Installing Lion on vSphere 5

This topic has been covered publicly already. Nonetheless for completeness of one my previous posts, I want to provide you with this step by step manual to a virtualized Lion.

Open your Mac App Store. Search for the keyword Lion and choose install to download the latest build.

Lion dnld

After a few minutes Lion is installed as an application and waiting to get run. Go to Applications and right-click on Install Mac OS X Lion. From the drop-down menu select Show Package Contents.

Lion packagecontents
Then navigate to Contents > Shared Support > InstallESD.dmg

Lion packcontents

Copy the InstallESD.dmg file to /Downloads. Once done, open a Terminal session and type in hdiutil convert -format UDTO -o /Users/yourname/Downloads/osx108dev.iso /Users/yourname/Downloads/InstallESD.dmg

2012 04 22 10 24 44

After conversion is done you need to change the iso.cdr file into an iso file. Simply use the mv command to do this as shown in the picture.

Open your vSphere client and add a new virtual machine with a custom configuration.

Lion creatvm

Use Virtual Machine Hardware 8.

Lion createvm2

Select Other > Mac OS X 10.7 (64-bit)

Lion createvm3

Keep the defaults for the disk provisioning, but make sure that you check the tick-box for Thin Provision
. Follow the online instructions and accept the defaults.

Lion createvm4

Check the tick box Edit the virtual machine settings before completion.

Browse to your disk image Lion.iso and set the device status to Connect at power on.

Lion createvm6

Finish the creation of the virtual machine and start it.

After some minutes you are presented with the language screen of Lion. Select the appropriate language and proceed.

Lion lang

Select the Disk Utility first before continuing the installation process.

Lion diskutil
Select the empty disk drive VMware Virtual Disk and erase it with the format Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Lion diskutil2
Quit the Disk Utility and proceed with the installation process.

Lion quitdiskutil

Choose to Reinstall Mac OS X. This will install Lion.

Lion reinstall lion

After a half an hour you should have a running copy of Lion on VMware vSphere 5. Enjoy!

10 thoughts on “Installing Lion on vSphere 5

  1. Andy

    I followed this tutorial but after creating the VM and starting it I just get a grey screen with the Apple symbol in the middle and it’s not doing anything. Is there anything else I need to do?

    1. Which version of Mac OS X did you try to install? The tutorial is for 10.7 Lion. 10.8 Mountain Lion (beta) is working for me only in Fusion.

      It denies working on ESXi5 for whatever reason (I tried it even with the upgrade option from 10.7 to 10.8). I didn’t have the time to test the GA-version, though.

      1. Doug

        It doesn’t work for me either. I have looked at every blog and they all suggest that the install should be as simple as you say, but I too only get the “no” symbol. Maybe because I have Lion 10.7.4? But I have no idea how to get an earlier version. It was already difficult for me to get 10.7.4 since I had upgraded all my Macs to 10.8 already.

      2. I had the same behaviour, when I tried to install Mountain Lion on vSphere 5.0 U1. It runs on Fusion 5, though. Therefore, I’m expecting it will run on vSphere 5.1, too. I will let you know the results, once vSphere 5.1 is GA’ed. However, you should be able to download Lion from the Mac App Store. At least, it’s listed in my Mac App Store for download.

      3. Doug

        Yes I did download Lion from the Mac App Store but you can only get 10.7.4 now and I have had no luck installing it on ESXI 5.0.0u1. If 5.1 fixes it that would be great. Maybe I can just go straight to 10.8 if they bring compatibility.

  2. Pingback: Running Mountain Lion on vSphere « Cloud Jockey

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