XenServer On Mac Mini

Screen Shot 2013-06-01 at 12.23.01 AM

Am pleasantly surprised that XenServer 6.1 installs natively on 2012 MacMini 6,1 without a fuss as below:

  1. Download XenServer 6.1 ISO from Citrix and burn to a CD
  2. Boot via an external CDROM drive
  3. Complete installation. WARNING: This will wipe out your pre-installed Mac OSX copy on the system.
  4. Boot the Mac Mini into recovery mode using command+r
  5. Launch the Terminal from Utilities menu
  6. Run “bless –device /dev/disk0s1 –setBoot –legacy” from the command prompt followed by a “shutdown -r now“. See Blog Post at http://www.plainlystated.com/2013/04/xcp-xen-on-a-mac-mini/
  7. Boot natively into XenServer
  8. Run XenCenter on a Windows machine (I have XP running as a guest under VMware Fusion on my laptop) and connect to the newly installed XenServer hypervisor host
  9. Activate the free license key
  10. Create VMs

Update (20130825): The “lab” has now been augmented with a 2nd Mac Mini (late 2012) and an upgrade to XenServer 6.2.

Update (20130927): I now have 2 Mac Minis running XenServers 6.2 upgraded to full 16GB of memory and additional USB Ethernet adapters. These are being used to run nested XenServers for CloudStack use

Update (20131105): XenServer 6.2 also works on Mac Mini bare metal. However, since XenServer does not do nested virtualiaation, I have since replaced XenServer with the VMware ESXi (the free version) on all the Mac Minis. Now, I am able to run XenServer inside ESXi and have guest OSes with full PV support.

By Shanker Balan

Shanker Balan is a devops and infrastructure freelancer with over 14 years of industry experience in large scale Internet systems. He is available for both short term and long term projects on contract. Please use the Contact Form for any enquiry.


  1. Hi
    great article. I’m thinking about installing XenServer on my MacMini.
    Did you manage to install Mac OS X (Client or Server) inside XenServer?

  2. Hi Michael,

    XenServer at this time does not support Nested Virtualiaation. My use case requires this feature so I settled on VMware ESXi (the free version). To your question, I dont believe XenServer supports OS X as a guest OS. VMware certainly does.


  3. Hi,

    Very interesting.

    Are they mac mini or mac mini server ? If yes, can Xen manage the RAID controller ?

    What is amazing is that XenServer can manage USB Ethernet adapters. Could you please tell me which USB Ethernet adapters you use ?

    Best Regards ?

  4. Hi Jerome,

    I am using Mac Minis and they don’t have RAID controllers. I have not tried the USB Ethernet adapters. IIRC, the Thunderbolt adapters worked when I briefly tried.


  5. Hi Shanker, great work! Dou you believe that I can do the same with a mac pro with Core Xeon E5620 x2 http://support.apple.com/kb/sp589 ? I am planning to have the xenserver with 2 windows server 2012 vm’s .

    What do you recommend for minimal memory ram and storage? thanks!

  6. Hi Marcel,

    I have not tried to use a Mac Pro with XenServer. Do try running XenServer on the Mac Pro.

    As for Disk and RAM, I used the default disk but have bumped up RAM to the max possible on the hardware (16GB for a Mac Mini).


  7. Great article. I am installing 6.2 on my macmini from a usb stick. I upgraded my memory the minute I took the macmini out of the box.

    When you say nested vm’s, what exactly do you mean?

    For my application, being able to run xp, w2k3, and ubuntu 14.04 distro is all I really need with bridging the nic to all of them is all I really need.

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