VMware ditches plans to support EXSi on 2019 Mac Pro

Posted:
in macOS edited September 2021
Virtualization specialist VMware no longer has plans to support Apple's 2019 Mac Pro, the company said last week, dashing the hopes of system administrators eager to run ESXi on the high-end workstation.

Mac Pro


Announced in a post to its official blog, VMware blamed the shift in strategy on COVID-19 and Apple's transition to Apple Silicon.

"Due to various challenges of COVID-19 and the recent announcement from Apple on their transition away from x86 to Apple Silicon, VMware will no longer pursue hardware certification for the Apple 2019 Mac Pro 7,1 for ESXi," the company said.

Customers who require access to VMware's latest macOS virtualization platform are limited to the 2018 Mac Mini and 2013 "trash can" Mac Pro.

As noted by The Register, Apple allows users to run macOS virtual machines, but only on Mac hardware.

The publication offers a bit of background on VMware's decision, saying employees note an internal process that requires them to bid on funding for projects. Resources could be scarce for an Intel Mac Pro as Apple and VMware shift focus to M-series processors.

Administrators looking for comparable solutions have few options, as the current-generation Mac Pro offers considerably more power for virtualization tasks than either Mac mini or the previous Mac Pro. While not equivalent to local VMs, Amazon's native Mac instances for AWS, a service powered by Mac minis, is a decent option.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Bait & switch
    watto_cobraols
  • Reply 2 of 11
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,524member
    I think they’re being a bit silly, but of course I don’t know how many 2019 Mac Pros are out there, so it is hard to guess what percentage of those might require this service.

    Given that we know the Mac Pro will soon be upgraded to Apple Silicon, VMWare is probably just being prudent, anticipating that there will be a “super cycle” of Mx Mac Pros when they are announced. They did not rule out certifying those future MPs.
    edited September 2021 MisterKitStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    chasm said:
    I think they’re being a bit silly, but of course I don’t know how many 2019 Mac Pros are out there, so it is hard to guess what percentage of those might require this service.

    Given that we know the Mac Pro will soon be upgraded to Apple Silicon, VMWare is probably just being prudent, anticipating that there will be a “super cycle” of Mx Mac Pros when they are announced. They did not rule out certifying those future MPs.
    Has anyone heard anything from VMWare as to whether they will ever support M-series Macs? They haven't been that great about supporting Macs period.

    I can't keep up with who actually own VMWare at the moment. Dell was supposed to spin it off but the VMWare website timeline still says Dell owns it. If Dell still owns it I can see why they could care less about anything dealing with Macs.
    ikirOferKTRwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    rob53 said:
    chasm said:
    I think they’re being a bit silly, but of course I don’t know how many 2019 Mac Pros are out there, so it is hard to guess what percentage of those might require this service.

    Given that we know the Mac Pro will soon be upgraded to Apple Silicon, VMWare is probably just being prudent, anticipating that there will be a “super cycle” of Mx Mac Pros when they are announced. They did not rule out certifying those future MPs.
    Has anyone heard anything from VMWare as to whether they will ever support M-series Macs? They haven't been that great about supporting Macs period.

    I can't keep up with who actually own VMWare at the moment. Dell was supposed to spin it off but the VMWare website timeline still says Dell owns it. If Dell still owns it I can see why they could care less about anything dealing with Macs.
    Dell still owns it, but the VMWare employees I've spoken with are still expecting a spinoff.

    And I doubt they'll announce anything with regards to M-series until things are a bit more settled, say, end of 2022 (my guess.)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,124member
    So, is the product not running, or just not “certified” i.e. not tested as nausea?

    I know from other software that runs just fine on a particular platform without being “certified”…
    darkvader
  • Reply 6 of 11
    Has VMWare announced anything good in the last few years? Seriously, they seem to have gone downhill.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    VMware Fusion does not run on Apple Silicon today, but VMware has stated they are working on it. A blog post by their product manager says they have internal versions of it running. They also say they are planning a public beta. I’m keeping an eye on VMworld to see if they are going to release more details. 
    But set your expectations. When released on Apple Silicon, Fusion will run ARM operating systems, not x86. Same as Parallels. Which means existing VMs of x86/x86_64 won’t run. Both Parallels and Fusion are, after all,  virtualization products for a given chipset architecture and not cross-architecture instruction set emulation. Also consider that Microsoft doesn’t currently sell an ARM version of Windows to anyone other than hardware OEMs and doesn’t support it on Apple Silicon chipsets. 
    Rosetta 2 doesn’t solve the problems that would allow Fusion to run under Apple Silicon. It was designed for a simpler problem : user mode Intel applications. It does not have the full Intel architecture instruction set and architecture emulation that would allow an x86 operating system to run in emulation. The tricks used by Rosetta to get acceptable performance likely would not be applicable to emulating an x86 operating system due to the highly dynamic nature of code execution. 
    watto_cobraikir
  • Reply 8 of 11
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,804moderator
    rob53 said:
    chasm said:
    I think they’re being a bit silly, but of course I don’t know how many 2019 Mac Pros are out there, so it is hard to guess what percentage of those might require this service.

    Given that we know the Mac Pro will soon be upgraded to Apple Silicon, VMWare is probably just being prudent, anticipating that there will be a “super cycle” of Mx Mac Pros when they are announced. They did not rule out certifying those future MPs.
    Has anyone heard anything from VMWare as to whether they will ever support M-series Macs?
    Here is a blog post they made about it:

    https://blogs.vmware.com/teamfusion/2021/04/fusion-on-apple-silicon-progress-update.html

    There is still a market for being able to run different Mac systems in a VM for iOS developers. Being able to push code into a shared repository and have servers build the iOS app on a Mac VM and run automated tests makes production easier. They said they'd need Apple to work with them to support this for Apple Silicon.

    It looks like they are quite far behind Parallels as they have no 3D support and aren't looking into Windows yet due to the licensing so it's basically Linux.

    Parallels supports running macOS inside the VM on M1 already so they have Mac, Windows and Linux running and 3D support:

    https://www.parallels.com/blogs/macos-monterey/

    Apple must have been helping Parallels out on this because they've been very quick getting all the functionality in place. Windows licensing is still an issue but one of Microsoft's VPs is running Windows on Parallels on their M1 Mac:



    There's too much work and collaboration that's gone into getting Windows running under Parallels that it seems likely they will license it at some point but it's unusual that they haven't said so officially. It would be a lot of wasted effort if they decide to never offer an official license. If a Windows ARM license becomes available, VMWare will probably look into supporting it too.

    It makes sense not to support the Intel Mac Pro for this, the unit volume of these models is in the low tens of thousands per year and the fraction of those that would want to run some complex VM setup must be in the hundreds at most.
    watto_cobratenthousandthings
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Dell is still spinning off VMware. Just going through the paperwork. 

    Currently VMware have no plans to support x86 virtualisation on M1 macs. From the consumer products, the new version of VMware Fusion when released will be limited to ARM based operating systems. MacOS VM's will not be supported initially but is planned down the track. 
    There is a side project for ESXI on ARM. It is what they call a 'Fling' which is a side project instead of mainstream development (https://flings.vmware.com/esxi-arm-edition). 
    Suspect if the intent is ever to support ESXI on M1* moving forward, it would need to be a variation of this Fling. So keep an eye on its progress if that is of interest. 
    darkvader
  • Reply 10 of 11
    EXSi is a type-1 hypervisor which means it runs on bare metal not on MacOS. Getting that to work on an Intel Mac is probably doable but you would have to work around the T2 boot loader restrictions. Getting it to work on an Apple silicon Mac is going to be similar to the work that the Asahi Linux port is doing. I’m not sure that is viable for a commercial product without Apple’s blessing and support. 

    The reason for supporting Apple silicon virtualization is to be able to legally virtualize MacOS—even if only on a type-2 hypervisor. This is now possible on Monterey. I have an open source (not Parallels) MacOS VM working quite well with a few oddities. The worse problem is I can’t seem to log into my iCloud account. This makes running Xcode problematic since developer accounts are tied to iCloud accounts via an Apple ID. Xcode is probably the most likely reason to run MacOS virtualized so Apple needs to fix their APIs or iCloud. 
    edited September 2021
  • Reply 11 of 11
    rcfa said:
    So, is the product not running, or just not “certified” i.e. not tested as nausea?

    I know from other software that runs just fine on a particular platform without being “certified”…

    Probably just not certified.  EXSi runs on lots of hardware it's not "certified" to run on.

    I don't have a 2019 Mac Pro to test it on, otherwise I'd already have tested it.
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