Mac OS X Lion on vSphere ESXi 5

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.

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Monitor VMware vSphere from FreeBSD using the Perl SDK

VMware provides a CLI and a Perl SDK that allows managing and monitoring vSphere and ESXi environment from Windows and Linux. The Perl SDK is also available in the FreeBSD ports tree.

Here’s how to install and, basically, use the VMware Perl SDK on FreeBSD.

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Buffalo LinkStation Mini as an iSCSI target for VMware ESXi

I own a Buffalo LinkStation Mini that does nothing now that the Synology DS409slim owns my files. Because the LS Mini has two 500GB disks, I thought it might do a nice iSCSI target for my ESXi. The thing is: the stock firmware doesn’t offer iSCSI feature.

This is how I turned my LinkStation Mini into a iSCSI target for VMware, using Debian 6.

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Restore thin provisioning on ESXi

When I wrote about moving VM on ESXi without VMotion or Storage VMotion, I forgot about one neat VMware feature: thin provisioning. Quoting VMware: “(…) Thin Provisioning, a key component of vStorage, allows over-allocation of storage capacity for increased storage utilization, enhanced application uptime and simplified storage capacity management. (…)”. This means that a virtual machine configured with a 20GB virtual disk and only using 7GB of real data will see a 20GB disk but the file will only consume 7GB on the ESX storage. If the VM uses more storage, the file will grow until it reaches 20GB. Since then, you can save the storage for other VM.

The thing is, when you manually move the virtual machines, using the copy/paste tweak from datastore browse windows, the destination VMDK files are expanded to their “Provisionned Size”. That is, you loose thin provisioning benefit. Here’s the tweak to rethin the VMDK files.
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Providing a Nexenta iSCSI target to an ESXi initiator

Here’s the deal: create a ZFS volume on the Nexenta server, share it as iSCSI and attach it using the software iSCSI initiator from ESXi 5.
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