Virtualisation on Mac Mini 2014

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Geeky Chimp, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. Geeky Chimp macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2015
    Just looking for some advice regarding Virtualisation running on the Mac Mini 2014.

    We've got VMware Fusion running on several Mac Mini's some 1.4Ghz with 4GB and 8GB RAM and 500GB HDD, some 2.6Ghz with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD.

    We've seen better performance when testing Parallels Desktop - does anyone have any comments on whether they also get better performance?

    Also, how are people finding the stability of Fusion/Parallels for long running VM's?

    Also, we don't have a huge amount of data so PCIe SSD's might be an option for us - does anyone have experience with running VM's on these? If so how does the performance increase?
  2. SpinalTap, Jun 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015

    SpinalTap macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
    I've tried several virtualisation programs, and am currently running Parallels link to BootCamp, and CrossOver, on my 2012 Mac Mini (with Samsung EVO 840 SSD).

    You might also like to try the free trial of CrossOver Mac14 -

    This allows the running of Windows - but without requiring the OS. It will not run all Windows programs, but I only need it for the full MS Office suite.

    Personally, I find CrossOver runs/opens MS apps in less than 5 seconds - which is much faster than Parallels.
  3. dkl macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2012
    I used to have Parallels, but have since stopped using them because I was forced to upgrade almost every time they had a new version out. I don't have experience with VMWare, but back then, I've compared Parallels with Oracle's VirtualBox, and found Parallel's performance to be a bit better. My virtual machines then were mainly Windows - namely WinXP and Windows 7.

    Now, if you need to use virtualisation in-situ, then I'd recommend biting the bullet, and pay for either Parallels or VMWare. I've heard good things about both. Their latest versions come with bells and whistles to make a more comfortable virtualisation experience.

    If you're feeling cheap (like me), and prefer to go the free route, then VirtualBox is a very strong candidate. I'm personally running 4 VMs on my 2012 MacMini (base model with upgraded 16GB RAM) that's hosted in a data centre, all using VirtualBox. All my VMs are "mission critical" and are used daily by my virtual assistant and 5 of my team members via remote desktop. I find the stability of the system to be excellent. I hardly have to shut down VirtualBox completely, and when things "go wrong", I find that a large number of times is attributed to Windows VM becoming unstable - nothing a reboot to the VM cannot fix. And when this happens, it doesn't seem to affect other running VMs.

    More often than not, it's likely due to some silly user action that cause the Windows VM to go cranky. I have another Windows VM on the same machine that I use to run some automated stuff daily. I hardly ever have to shut that down or reboot it, apart from the occasional updates and patches from Microsoft that forces a reboot to complete the process.

    The other occasion where I'd have to "shut down" my VMs would be when there's a VirtualBox update. The easiest way to do this is to suspend / hibernate all my VMs, run the update on my host, then fire up all the VMs again. The VM's won't even realise that the host virtualisation app has been updated.

    I've been on this setup for over a year and a half now. And, yes, my MacMini's still running Mavericks. Couldn't afford the downtime upgrading it to Yosemite. Probably going to stay that way even when El Capitan is out, unless there's a major security issue found on Mavericks.
  4. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    Are you running virtualisation on your desktop Minis, or running virtualisation as infrastructure?

    And are the Minis running any other application or service?

    I ask as I'm in the process of setting up a stack with ESXi running off USB, using the internal disks as datastores and almost 100% of the RAM allocated for VMs (since there's no overhead in running OS X and the applications on top).

    Recommend poking around if this sounds right for you.
  5. scotttnz macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Yeah, if you don't need to run anything else in the host OSX then VMware ESXi is a lot more efficient, and very robust.
  6. dkl macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2012
    Number 1 reason I use VirtualBox is familiarity with it. Number 2 is that I run Dropbox on the host OS, and have the VMs access certain folders within Dropbox via a virtual networked drive.

    I'm not familiar with ESXi. I was just wondering if you would happen to know if ESXi can do that - letting VMs "see" another VM's folder or files? Or do the VMs in ESXi operate in silos - independent and unaware of each other?
  7. burne macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2007
    Haarlem, the Netherlands
    ESXi is a bare metal hypervisor that would replace your normal OS, if you got it to install on a mac mini. After installing there's no longer a host OS to share folders or resources with.

    You could install file sharing software on a VM and use that?

    The product you want to look at is VMWare Fusion and that is feature for feature a close match for Parallels.
  8. dkl macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2012
    Just as I thought.... Thanks for clarifying anyway!

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