi tells you that it isn't possible unless your host is a Mac itself.
- Follow these steps to create a virtual machine for macOS to be hosted by VMware ESXi running on a bare-metal server. The VMware ESXi hypervisor installed on a Mac. Operating system.
TL;DR You need to first create a new installation using VMware Fusion and provide an updated EFI.
To get a new version of macOS running in a VM, one could:
- upgrade an existing VM from an earlier version,
- create an installation from scratch by booting a new VM off of installation media, or
- migrate a virtual disk containing an installation created by another program.
I have not tried the first option. If you have a Mojave VM already running, it might actually work to clone and modify it as described below before running the upgrade.
Jun 24, 2020 VMware ESXi is a great option to get the most out of a single server at MacStadium as it’s the only enterprise option available for virtualizing OS X, Windows, and Linux on one machine. You’re probably using MacStadium because you personally use a Mac (let’s call it a MacBook Pro) for day-to-day work and recognize the potential of a.
First attempt using an ISO
Installing macOS to a freshly-created VM within ESXi requires converting the macOS installer application to a bootable ISO file. This procedure is already well-documentedelsewhere since Apple provides a createinstallmedia tool within the installer app itself.
I had no problems creating an ISO as described, but it refused to finish the boot process when attached to a new VM in ESXi—it would always throw the “unbootable volume” symbol at around the 60% mark—despite working in VMware Fusion. I tested ISOs created from the macOS 10.15.1 (15.1.03) installer under 10.11 and 10.13, but both behaved the same way; the workarounds described in this post seem not to work for ESXi 6.0.
Second attempt using Fusion
The latest version of VMware Fusion (11.5) supports macOS Catalina, so you can use it to create a new VM that boots directly from the installer app. Older versions will need to use the workarounds describedhere. I’m still on Fusion 8.5.10, but following the steps in the linked posts got me a working Catalina VM. (One customization I did make was to boost the disk size to 48GB before running the installer, mostly because Xcode will want there to be a lot of free space available before it’ll install.)
Next, create a new VM within VMware ESXi using the .NET client. (I haven’t fully tested whether using the HTML5 client makes a difference, but this was what worked for me.) These were the modifications I made during setup:
- Configuration: Custom
- Name: 10.15 Catalina
- Virtual Machine Version: 9 (ESXi 5.1 and later)
- This is the minimum version required for 10.13 and later, in my experience.
- Guest Operating System: Other > Apple Mac OS X 10.8 (64-bit)
- CPUs: 2 cores
- Disk: Do not create a disk
This gives you a VM in need of a disk and a bit of modification.
Migrate the disk
To get the virtual disk from Fusion into ESXi, use scp to copy the VMDK files from your Mac to the server. (Be sure to enable SSH on your ESXi server, and shut down the source VM first!)
Then SSH into the server and use vmkfstools to convert the VMDK to an ESXi-friendly format and a matching filename, located within the VM’s directory:
You should now have a tiny “10.15 Catalina.vmdk” description file and giant “10.15 Catalina-flat.vmdk” data file in the current directory. Use the ESXi client’s VM editor to add the disk.
Replace the firmware
If you try to boot the VM now, it may freeze during the boot process, or fail to boot at all. This is because the EFI firmware provided by ESXi doesn’t understand the APFS disk format. This we know thanks to this fantastic post that describes how to modify and insert a firmware file into an existing VM, and even provides the modified firmware to save us all the trouble. That version works for 10.13 and 10.14 VMs, but did not for 10.15. Fortunately, all one needs to do is create a new firmware from more up-to-date sources, listed here:
- The latest version of VMware Workstation Pro - I used v15.5.1
- The APFS UEFI Driver extract - derived from macOS Mojave
- UEFITool, a tool for editing UEFI BIOS - download the latest non-_NE_ release, which retains the ability to make firmware modifications
- FFS to convert the APFS driver to UEFI module - unchanged
On Windows 7 or later, grab the
EFI64.ROM file from an installation of VMware Workstation and modify it according to the above post. Or, just download the version I made: efi64_apfs-2019.rom
Upload the new
efi64_apfs-2019.rom file to your VM directory on the server, then SSH into the server again and use a text editor to open the VMX file. Below the
firmware = 'efi' line, add this:
Save and close the file and start up the VM. If all went well, you should have a macOS Catalina VM running under VMware ESXi 6.0!
on VMware ESXi 6.7 U2
** UPDATE 04/15/2020**
Seems you need to start at Mojave to be able to download the full Catalina package from the App Store. I started from Mojave so I never ran into the issues found in the comments. Check the comments for what Adam had to say..
** UPDATE 10/17/2019**
After applying the first update, the VM was rendered un-bootable again. That is the same crash that is originally experienced. SEE Boot Work Around at the bottom.
This exercise was to get a running MacOS Catalina VM instance running on VMware. I first wrote this for Catalina Beta but afte rthe official release, a couple things changed. So now it is how to install Catalina on ESXi 6.7.
I am using a 2013 Mac Pro with VMWare 6.7 U2 installed. I have High Sierra and Mojave VMs running on the host. Running VMs on VMware is something I've done for a few years.
The MacOS Part
If at first You Don't Succeed..
I started with trying to upgrade a Mojave VM to Catalina. I just downloaded Catalina from the Apple Store (Search: macos catalina).
Try Something Else.. And It Worked!
To start from scratch on a Mojave instance, download Catalina from the app store (Search: macos catalina). Just don't run the installer. You need the app image to create the ISO.
The VMware PartI created a blank VM with the following settings:
These are important. Just follow my lead here.
Once the VM is saved, edit the settings and change to
Guest OS: Windows
|Changed to Windows 10|
Open a Remote Console (VMRC)
Reset the VM
The VM should boot to the image and continue installing Catalina. When it finishes (10 or so minutes) it will reboot.
After the reboot, it will freeze on the blank Apple logo or unsuccessfully load MacOS X. Don't fret. We're OK.
Power off the VM
Good luck on your adventure!
Install Mac Os X Vmware
Configure Boot Options
Change Boot Order
Press Enter then change the boot order in the pop up window using + and - keys. Press Escape when done editing.
Move EFI Virtual SATA Hard Drive (0.0) to the Top
You can see I change the overall boot order to:
Mac OS X