We all know that ESXi runs pretty flawlessly (for the most part) on Apple Mac Pro's (5,1 & 6,1) and Apple Mac Mini's (5,x & 6,x), but what about when it comes to consumer laptops/desktops like a MacBook Pro/Air and even the iMacs? As you probably have guessed from the the title, you can run ESXi on any of these systems (which has been made easier with the latest ESXi release), in fact over the weekend I had some fun with some of the Apple hardware I had at my disposal.
UPDATE (05/18/22) - ESXi 7.0 Update 3d works out of the box with the 27" iMac 18,3 (2017) model
- 27" iMac 18,3
- 27" iMac 12,1
- 13" MacBook Pro 7,1
- 15" MacBook Pro 8,2
- 13" MacBook Air 6,2
One of the issues I have encountered in the past when trying to install ESXi on my 15" MacBook Pro 8,2 (shown in the center of the picture) is that the keyboard (both the on-board and USB) would stop functioning once the ESXi installer started up. I could never figure out why and to be honest, I never really looked into the problem. I recently found out this issue has been resolved with the latest ESXi 5.5 Update Patch03 which also enables support for the new Mac Pro 6,1 and other bug fixes. It was good to learn from one of my readers, that the keyboard issue has been fixed using the latest 5.5u2 Patch03 image. If you look below, I actually went through and installed the latest ESXi release on each of these platforms which were all straight forward using a bootable USB key except for MacBook Air 6,2 which required adding the iovDisableIR=true boot option which I have blogged about here.
Whether you need to run ESXi on server grade hardware like an Apple Mac Pro or a tiny and lower power platform like the Apple Mac Mini or a consumer laptop/desktop like MacBook Pro/Air or an iMac where ESXi can be available wherever you go which is great for frequent travelers. As you can see, you have plenty of options for running ESXi on Apple hardware!
MacBook Pro 7,1
MacBook Pro 8,2
MacBook Air 6,2