Virtualization, homelabs, eBay rack servers and a 2008 Mac Pro

I’m fascinated with installing different OSes to see what they’re about. At one point on VirtualBox I had about 20 different VMs with all sorts of guests from OS/2 to many different Linux distros. Somewhere on my internet travels I ran into the Reddit Homelab group, a community of sysadmins who run virtualization on older, used rack servers (and other hardware), to experiment with configuration of VMWare ESXi, and other virtualization software like Proxmox VE.

Window shopping on eBay, you can pick up various used Dell or HP rack servers with dual Xeons and several swappable harddrive bays for around $100 to $200 depending on the specs. I was getting close to picking up one of these, until I wondered if you can run ESXi on a Mac Pro. Turns out you can and it is even supported hardware on VMWare’s HCL list. Trouble is my eBay 2008 Mac Pro is not on the supported list for current ESXi versions, so I’m not sure if a current version would install and work ok, or whether I’d have to go back a few versions.

My MacPro currently has 20GB RAM, and I’ve got 3 empty drive bays. Watching a few YouTube videos such as the ones below, I feel a weekend project coming on 🙂


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