Mac – Confusion about installing ESXi on Apple hardware

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I am confused about VMware and/or Apple's commitment to supporting ESXi running natively on Apple

According to VMware, there are only 8 Apple products that support running ESXi natively (see table below). Only 5 of these are Mac Pros and of those, none are the current model of the Mac Pro (MacPro 7,1).

Additionally, from my own experimenting around, any version of ESXi (up to and including 7.0b) fails to successfully install on a Mac that already has Big Sur installed. It boots and the ESXi installer runs, but ultimately it fails.
And since Big Sur has been out for 5 months and no version of ESXi (that I am aware of) will install on a machine running that, I have to conclude that VMware and/or Apple isn't serious about supporting ESXi natively on Apple hardware.

My plan was to purchase Apple hardware (a rack mounted Mac Pro) so I could run, among other OSes, a virtual Mac. But this goal is looking more and more unrealistic.

Have I missed something? Are people out there successfully installing ESXi over their MacPro7,1 machine's Mac OS Big Sur (specifically Big Sur)? Has anyone successfully installed any version of ESXi on top of Big Sur running on any Mac (i.e. not necessarily the MacPro 7,1)? And if people are able to do this, how are they doing it? I have been using UNetbootin to create bootable flash drives from ESXi ISO images. These all boot and run the ESXi installer (regardless of ESXi version), but the ESXi installer never completes successfully.

And… when I say "on top of" I mean replacing the existing Big Sur OS with ESXi such that booting the machine takes you straight into ESXi.

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Best Answer

I don't believe that Apple has any goal of supporting ESXi natively. Officially Apple supports installation of macOS and Windows via bootcamp on certain Apple hardware, afiak.

I believe the ball is in VMware's court: if VMware wants to include support for Apple hardware configurations they're free to do so. They even might get lucky and an Apple product matches a hardware configuration that they already support. I'm not aware of Apple contributing to the VMware code, and from what I understand Apple is not likely to design a hardware configuration specifically around the ability to support existing ESXi code.

If you want to run VMWare guest operating systems on Apple hardware that isn't explicitly supported by VMWare for ESXi you might want to investigate if VMWare Fusion meets your requirements.