It is really cool to see more and more customers show interest in running Apple Mac OS X on vSphere. Just the other day there was another interesting question that was raised from a customer asking whether vSphere Data Protection (VDP) would be able to backup and restore Mac OS X guests.  Apparently there is still an assumption that VMware Tools do not exist for Mac OS X guests? Perhaps virtualizing Mac OS X is still relatively new for some folks, but it is just like any other guest operating system that is supported on vSphere.

I think the following two statements should help clarify any confusion that may exist:

  • To virtualize an Apple Mac OS X guest, you need to be running vSphere on Apple hardware. This is due to a requirement in Apple's EULA and is also enforced within the vSphere platform. You can get more details in this article
  • VMware Tools does exist for Apple Mac OS X guests, take a look at this article for more details.

Now, if we take a look at VDP's evaluation guide on page 4 we will see the prerequisite for backing up a guest OS is pretty straight forward:

At least one virtual machine running a supported guest operating system (OS) with VMware Tools installed

Since Apple Mac OS X (10.8, 10.7, 10.6 and 10.5) is a supported guest operating system and we have VMware Tools for this operating system, then yes VDP can be used to backup and restore an Apple Mac OS X guest. To demonstrate that this actually works, I have a Mac OS X 10.7 VM running in my home lab (Apple Mac Mini which is not officially supported) and I have deployed the latest version of VDP.

I then setup the backup job for the Mac OS X guests using the super simple VDP backup wizard and then initiate a backup.

Now, let's say I accidentally fat fingered an operation and deleted this VM. Uh oh!? What am I to do? Well don't worry, VDP is there to the rescue!

To restore the VM, it is simply going through the VDP restore wizard and in just a few minutes, I  have now recovered my Mac OS X guest and it is up and running again!

I have said this many times, but it still amazes me on the number of guest operating systems vSphere supports! There really is no workload that vSphere can not virtualize! So if you have any use cases for Mac OS X workloads, rest assure you can safely virtualize it and back it up on vSphere.

Note: Though I showed using VMware VDP as the backup/recovery solution, you should also be able to leverage both VMware vSphere Replication as well as VMware Site Recovery Manager.

number of guest OSes the vSphere platform supports

Thanks for the comment!