Mac OS X Lion on vSphere ESXi 5

       348 words, 2 minutes

I find my MacBook Pro mid-2009 quite slow when rendering my personal H.264. I would like to see if the Sandy Bridge Core i5 2500T in my hypervisor does a better job. So I installed Mac OS X Lion as a virtual machine on my ESXi v5.

I’m not sure about licensing… Purchasing Lion for App Store for your Mac, you seem to have the right to install it on every Mac you own… My Hypervisor is not a Mac… But I bought Lion… Anyway, here’s a simple way to install Mac OS X Lion in ESXi 5.

By default, there is a Mac OS X template in ESXi wizard. But it won’t boot.

So grab the ESXi 5 Mac OS X Unlocker archive. Transfer the esxi directory to the ESXi, run the script and reboot:

  # cd Downloads
  # cd unlock-all-v110
  # scp -pr esxi
  # ssh
  $ cd /tmp
  $ ./
  $ reboot

Wait for the ESXi to reboot and connect the vSphere client to create the virtual machine. From the “Create New Virtual Machine” wizard, select “Custom” configuration. Fill-in the VM name, destination storage and Virtual Machine Version (I used v8). As the “Guest Operating System”, select “Apple Mac OS X 10.7 (64-bit)” from the “Other” section. Follow the wizard until the VM is created. Attach the installation image in DMG format and start the installation.

Once done, install the VMware Tools.

Activate remote connexion using the “System Preferences”. Click the “Sharing” icon in the “Internet & Wireless” section. In the “Service” section, click the “Remote Management” item. Select the permissions for remote users ; mine can do everything. Then, connect to the Mac using the reference in your finder. From there, play with it as usual!

Regarding performance, the virtual machine behaves quite normally (in remote connexion ; the VMware console lags a lot). Only running GeekBench on it indicates that I don’t really benefit of the CPU upgrade: 3584 for the MacBook Pro vs 4229 for the virtual machine.

That won’t prevent me to looking at the new MacBook Air mid-2012…