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Virtual Leopard Server Gets Legit

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As you can imagine, the VMware Fusion team was pretty excited when Apple modified their licensing to allow Mac OS X Leopard Server to run in a virtual machine on Apple hardware.  This is something our users have asked us for and we were interested in seeing as well.

Today, we are pleased to say that VMware is able to virtualize Mac OS X Leopard Server on Apple hardware using VMware’s proven Mac virtualization engine. We will be demonstrating this achievement with our “Mac OS X Server in a Virtual Machine” Technology Preview , at our booth at the Macworld Expo, and with the group of screenshots below.

Important thing to note: we are NOT showing off a “hackintosh,” using a modified version of the Mac OS X kernel.  This is completely legit; we are installing Mac OS X Server directly from a factory-sealed Apple DVD onto a virtual machine running only on genuine Apple hardware. This is true virtualization.

Mac OS X Leopard Server is not modified to run on VMware virtual hardware and uses Apple’s proven and shipping Leopard drivers for USB keyboard, USB mouse, IDE controller, LSI SCSI controller, High Speed USB 2.0 (UHCI and EHCI) controller, Intel e1000 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter, and VESA video adapter. Sound is not working at this time, but we are working on it!

And since Mac OS X Leopard has moved to 64-bit, we are able to leverage VMware’s proven 64-bit support to run Mac OS X Server at it’s full potential, a feature that has been a VMware exclusive for more than three years.

It’s hard to express how excited we are to being showing this here at Macworld. While we can’t discuss specific product plans and release dates, we know that this is very important to Mac customers and will take this into account as we plan our future Mac products.

The one question we know we will get asked is will VMware support Mac OS X Server on non-Apple hardware. While this is only a technology preview today,  VMware works closely with Apple and respects their licensing policies and as such Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine will only be supported on Apple hardware per Apple’s license agreement.

Come by our Macworld booth and see Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine for yourself!  We’ll be demoing it all day, and distributing free evals of award-winning VMware Fusion !

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31 thoughts on “Virtual Leopard Server Gets Legit

  1. Atarres

    That is friggin awesome. I assume there will be a Fusion server product then? This is great news. Virtualizing Xserve environments will be a great thing. Keep it up guys. Kick Parallels ass.

  2. deSteini

    So when will we be able to test this? Any date?
    Can it be used as a daemon, right on from the logon screen, so that you don’t have to enter an account on the server itself an run it manually?

  3. Aaron

    Without being able to virtualize Mac OS X client, my excitement about this announcement completely evaporated. Congrats to VMWare on making this happen, but I know that virtualization of Mac OS X client is also a feture that many people lust over. Apple needs to rethink their policy on virtualizing OSX client on Apple hardware. Many sysadmins, developers, ect. out there could make great use of virtualized OSX client.

  4. John Pratt

    I would love to run different versions of OSX including Leopard as VMs. Why? Because it solves the undeniable problem of backwards compatibility. We all know Apple’s MO. Hopefully the Leopard licensing for VM use is a sign of things to come. Virtual Machines are awesome!

  5. Rithban

    It’s a token of progress, and concrete hope that in the future Apple will pull its head the rest of the way out. Apple is primarily a hardware company, and they’re not going to let the OS out of the box easily.
    For our company to take the leap, We want the desktop version of OS X virtualized so we can do what we do with Linux and Windows for dev work: we put each project into its own dedicated VMs, one for development, one for testing, one for QA, etc. The comparatively large time and physical resource overhead of doing quality development on OS X (because we can’t run OS X in VMs) really dampens our enthusiasm for getting into the OS X market.
    Ironically, we’re doing almost all our dev work using Fusion on MacBook Pros despite Fusion’s lack of features relative to Workstation. (Patiently waiting for Workstation for OS X… pretty please?)
    At this point we have no reason to deploy our server-oriented apps on Apple servers, but at least THIS OPENS THE DOOR. When it becomes publicly-available, we can at least start having the discussion in-house.
    Good news, in all. Keep hammering on Apple, VMware! I look forward to firing up Xcode inside a VM in the future.

  6. Matt

    is this 64bit only, or will those of us who switched to Intel early and only have Core Duos be able to run 32bit OS X Server?

  7. HK

    @deSteini
    Mac OS X Server works exactly the same as Mac OS X Client, only quite a few more server applications!

  8. Jason Bunston

    Excellent comments from deSteini, Aaron, and Pratt!
    We NEED OSX to run in all possible flavours on VM – if it *has* to run on Apple hardware then so be it.
    I know many customers like me (and my employers) need Apple to step up and try to be a serious enterprise player. Virtualization is one very important part of that picture.
    I have to provision build images for our many varied mac users in my environment. We have almost 2000 IT staff and I am one of only two technical leads for the Mac User base. We would like to grow that number as needed, when needed but support is the number one reason cited as a barrier to justifying the cost of support.
    We all know macs are cheaper in the long run (most of our users support themselves), but if have the ability to virtualize some of the server and client testing labs, it makes these things far easier:
    1) Training!
    2) Scenario testing! Mix and match servers and platforms to investigate reported issues or test future setups.
    3) Integration testing! We have to integrate macs into our network. We can always get spare PCs but spare macs? I’d have to sell a kidney.
    4) Physical to virtual backups.
    5) Virtual to Virtual transfer of testing labs. If you go for Microsoft enterprise training you might notice that the labs are now setup with single RAM-heavy desktop PCs running virtual PC. Installed will be a bunch of virtual machines setup with local-only networking. The virtual machines recreate the domain or network scenarios needed to complete the class. Everyone gets hands-on now.
    That’s just off the top of my head.
    I’ll be watching this unfold carefully, but I am very excited as everyone else is to see the meagre progress so far. Apple will see the light, whether it does so under or after Jobs is another question.
    I would not mind seeing more Apple in the enterprise. Without this it can guaranteed there will be less.
    JB

  9. Julian Pawlowski

    Jesus!
    I need this software out for testing NOW! Would help all the Mac admins out there to save so many days of work and expand their freetime a lot lot lot :-)
    When will there be the announcement if it’s in VMware Fusion or it will be a separate product?

  10. Thomas Vecchione

    So the question that this does not answer for me is…
    Will this run in a non-Apple OS? Meaning if I am running Linux on an Apple machine, can I virtualize Mac OS X server within the Linux OS(Where most of my work is done?) Or will this require Mac OS X as the host OS?

  11. Vasko

    Oh, When will be this feature avaible.
    Still can not install Mac OS X Leopard Server on my MacBook via VMware Virtualization.
    Any date please?

  12. Blake

    Ok guys parallels is shipping a beta that works now. When are we going to see the goods from vmware?

  13. nutnew

    Does the Fusion V2.0 Beta2 support to run Leopard Server Now? In your description not mention about Leopard Server on New Fusion2.0 Beta2. Does it work now?

  14. Mark Dean

    All this really shows that if Apple/Mac really wants to be considered anything more than an OS for artists, elitists and other fringe elements of IT, they will, as one poster almost said, get their head our of their ass and allow the OS in both VMs AND standard x86/x64 hardware. Until they do, they’re still just a joke of a company.

  15. J. Scott Anderson

    Mr. Dean:
    That “joke of a company” is rocking the computer and telecom worlds, as well as their stock holders worlds even with the current poor market.

  16. J. Scott Anderson

    Mr. David, Macintosh hardware is X86 and has been for a while. If you mean hardware other than Apple’s, then you are out of luck. As many, if not most, have finally realized, Apple is a hardware company and they are not about the give other hardware companies their advantage by letting them run OS X.
    You might be better off pushing the software companies that write Linux and Windows, to do a better job on their end.

  17. Justin L

    “You might be better off pushing the software companies that write Linux and Windows, to do a better job on their end.”
    I’ve used windows, linux, and osx extensively. osx is retrictive, obnoxious crap. there really isn’t even much to osx. a minimal number of programs and configuration applets in disarrayed folders, an icon bar, a pretty basic window decoration theme in two color options, and a partial bsd/gnu platform under the hood. I’ve seen everything there is to see in osx and there’s nothing to get excited about. though, I also thought the eiffel tower was boring compared to downtown new york, so there you go.

  18. Skinner

    The main question is:
    Knowing that you can already install ESXi on Apple hardware,… Will you be able to install Mac OS X Server as a VM on ESXi running on Apple hardware?
    Imagine a vSphere of XServes!
    That would be the best solution out there!

  19. Willem

    Anyone tried converting the Fusion OSX server VM with the vSphere Converter and importing it in a (x86) ESXi environment?

  20. Movie Synopsis

    Will this run in a non-Apple OS? Meaning if I am running Linux on an Apple machine, can I virtualize Mac OS X server within the Linux OS(Where most of my work is done?) Or will this require Mac OS X as the host OS?
    Movie Synopsis

  21. David

    What if you’ve already made an investment in other-than-Apple hardware and want to run OS X? Why should I have to go purchase hardware from Apple (at twice the price) to have a supported Host environment? It should be as simple as creating a new virtual machine on an existing ESX box regardless of hardware. I was looking forward to evaluating the new Snow Leopard release, but if I can’t use it in our PowerEdge-powered virtual environment – what’s the use? Apple needs to be more lenient on the licensing to make OS X more appealing.

  22. Tee eye double-guh ur

    I just upgraded my Fusion, and tried starting a new VM image, insert the DVD, and VMware doesn’t see it. It pops up the Mac OS X Install outside of VMware.
    How do I get it to install without first having it installed?
    Running: VMware Fusion 3.0.2 on MacBook Pro < 1 yr old.

  23. Tee eye double-guh ur

    What’s up with the Fusion 2 vs Fusion 3? Are the version numbers not indicative of the advances as are other software version numbers? Why do I keep seeing advances posted re: F v2, and not F v3?

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