Nov 19, 2014
Hey guys. So... I can't even begin to tell you how much I admire, and love your product: Proxmox VE.

I have a feature request. I believe it's been asked for in the past and the subject often disappears, fading into the background.

The feature? Full macOS (previously Mac OS X) support as a guest operating system. We all know there was a time a decade ago when they first transitioned from the PowerPC architecture to using Intel (although they've used Intel with UEFI instead of BIOS ever since the switch). Mac OS X "Tiger" (v10.4) had a license that did not allow virtualization.

Later, the commercial "Server" version, "Mac OS X Server" v10.5 (Leopard), and additionally "Mac OS X Server" v10.6 (Snow Leopard) were allowed to be virtualized as per the EULA (but the standard, "non-server" version of Mac OS X could not be "legally" virtualized.

Later on, with v10.7 (Lion) through v10.9 (Mavericks) a lot of speculation flew around. The OS had a degree of built in "Terminal Services" functionality (allowing their "Faster User Switching" technology to actually host multiple background GUI sessions for remote users). This, in addition to some odd wording in the EULA saying that if you purchase the OS (and Apple hardware) that you can legally run Mac OS X on Apple hardware, and also an additional "virtual machine", as long as this was done while running the Mac OS X software, on the Mac OS X hardware. Both Parallels desktop, and VMware with their Fusion product (for end user desktop OS virtualization) fully supported Mac OS X.

All that being said, things have changed a lot since then. At this point it seems to be a complete non-issue. VMware's free ESXi Hypervisor, along with their vSphere management suite FULLY supports Mac OS X as a guest OS. And they support this (and allow it) only when you're running the ESXi/vSphere Hypervisor on top of Apple/Mac computer hardware. Their hardware compatibility list (HCL) actually lists, and has fully qualified (in previous versions of ESXi, 5.5 I believe), and also Mac Pro's with the currently shipping ESXi 6.0 U2.

The accepted norm for all of the commercial virtualization products seems to implement exactly what Apple does within OS X itself at boot time. It, verifies the presence of some data "key values" stored on the Apple hardware itself (stored, I think on the main logic/motherboard).

Once this has been verified during the Hypervisor boot up, it recognizes that it's running an Apple hardware, and allows for the guest virtual machine's that are created or imported to be various versions of Mac OS X, listed right there side by side with the other Windows and Linux options.

There are a ton of uses for Enterprise class hosting of some Apple OS X Server Services (such as Apple's Caching Server). Currently this can be done with VMware. You can have a vSphere cluster with a dozen beefy servers in there, and, if just one of them is Apple hardware, then you can run macOS and OS X Server on that particular node.

I do outside engineering work for a reseller/integrator, specializing in Apple technologies. I can't could how many times I counsel customers (especially education), to add an OS X Server VM to their production VMware setup. Many of them end up not following through with this because they can't afford additional vSphere licenses, so they begrudgingly run an isolated ESXi system for the task. I've tried talking them into using Proxmox for this (as they'd get the ability to have a web-admin capable of controlling the whole cluster, and additionally some H/A features. These education customers routinely purchase "Support" along with such things, and I think they'd be served well by Proxmox.

I truly believe that this could be the last straw... I think the potential to run a fully supported VM running macOS / Mac OS X Server would be a HUGE deal and could really facilitate the platform blowing up.

I'd be willing to offer my assistance free of any charges to perform beta testing of the new guest OS types. And I'd also likely become your biggest evangelist.

This can be done from a technical standpoint, and is 1000% fully legit, and legal/acceptable within the current macOS EULA.
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thanks for the long explanation. I just have to add that Proxmox VE is focused on server virtualization and runs best on server hardware.

but apple does not sell server grade hardware. so I mean supporting Proxmox VE for a non-existing hardware platform is more or less useless and I have my doubts that will be the a huge deal.

Btw, if you do some manual configs, OSX runs already on KVM/Proxmox VE - at least there are some community delivered howto around.
To be fair, Apple's "Mac Pro" can, at least in this instance, be considered "server hardware". While a lot of "Apple Server Nerds" (ok, that's probably not really a thing, lol) complain about Apple dropping their Xserve from their hardware lineup, at the time Apple blamed poor sales, and we can probably all imagine that that was true. Anyway, to your point yes, it's true it's no longer natively rack mount form factor (although if that's important to someone they can get something like this: ), and it lacks dual hot-swap power supplies, I think a reasonable case can be made for it anyway (VMware did go to the trouble to officially qualify it as supported on their hardware compatibility list).

The reason I'd give it a pass is this. Even though it's easy to take aim at the form-factor or PSU, the most important components are there. The CPU's are full server class Xeon E5's with 4, 6, 8, and 12-core options (HT capable), it can be loaded with up to 128GB of fully ECC DRAM, and the boot disk is a PCIe attached flash drive performing somewhere in the range of 900MB/s (7,200Mb/s), and 10Gb SFP+ Ethernet, or Fibre Channel can be added via the Thunderbolt ports (the hardware has 3 separate Thunderbolt 2 busses, each of them supporting 20Gb/s of bandwidth).

But, I get it. I'm not at all suggesting that anyone in their right mind (unless their use case is SUPER niche) go out and build their Proxmox cluster fully from Apple Mac Pro's. But what I think would be amazing, is if Proxmox natively supported macOS VM's, and supported the Mac Pro. That way, people could have their cluster of say half a dozen Intel server boxes and add a single (or 2 for HA) Mac Pro to the cluster so they'd have the ability to run macOS VM's, yet still be full cluster participants also capable of running everything else.

Right now, when I do deployments for people within the fairly niche area of "Apple centric I.T.", I'll build them VMware ESXi clusters on Mac Pro (Apple) hardware, and all the Windows Server, and macOS Server VM's run on the VMware Hypervisor, and then I'll put a single VM instance of Proxmox on each of the ESXi servers and get them all to join the cluster. That way they can have Windows and Mac Server support AND enjoy all the benefits of using containers for Linux servers, and have a web admin that is clustered like that. As long as I allocate enough resources to the VM's, and only run Linux LXC containers inside of Proxmox (I don't run any KVM for obvious performance reasons). Having full macOS guest support in Proxmox would allow these setups to be simplified to having a Proxmox installed onto the bare metal of each server and then that unified web admin could be used to control a Hypervisor/VM platform that runs Windows, Mac, and Linux KVM VM's alongside Linux containers. That's just my nerd dream I guess. 'Love your products. 'Props to you.
Yes, I also thought about this. To get MacOS running is not that hard, but it is hard to maintain all releases and test hardware. I virtualized some versions of MacOS in my iMac and it worked reasonable well, but it was really a lot of testing. I don't think that the Proxmox company will buy a bunch of Mac Pro's only to support MacOS, but it's Open Source so hey... just provide it ourselves.

I think this feature will only be implemented if someone steps in and tries to provide a patch and a working test suite for that. If you're not a Mac-centric admin, I don't think you'll going to have a lot of fun with this. The problem is of course the hardware to work with and a simple ROI for Proxmox will not be in the near future (if ever) I guess.

So, we (the community) should try to implement this. I'm willing to work on this in my spare if we (or specially I) could get test hardware (not only one super-old iMac as I'm writting this on right now). I think it's illusory to hope for some donated Mac Pro test hardware, but you said it already: 'just my nerd dream'.

Maybe we should move this discussion on the mailing list, because it's more developing than actual support.


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