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10.6 Virtualize machine-specific OS X Server in Fusion OS X Server
Snow Leopard only hintI did all this on a new mid-2010 Mac mini Server (with an external MacBook Air SuperDrive), with OS X Server 10.6.5 (re)installed on the upper drive (*disk1*) and OS X client 10.6.5 (and Fusion, many other apps, etc.) installed on the lower drive (*disk0*): i.e., with the computer used mainly as a client desktop rather than a server; so, virtualizing the server OS might be the most convenient solution, while - if desired - also being able to natively boot into the server (at least as an experiment).

So, you want to virtualize a whole hard drive (HD) with OS X Server installed? Or, more simply, if you want to install OS X Server onto an 'ordinary,' file-based Fusion virtual machine (VM), but only have a machine-specific install DVD (which will refuse to install if used to boot the VM), here is what I did.

Part 1: If you want to virtualize a whole disk:
  • Create a new Mac OS X Server (10.6 and 64-bit, in this case) VM and customize its settings (I named it 'Mac OS X Server' and created it in /Users/Shared/Virtual Machines.localized).
  • Delete the virtual file-based 40 GB SCSI .vmdk which was automatically created during the VM setup (from within the VM settings; I also reverted it to a non-split disk before).
  • Exit Fusion.
  • Enter the Terminal, and execute this command (but YMMV with the physical disk number and the VM path):
     /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmware-rawdiskCreator create /dev/disk1 fullDevice /Users/Shared/Virtual Machines.localized/Mac OS X Server.vmwarevm/Mac OS X Server lsilogic
  • Open the VM's .vmx configuration file in a text editor (TextEdit or similar), add these lines and save (see also the previous thread):
  •  suspend.disabled = "TRUE"
     scsi0:0.deviceType = "rawDisk"
  • Run the Mac OS X Server VM (the first time, you will have to authenticate - which is optional subsequently - and there will be a message saying that a raw SCSI disk might be slow with dual booting, etc., or something like that): and voilą - it should work as if it were a 'real' Boot Camp partition VM.)
At least, the procedure above worked for me; of course, then, you also have to install the VMware Tools and, optionally, the third party VMsvga2 audio drivers (a SourceForge project: they also have enhanced video drivers): BTW, more complete 'official' VMware Tools for Mac OS X would be a very good thing for Fusion 4.

P.S.: I had to choose SCSI (as it also were in the originally created file-based VM), because IDE didn't work: it gave a bus error when trying to create the 'Boot Camp-like' .vmdk with the fullDevice parameter; maybe because the internal Mac mini Server HDs are SATA, or because it is Mac OS X, or even because the OS is on a GPT-formatted HD?

Part 2: If you want to install OS X Server in a Fusion VM with a machine-specific DVD:

Create the VM as usual, customize it and exit Fusion; then, mount the VM in the Finder with VMDKMounter (located in the /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion folder), and instead of booting the VM from the DVD open
/Volumes/Mac OS X Server Install Disc/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg
It's invisible, so you might need TinkerTool, or something similar, or run
open /Volumes/Mac OS X Server Install Disc/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg
in the Terminal. The install package is located on the DVD and you may install OS X Server on the mounted disk image directly from there.

As you now install from your original machine (but to another HD), it will work (and if you want to change the default 40 GB virtual HD size, which might be a little small, you can reformat the mounted virtual hard drive with Disk Utility before installing OS X Server onto it).

Certainly, it's easier to manage file-based VMs, so for now I went back to using the upper drive in the Mac mini Server as a dedicated VM storage HD, and thus installed OS X Server in an 'ordinary' VM.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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10.6 Virtualize machine-specific OS X Server in Fusion
Authored by: onkelringelhuth on Dec 20, '10 08:12:41AM

I beat my head against this particular wall for a while. The solution I finally arrived at (with Parallels, rather than VMWare Fusion, and with a 2009-model Mac Mini server, rather than mid-2010) was to create a new two-core Mac OS X VM, boot it off a standard Mac OS X Snow Leopard retail DVD, and use it to restore from a Time Machine back-up of Mac OS X Server. Worked a treat.

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10.6 Virtualize machine-specific OS X Server in Fusion
Authored by: Sven G on Dec 21, '10 12:42:18AM

BTW, I tried to install by booting directly from the DVD in a new Parallels Desktop 6 OS X Server VM, and it worked out of the box (i.e., it accepted to install also when booted form the machine-specific DVD): which is a good thing, as in Parallels you can't apply the "OSInstall" workaround, as there is no preformatted HFS+ virtual disk to mount.

As for the hint, it looks like the code, for some strange reason, is missing the backslashes (or the quotes, alternatively); so, it should be, respectively, in the Terminal:

/Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmware-rawdiskCreator create /dev/disk1 fullDevice /Users/Shared/Virtual\ Machines.localized/Mac\ OS\ X\ Server.vmwarevm/Mac\ OS\ X\ Server lsilogic

/Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Server\ Install\ Disc/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg

open /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Server\ Install\ Disc/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg

... if you copy and paste the text. And the "see also the previous thread" sentence of course shouldn't have been there (sorry for the mistake): it was a reference to a thread from a post of mine - from which I created the hint - on the VMware forums.

Talking about disk images, I have never been able to boot an OS X Server VM from a disk image: it always gave a stop sign (the one with the diagonal bar), after some time; maybe because I made the image in the CD/DVD master format? But probably that's not the problem...

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10.6 Virtualize machine-specific OS X Server in Fusion
Authored by: kaih on Dec 21, '10 12:29:16AM

The other way to do it is to make a read/write disk image of the install disk and edit one of the files in Mac OS X Server Install Disc/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg using the Flat Package Editor from the Developer Tools.

Find and extract the Distribution file using the flat package editor and comment out or delete the sections that check for specific machines in the script.

Save the Distribution file back into the flat package, save the flat package to the disk image and boot the installer.


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10.6 Virtualize machine-specific OS X Server in Fusion
Authored by: Sven G on Dec 21, '10 02:50:07AM

BTW, have you actually been able to boot an OS X Server VM successfully from a disk image (.dmg, or .cdr/.iso)? That would be interesting to know (se also my pervious post; personally, I've had success only with a real DVD)...

P.S.: Another thing that I forgot to say in the hint (part 2): if you want to change the virtual HD size from 40 GB to for example 64 GB, instead of simply reformatting the virtual HD, it is actually necessary to repartition it (from the Partition tab in Disk Utility, with one new partition, after of course having changed the size before from within the VM settings, with a shut down VM).

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client on mid 2010 mac mini server
Authored by: SOX on Dec 21, '10 04:01:08AM

I have a mac mini server but have not been able to install the client OS. I can do it, but then the ethernet and firewire do not work. According to Apple this is true and you can't install the CLient OS on the mac mini server 2010 model (thin one) and have the drivers for those work.

How did you do this?

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client on mid 2010 mac mini server
Authored by: Sven G on Dec 21, '10 04:23:46AM

Mac OS X 10.6.5 includes all the necessary drivers/kexts: so, applying the 10.6.5 client Combo update makes the Mac mini Server perfectly usable also as a desktop machine (and much more interesting for power users than the basic Mac mini; and you can always add an external MacBook Air SuperDrive afterwards).

As for actually installing OS X client (sofar available as 10.6-10.6.3), there is a very long discussion about this on the Apple forums:

(with also some of my experiences, starting from page 14).

Personally, I used a 10.6.3 retail DVD from the latest family pack Mac Box Set (the one with iLife '11), booting the installer from a MacBook Pro built-in SuperDrive, in FireWire target disk mode (or, rather, "target DVD" mode): this gave me a working AirPort out of the box, and, after updating to 10.6.5, also a working ethernet and SD card reader; the only remaining problem is Boot Camp (if one wants to make use of it), for which some non-downloadable drivers are still missing, also with the recent 3.2 update (a Mac mini "non-server-edition" DVD is still necessary to install them).

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