A few weeks ago, I installed ESXi 5 on my new Mac Mini using the installation instructions from Paraguin. Everything was running perfectly until a few days ago. It was all working so well that I was getting ready
to move other VMs I have off some old equipment to it and retire the machines.
I’ve discussed my fondness for this configuration and thanks to Chris for the mention on his blog site.
But to my surprise one morning, all of my VMs on the Mac Mini were all off line.
I had to log in directly to the Mac Mini and found that the management NIC (the only NIC, btw) was completely missing. I tried the DCUI method to completely reset the network settings to default and rebooted the Mac. After the reboot, the network card was available again and I was able to successfully reconfigure the management network NIC and everything was back online.
However, after about 10-12 hours, it disappeared again. I have to start digging into log files next week to see if I can find any indication of what is happening, but there seems to be a pattern of after a period of time working perfectly, it drops off. I’m not sure about the driver loading or checking processes ESXi 5 uses, but it seems to indicate a pattern of trying to reload or re-read the loaded modules or drivers and it just can’t load the Broadcom NIC driver I installed vial Paraguin’s instructions.
What makes this make less sense to me is it ran perfectly for almost a month, with no power cycles or updates and just started failing.
I know from the response on twitter that this is a popular idea, so I’d like to leverage the VMware discussion forums to centralize anything that the community discovers about deploying and supporting ESXi on MacMini. I found a discussion thread that seems to be a good fit here
I started with a simple change and set the vmnic0 to 1000 Full Duplex instead of Autonegotiate. It hasn’t dropped off after 46 hours of normal use. I’ll continue to track it and update as things change.
Now you can add another NIC using the Thunderbolt port! VirtuallyGhetto has a great post on how to do it.