Over the years, there have been various Apple issues that have required different hacks/tweaks to get a stock ESXi image to install on an Apple Mac Mini. Even though the only officially supported Apple platform for ESXi is the Apple Mac Pro, VMware Engineering, CPD and Hardware QE have been working hard to back porting as many of these "fixes/tweaks" to provide the best user experience possible for installing ESXi on non-supported Apple hardware. As you can imagine, the amount of work required to manage hardware on the official VMware HCL is no small task and then trying to back port non-supported platforms is even more challenging from a support standpoint.
The release of ESXi 6.0 is a significant release in my opinion as it contains the final few fixes that have plagued earlier version of the Mac Mini platform, especially starting with the Mac Mini 6,2 and greater models. I am please to announce that the stock ESXi 6.0 image now works on all Mac Mini platforms starting from 5,1 and newer as well as Mac Pro 6,1 platform and newer. There are no additional tweaks or custom ISOs that will be required for a fully functional ESXi installation with proper networking enabled. In fact, if you have a Thunderbolt Ethernet Adapter connected to either a Mac Mini or Mac Pro, you will also notice that it is automatically recognized without any additional driver or tweaks to the driver map files.
Disclaimer: Running ESXi on an Apple Mac Mini is not officially supported by VMware, please use at your own risk
One caveat that I would like to highlight is for the recent 2014 Mac Mini 7,1 or newer models where the SATA HDD is not automatically detected due to a change in the disk model made by Apple. Unfortunately, due to the late release of the 2014 Mac Mini, the required PCI ID to recognize the drive could not be added to the stock image of ESXi 6.0. Luckily, the resolution is quite easy and you can download and apply this custom VIB to get the SATA HDD recognized. I have been told that the plan is to get this fix in the next update/patch release so hopefully in the near future, no additional tweaks are required … unless Apple decides to change something on us again 🙂
Here are screenshots of running ESXi 6.0 on both the Apple Mac Mini and Mac Pro: