Solaris on Mac Mini ?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by ms99, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. ms99, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012

    ms99 macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2010
    OK - I know this will sound like heresy but please humor me for just a minute.

    I am a sysadmin type in an office that runs Solaris 10 on the big Sparc servers and Solaris/Sparc workstations at all the desks.
    (At home it is Mac everywhere - got to support my Apple stock!)

    At work they are starting a project that I will be supporting and it would be helpful for me if I could mirror at least to some level the office environment.

    So what I would like to do is borrow one of my new Mac Mini's (dual core 2.3ghz I5/500gb drive) and load Solaris/x86 on it to run natively (i.e., not in a VM like Parallels). I do have Solaris 10 running in Parallels on my iMac but find there are a couple quirks with network access that is getting in the way. Hence wanting to only run Solaris on the Mini.

    When the project is done, I will want to wipe out the Solaris and restore the system back to Mac OS X.

    So my question is this - has anyone tried to load Solaris 10 as the only OS on a Mac Mini? Any special issues encountered? I already anticipate using a USB keyboard/mouse plugged directly into the Mini and the separate USB CD/DVD reader. But any other hardware compatibility issues?

    Also any special issues on restoring OS X to the Mini? Anything I need to do before I start the Solaris load? I have an old DVD with Snow Leopard, but the Mini is currently running Lion.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    And sorry for the temporary heresy .)
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
  3. ulzeraj macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2012
  4. ms99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2010
  5. ms99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2010
  6. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    How about using something like Virtualbox or VMware Fusion instead? Virtualbox should run very well with Solaris, Sun and now Oracle made sure of that. Fusion also does a very good job at virtualising non-Windows systems unlike Parallels does. Parallels is fine when you want to run Windows but they still seem to lack a bit in the non-Windows department (Linux is fine though).
  7. ulzeraj macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2012
    I guess that would really invalidate some cool features like crossbow, COMSTAR and ZFS. I'm not sure if all those features are present on his Solaris 10 build.
  8. ae3265 macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2009
    Crossbow is Solaris 11. ZFS doesn't care about virtualization. COMSTAR is another Solaris 11 feature.

    Parallels support for Solaris is not as good as Fusion or VirtualBox, where I usually run those. In fact, I run a Solaris 10 VM under Fusion as a jumpstart server from my MBA. My customers get a kick out of watching me jumpstart their Sparc gear from this setup (use bridged, not shared adapters).
  9. timkennedy macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2012
    I have run Solaris 10 on core duo, and core 2 duo, Mac Mini's for years.

    The only caveat with both platforms was the RJ45 ethernet port, which uses a Marvell Yukon chipset, the driver for which is not included in Solaris.

    You'll need to download that driver ahead of time, and put it on a USB device, or burn it to CD.

    The wireless should work out of the box.

    Solaris 11 also runs just fine on both platforms, with the same limitation. You must supply the Marvell Yukon driver.

    I have not tried Solaris 10 or 11 on the I-chipset Mac Minis, only because I don't have one, but I'm thinking about buying one.
  10. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Terrific thread. I'm in the same position as the OP, I'll be supporting a number of Solaris servers and it would seem to be a good idea to do a deep dive by running it as my desktop OS as well. Currently I'm on a rMBP that's dual booting ML and 7. If I had the space, I'd consider triple booting it to Solaris 10. But, I'd hate to take a chance and somehow blow up my rMBP's current os's.

    This is the first time I've lamented the lack of a normal 2.5" hd. I'd love to just buy a spare drive and swap it in for a little while.


    You know what, I'll play around with a external HD for now. If I get some good results I'll triple boot this thing.

    By the way, for those of you running Solaris on a Mac, are you having good results? Are there any web resources that were particularly helpful to you that you can share?
  11. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    Or, you can pick up an old PC for around 25 cents somewhere. Free even. While I run Parallels for everything from Ubuntu to Win7, it's just not the same. My actual tests are always done on non-virtual boxes.
  12. nachoba macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Solaris 11 freezing at boot

    Ok, I've followed the instructions given here. Booted from a USB OSx, partition de disk to 1 partition MBR table.
    Now when I boot the solaris USB to install it in the mac mini (mid 2011, 8GB) the screen locks at
    Sun OS Release 5.11 Version 11.1 ....
    (c) 1983, 2012.....

    and that's it.
    it does not pass to the node probe section.
    Any clue?
    thanks in advace!


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