ESXi running on a i9 MacBook

So I was trying out some lab things recently and many of you know I have always had a fondness for Mac’s in my environment. I thought I would take a little bit of time to see if I could get this going and put the steps down here if you wanted to try it

At the time of writing the ESXI installer and kernel currently can not unlock the T2 chip on the device. What this means is you can not use the local storage on the device so you will need some shared storage to create VMs

You will also need a USB-C network adaptor or one with a USB-C adaptor

Also the keyboard does not seem to work after boot so have a USB one handy

A few I have USB devices I have tried are here

Linksys USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Dodocool usb-c hub – Again not always seen on first boot and needs a cable plugged in

StarTech.com DKT30CHV USB-C – Same as above and sometimes picked up if I had a ethernet cable plugged in or after a reboot with the Linksys plugged in

To use this you also need a customised VMware ISO so it has the USB NIC drivers in it

To create this you will need the latest copy of ESXI as a zip file and also the latest NIC driver from the fling here

Once you have all these I dump both zip files into a folder and then fire up Powershell.

Firstly you will need PowerCLI if you don’t already and you can install it if the machine has an internet connection like so

Install-Module VMware.PowerCLI

Then navigate to your folder and use the following commands substituting your folder and file names of course 🙂 The image profile is shown when you run the Get-EsxImageProfile. I did want to get crazy with variables and I may well create a script or pipe line to do this at some point

cd c:\esx
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\VMware-ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-depot.zip
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\ESXi701-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-40599856-component-17078334.zip
New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile "ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-standard" -name "ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-standard-USBNIC" -Vendor "virtualisedfruit.co.uk"
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-standard-USBNIC" -SoftwarePackage "vmkusb-nic-fling"
Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-standard-USBNIC" -ExportToIso -filepath ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-USBNIC.iso

Once you are done you should see something similar to the above and you should then copy this to ideally a 16GB or larger USB stick with something like Rufus

FYI:- A similar approach can be taken for some of the new NUCs to bake in the drivers

Next connect up your USB NIC also ensuring a network cable is plugged in, then boot up your Mac holding down the options key and selecting your USB stick

You should now see your usual boot screen as expected, if you see a NIC can not be found try and move it around the ports plugged in or even within ports of the hub if you are using one. Oh and don’t forget that USB keyboard as you can’t use the inbuilt one

If you get a python error during the install again do not fear! Just reboot the Mac holding the option key and then select the USB drive. You will then need to press F2 and connect the NIC in the management network options. Oh and the password may well be blank not the one you put in during the install

If the installation is also successful you may well still need to select the USB stick using the option key if you still have a bootable Mac hard drive still in the system

Hopefully once booted you should see this

You should now be able to also log into the ESXI page and make sure NTP is set ready to join it to your vCenter


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