Great news – Pedro Costa has got a working solution! Apple Mac Mini 2010, 2011, and 2012 models all boot a patched version of VMware ESX 5.0:
I’d always wanted a small VMware vSphere 5 (ESXi) lab farm up and running, and I wanted to use Apple Mac Minis just for compactness and the silence. It has to be vSphere ESX or ESXi, not VMware Fusion or Parallels, because my clients all use ESXi and I wanted to be able to do things like VMotion and Storage VMotion.
These ISOs work for my Apple Mac Mini 2011 (5.1):
Download the ISO, burn it to CD, and boot from it. The install goes flawlessly. The USB keyboard works, video out (via HDMI!) works, and the onboard Ethernet wired network card works. WiFi doesn’t, but that’s okay – I wouldn’t even run a lab off that.
Presto – my Ikea datacenter comes to life!
That’s two Mac Minis running VMware ESXi 5, a cheap $250 Netgear NAS handling the storage duties for shared storage, and a few other pieces of unrelated tech gear.