OS X January 25, 2013 at 7:37 am

Virtualizing OS X

Virtualization is becoming more prevalent in the enterprise (if not the standard for many places).  How does one virtualize OS X and at what cost you may ask? You can do it for free, believe it or not, using ESXi.  ESXi officially supports Mac Pros (the “newest” revision) and unofficially works on Mac Minis.

Rich Trouton recently explored settings up ESXi on a 2011 Mac Mini and wrote up his experience here.  It is well worth checking out if you would like to virtualize OS X.  Rich was also kind enough to document how one might use VMware Fusion along with several common OS X deployment tools in another post.

Nate Walck

Nate is a Systems Reliability Engineer at Dropbox, Inc in San Francisco, CA. He runs afp548.com along with Sam Keeley and is one of the founding members of the ##osx-server IRC channel on freenode.net. He loves being involved in the Mac Admin community and using Open Source projects whenever possible, especially Munki, The Luggage and Puppet.

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  • I get asked every now and again if we can put OS X in the company v-sphere. I was told by Apple a few years ago that their license doesn’t allow for virtualization of Mac OS X non-Mac hardware. Does anyone know if this is still the case? I’d love to start saying “yes” to such requests. Thank you for the post!

  • According to the 10.8 License Agreement found here: http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/OSX108.pdf

    “(iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software
    within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is
    already running the Apple Software, for purposes of: (a) software development; (b) testing
    during software development; (c) using OS X Server; or (d) personal, non-commercial use.”

    So it looks like virtualizing is ok, but it must be on Apple hardware.

  • esxi has checks in place to prevent os x as a guest. it works on macpro, xserve and mini after some fiddling.

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