Hosting MacOS VM's on Mac Mini

Mwhitten
New Contributor

We have a lot of people in our environment that just have a Mac for testing and primarily use a PC. I am trying to look at ways to cut back on hardware and save some money. I was wondering if other companies were starting to put MacOS VM's on a Mac Mini to help reduce the number of machines? Andy advice would be appreciated.

5 REPLIES 5

AJPinto
Contributor III

Unfortunately macOS's EULA generally kills this. Apple typcially does not enforce this vary much, but good luck getting your employer to agree to the risk. I recommend looking in to something like Mac Stadium, or Amazon's hosted Mac Solutions. Most hosted solutions are just leased devices which Apple formally allowed with Big Sur for 1:1 usage.

Here is the EULA the quote below is from.

B. Mac App Store License. If you obtained a license for the Apple Software from the Mac App Store or through an automatic download, then subject to the terms and conditions of this License and as permitted by the Services and Content Usage Rules set forth in the Apple Media Services Terms and Conditions (https://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/) (“Usage Rules”), you are granted a limited, non-transferable, non-exclusive license: (i) to download, install, use and run for personal, non-commercial use, one (1) copy of the Apple Software directly on each Apple-branded computer running macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra, macOS Sierra, OS X El Capitan, OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, OS X Mountain Lion or OS X Lion (“Mac Computer”) that you own or control; (ii) If you are a commercial enterprise or educational institution, to download, install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software for use either: (a) by a single individual on each of the Mac Computer(s) that you own or control, or (b) by multiple individuals on a single shared Mac Computer that you own or control. For example, a single employee may use the Apple Software on both the employee’s desktop Mac Computer and laptop Mac Computer, or multiple students may serially use the Apple Software on a single Mac Computer located at a resource center or library; and (iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software, for purposes of: (a) software development; (b) testing during software development; (c) using macOS Server; or (d) personal, non-commercial use. Except as expressly permitted in Section 3, the grant set forth in Section 2B(iii) above does not permit you to use the virtualized copies or instances of the Apple Software in connection with service bureau, time-sharing, terminal sharing or other similar types of services. Except as expressly permitted in this Section 2B, you may not use the Apple Software to run any Apple operating system software, including iOS, iPadOS, watchOS or tvOS, in virtual operating system environments on Mac Computer(s)

TL;DR: Apple allows 2 VM's per physical machine (host), but only the person who uses the host can use the VM's. So it is still 1:1 even though you have 3 instances of macOS, only 1 person can use the 3.

cwaldrip
Valued Contributor

@AJPinto, this is why my org is moving from Mac to Windows. When covid struck we needed too be able to edit from home without buying everyone new laptops or letting them take home edit bays full of gear. There are plenty of low-latency solutions that leverage Windows because of how it's licensed. By the end of the year or middle of next we'll only have a handful of Mac-based edit bays remaining. Still plenty of other Macs in the org, but just not for the heavy duty stuff.

It all comes down to Apple being a hardware company and not a software company. They make software to help sell their hardware.

AJPinto
Contributor III

@cwaldrip We are for the most part a windows shop here. We have about 400 Macs and some 50k Windows devices. To get a Mac you either need to have a bunch of letters in front of your officer title or a really good business justification. Despite how hard JAMF tries Apple has very little interest in Macs working in any enterprise environment that has anything close to central device management. Apple functionally breaking managing macOS updates with Apple Silicon, and not offering something close to a replacement to softwareupdate with Big Sur. Making us wait until Monetary is a good example of Apples lack of interest in central management.

What I have to keep explaining to my employer. Apple is a hardware company, they could not care less about virtualizing macOS. Apple is a consumer focused company and could not care less about enterprise. We have a lot of offshore contractors and for legal reasons they cannot have Macs out of the country. So we have some Mac Stadium like solution setup in our datacenter where these contractors remote in to the Macs. Needless to say I have had to explain the Apple does not allow macOS VM's for this kind of function many many times.

I would love if Apple would get with the program, but they want to be a consumer focused company and have made a lot of money with their stances. Apple really has no place in enterprise, and us JAMF Admins are here to make it work kinda.

user-NRIIKpWHwC
New Contributor

Hi All,

I'm trying to run a couple of VM's on my mac mini but really gets bogged down quickly with just one. What I'd like to do is wipe the mini out and install Linux on it, then install VMWare to host OSX VM's.

I was wondering if this was possible with out having to break any EULA's or agreements with any of the companies.

sdagley
Honored Contributor II

@user-NRIIKpWHwC Rather than installing Linux on your Mac mini to then install VMware to run VMs why not just install ESXi on it to run the VMs directly? That will allow you to use VMware Fusion Pro to control the VMs (if you don't want to deal with the ESXi web console). You'll find a lot of info about doing this on https://williamlam.com/apple