Mac Private Clouds

What is the best environment for me?

Most of our customers choose a private cloud. A hosted private cloud has the most flexibility, scalability, security, and performance. We also offer single Mac minis if you do not need the scalability or automate-ability of a private cloud.

What components are included with every Mac Pro in a private cloud?

When part of a Mac Private Cloud environment, each Mac Pro includes the Apple Hardware, MacStadium upgrades (that create high-speed, redundant I/O), unmetered hosting, and VMware's ESXi operating system. In addition to the Mac Pro(s), each cloud includes a firewall, vCenter, IP block, and SAN storage.

What is covered in the price of a private cloud?

All hardware, software, and infrastructure required to spin up virtual instances of macOS is included in the cloud. We offer a great deal of flexibility on the specific components in each cloud, but all cloud environments have a few things in common.

  • Cisco Series Firewall with Networking Support.
  • All clouds are monitored 24/7 with 24/7 support and remote-hands.
  • All infrastructure is housed in highly-available and highly-secure, Tier III and IV data centers.
  • Power and bandwidth are unmetered.
  • Advanced engineering support with our Mac cloud experts.
  • A dedicated account manager that can help you with any issues.

How much control do I have over my infrastructure?

You have absolute control and root-access to all dedicated infrastructure in your environment. In fact, MacStadium recommends that you change credentials to completely lock us out of your environment. MacStadium can only access your environment with your explicit request.

How do I connect to my firewall?

MacStadium recommends the use of a virtual private network (VPN). This will allow you to gain access to your cloud environment securely, at which point you will be able to configure your security settings.

What virtualization options are available?

MacStadium primarily interfaces with the following virtualization technologies -- Orka, Anka, and VMware .

How do I set up monitoring and alerts?

You can request monitoring and alerts to be set up by opening a ticket in the MacStadium customer portal.

Can I add non-Mac infrastructure to my cloud?

Keep in mind that you can run any OS on Mac hosts! However, if you have a lot of non-Mac workloads, we can also add HPE Blade infrastructure to your environment. Many customers use this for Android builds and testing.

I need about 'X' concurrent VMs. How much will that cost?

How large would each concurrent VM be? Would they be running 100% of the time or just occasionally? Would you be spinning up single-use (AKA ephemeral) VMs or running static VMs to mimic bare metal hosts? Assuming 2 cores and ~8GB of RAM, you’d be looking at $150-$200/VM in our cloud bundles. You can get even lower as you continue to scale up. Of course, those prices are for concurrent VMs running at 100% capacity. Because we provide dedicated private clouds, you get all the benefit of thin provisioning, so if a VM isn’t using its full set of allocated resources it will give them back to the pool.

How can I scale my cloud up or down?

You can easily scale up by sending us a ticket to add more capacity. Normal turnaround is less than 5 days, which can also be made faster by providing advanced notice. Our minimum resolution for upgrades is 30 days. For downgrades, we require 60 days notice.

What is Orka?

Orka stands for Orchestration on Kubernetes with Apple. It is the internal IP of MacStadium, and installs a fork of linux onto genuine Apple hardware, and then uses a custom Docker container with a services that understands how to deploy macOS VMs on the hardware properly.

For more information, see the Orka documentation page.

How can I get free VMware ESXi licensing?

The VMware licensing is included with the VMware Macstadium cloud bundle, so this becomes an included fee in the bill, but it is not free.

We pre-install ESXi on a hosted Mac with a 60-day trial license before providing you access. You simply have to apply the license key acquired from the VMware Download Center to your ESXi installation.

It’s important to clarify that this only applies for our dedicated Mac servers. It cannot be used with our hosted Mac private cloud solutions. The free license has restrictions that make it incompatible with a cluster of servers and the necessary additional VMware software we install for management and automation.

How do I manage VMware ESXi from my Mac?

While there’s no native desktop application on macOS for managing ESXi like Windows has, there are plenty of alternatives.

In 2016, VMware began including an embedded HTML5/Javascript host client for managing ESXi in vSphere update 6.0U2. Meant to connect to and manage single ESXi clients, it’s a great solution for users getting started with a dedicated Mac running VMware at MacStadium.

Another option with additional super powers is the VMware Fusion 11 Pro. Designed with full-fledged dev ops professionals in mind, it offers powerful virtual machines, superior performance and enhanced usability

If your Mac is running a version of vSphere older than update 6.0U2, please open a support ticket to discuss with our engineering team how you can upgrade your existing server to the latest version of VMware and begin using the host client from your Apple Mac computer.

Is there a control panel to create and manage multiple macOS virtual machines on a single host?

VMware ESXi can do this. VMware ESXi is a hypervisor for deploying and serving virtual machines running many different types of operating system. Utilizing Mac hardware is the only way to legally virtualize macOS. If you choose to have VMware ESXi installed on your Mac server, you’ll have access to a powerful management layer for virtualizing on Mac hardware.

In the past, it was only possible to manage ESXi from the command line or via a desktop client installed on Windows. In early 2016, VMware began including an embedded HTML5 based VMware Host Client that allows users to connect to and manage a single server running ESXi for the management of host resources and virtual machines. There is no extra cost to use this tool, and it's included in all new installs of the latest version of VMware on Mac servers at MacStadium.

Should we use resource reservations in VMware?

By using resource reservations, you may be artificially limiting yourself from taking advantage of the full capability of your environment. Techniques like oversubscription can no longer be fully utilized when using resource reservations.

When using resource reservations (even if on just a single virtual machine out of many), VMware will apply the lowest common resource reservation to all VMs. For example, if VM A has x resource reservations and VM B through VM E don’t have any resource reservations, VMware will apply x resource resolutions to all virtual machines.

If your cluster is healthy and has plenty of resources to share between virtual machines, we recommend disabling resource reservations. If you are constantly seeing issues with insufficient resources to your cluster as a whole, you should increase the number of hosts in your cluster or decrease your workload.

Why am I getting a VMware alert about the Data Service container running low on heap memory?

From a customer:
I keep getting the following alert: >> The Data Service container process is running low on heap memory (> 90% utilized). Is there anything we can do about that?

This VMware alert can be ignored. It’s a known bug with no known resolution and is cosmetic only. It has no impact on the performance of your VMware cluster.