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Frequently Asked Questions

What everyone wants to know about Mac hosting

Getting Started

What kind of servers can be hosted?

Mac mini:

We have premium seating for both new style Mac minis (2010 – Current) and older style Mac minis (2009 or prior).

Each proprietary rack in the MacStadium holds 240 Mac minis contained with all cabling, power management, and network infrastructure.

Mac Pro:

We’ve designed a custom enclosure and rack mount system to house the 2013+ cylindrical Mac Pro.

Learn more about our customer rack solutions on our data centers page that allow us to rapidly scale private cloud environments.

Xserves & HP BladeServers:

Besides our main colo, dedicated, and cloud offerings for the Mac mini and the latest-generation Mac Pro, we also host Apple’s rack-mounted Xserve line.

Many of our custom private cloud environments are built on clusters of Apple Xserves. The large amount of memory and blade design make them an efficient, dense solution for virtualization environments. We also offer traditional HP blade infrastructure for organizations with a desire to house all of their services in one enterprise solution.

We are very serious about our infrastructure, and have made significant investments in ensuring that hardware within MacStadium has the absolute best data center configuration available on the planet.

Custom Solutions:

If you have a special project, please give us a call! We specialize in custom configurations, and our Engineering team loves to work with customers to create significant Enterprise Solutions.

We also offer standard colocation for 1U – 4U servers, 1/4, 1/2, full rack, and cage space within the MacStadium data center for customers wishing to consolidate all of your services (not just Mac) in a single data center. Contact Sales for more information.

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Can I use a remote Mac mini for iOS application development?

We have many iOS app developers who love our service. Certain forms of application development require that a physical iOS device is used to emulate and test the application. This can be accomplished over the wire (across the internet) using a USB over IP solution. One common solution that customers have recommended is Eltima’s USB over Network for Mac software.

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How do I connect to my Mac the first time?

There are multiple methods and remote control tools available to allow you to control your hosted Mac server.

Having your own hosted Mac mini server is just like having one on your desk at your home or office except the monitor is viewable in a window on your home, office, or mobile computing device across the Internet.

You will feel like you are sitting in front of your Mac no matter where you are around the globe as long as you are connected to a reliable Internet connection.

All rental Mac minis are pre-configured to allow you to connect using the following methods:

  • macOS Screen Sharing: Open Safari and type vnc:// (replacing the IP address with one provided in your install ticket).
  • VNC : Download your favorite free VNC client such as RealVNC, TightVNC, etc.
  • SSH Terminal : Use your OS’s built in terminal, or download PuTTY to gain console access.

Once you have connected to your Mac you can feel free to install any other common solutions such as SplashTop, TeamViewer, or LogMeIn.

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Is the Mac mini a good server?

Without a doubt, the Mac mini is an efficient and cost-effective server platform; it performs very well with i5 and i7 CPU options. It can hold its own against many other server platforms in its class using a much smaller physical footprint and with a fraction of the power footprint.

We believe that with the redundant power, hard drive storage, and network storage options, the Mac mini is a very viable server platform for any small to medium-sized business requiring managed Apple hardware running macOS in a data center.

When Apple discontinued manufacture and sale of the Xserve blade servers, they published a great document stating their agreement in utilizing Mac mini’s as servers.

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Which location should I choose?

When choosing a data center to rent or colocate servers in, keep in mind the geographic locations of all those attempting to access the server (that could mean you, your team, or your customers). If low latency is important, the closer the servers are physically, the better your connection quality will be.

Here is a set of IP addresses, one for each data center, that can be used to test latency or traceroute:

Las Vegas (updated: 2016-09-01)

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What is Colocation?

For many decades, large corporations requiring always-available computing and data storage resources have housed their precious computing resources in secure facilities known as data centers to ensure maximum uptime, and availability of their equipment and information.

If you have computing equipment in a data center, then it is stated that you are co-locating (colo for short) your equipment in that facility.  Our Atlanta data center is a dedicated, secured, and caged space within a 15,000 square foot facility.

By hosting your Mac at MacStadium, it will always be available for you to remotely access via remote desktop or command line interface from anywhere on the Internet.

There are no limits as to what you can do with your Mac in a data center! Many of our clients use their Macs for game servers, web hosting, database hosting, off-site backup, email hosting, or other applications typically run in macOS.

You can also use your Mac as a Windows server, BSD Server, IP PBX, or any other variety of applications due to its industry standard Intel-based hardware platform.

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What is the difference between a Dedicated Server and Colocation?

The majority of our customers choose traditional dedicated server hosting where MacStadium provides the server hardware and the hosting of that hardware in our data center.

If you already own a Mac and wish for us to host it for you, you may utilize our colocation service.

In both offerings, each subscription is required to pay a hosting fee each month which includes the Internet connectivity, custom rack space, power, remote management tools, remote hands support, and active DDoS protection.

There are many benefits to the dedicated server product offering, which include:

  • Instant Activation available to dedicated servers, so you can get started immediately.
  • MacStadium is 100% responsible for all maintenance on the servers. If your Mac has hardware issues, we cover 100% of hardware and labor costs.
  • You can change Mac mini models at any point during your subscription with no penalties.
  • When Apple releases new Mac mini hardware in the future, MacStadium will carry those models as rentals, and you can swap.
  • If you can’t predict the future (most of us can’t), then using our servers makes more sense than owning the hardware yourself.
  • Technology always depreciates. When you rent, you don’t have worry about loss of value, shipping fees, or lost productivity time.
  • Many businesses would rather have an operating expense on the books vs. a capital expense for accounting reasons.

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How do the different Mac computers compare?

In a blog post, we shared the following graphic to simply explain the different levels of dedicated servers available. While there are plenty of other example uses for each level of server, this is a baseline to develop your infrastrucuture environment.


Keep in mind a private cloud can consist of any of the single dedicated servers in the graphic so price and performance can vary dramatically.

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After I sign up to rent a dedicated Mac, what happens next?

After you create your account, choose your subscription level, and choose the type of Mac server you wish to rent, the next steps are as follows:

  • You will be immediately provided:
    • Full access to your subscriber dashboard.
    • Specific subscription information including IP addresses.
  • A new provisioning support ticket will be automatically created letting us know that you’ve created a subscription.
  • A new server will be provisioned for you.
  • You will receive instructions via email and the ticketing system in your account dashboard with instructions for accessing the server and details of your configuration.

If you selected a server with instant availability (e.g. a Mac mini running OS X 10.11), you will receive an email moments after subscription containing the access instructions.

For custom orders (hardware, networking, or operating system), our technicians will begin configuring your server if it is not currently available in stock. This can take up to 24 hours or longer in some cases of limited availability of parts. Due to the potential for delays, we recommend that all new users first subscribe to a Mac mini with instant availability. In this way, you can take full advantage of the 24 hour free trial window before billing begins. This time period is a great opportunity to test network connectivity.

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How secure are MacStadium data centers?

Our customers are very happy with the security practices put in place at MacStadium to make sure your servers and data are always safe from unauthorized access. We’ve also worked with many large customers to develop custom, secure environments with enhanced security within our existing solution to meet their internal security requirements. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to trust us to protect your intellectual property and customer data in our data centers.

MacStadium’s first data center and headquarters reside within a privately-owned-and-operated facility in Atlanta, Georgia. The data center contains all of the modern security measures you would expect from a modern data center including:

  • Entry points with badge-only access and biometric readers
  • On-site security staff and patrols
  • IP camera video surveillance with 90+ days of recording
  • Key-only locked cages
  • 24×7 on-premises staff
  • Visitor sign-in with ID tracking

MacStadium’s Atlanta data center is a fully audited facility with SSAE-16/SAS-70 Type 2 certification and a PCI cardholder environment certification. We are serious about the security, reliability, and privacy of our facilities and our team spends many tens of thousands of dollars a year to have an independent CPA firm come and provide a full audit and report on our operations annually.

View the certifications for all MacStadium facilities at our legal page and learn more about MacStadium data centers.

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Can I visit the MacStadium headquarters?

The headquarters and first data center are located within within our privately-owned-and-operated data center here in Midtown, Atlanta, GA. As such, you are free to open a ticket or give us a call, and schedule a visit to our facility either before you are a customer, or during your subscription period to learn more about our services and solutions.

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Billing & Ordering

How do I order multiple servers at once?

If you’re starting up at MacStadium with an immediate need for multiple machines, you need to get your account setup and billing verified before you can order multiple machines.

As you go through the subscription process for the first time, you’ll create your account and add your billing details to that account. You can either complete a single subscription or head into your account dashboard. We often suggest customers take advantage of the free Mac mini trial even if they don’t use the allotted 24 hours to be sure the network connection quality and configuration meets to their requirements.

For customers that add a fresh mini every few days or weeks, the regular configuration tool is the best approach to spinning up individual machines as it gives our system the ability to instantly provision minis already in place.

If you would rather get 5 or more machines at once and you know exactly what you want (or you need something not shown in the configuration wizard), open up a support ticket with the Other type and submit your request to our support team. They’ll work with you to confirm the requirements and begin spinning up the machines as soon as possible then release them to you within the ticket. Our support team regularly spins up dozens of minis at a time for large customers.

Customers that would like a new machine or machines to have the exact same software image as an existing subscription can have the source machine cloned to any number of other machines by opening a support ticket. This is another task our support team is well-versed in.

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Is there a fee for starting a subscription?

New customers who have never started a subscription or trial at MacStadium before will not be charged for the first 24 hours of a Mac mini trial. There may be a temporary authorization charge placed on your credit card but this varies by financial institution. It is not a permanent charge and is just meant to verify your payment method.

After 24 hours on a trial, you will be charged for the first month of service that you signed up for. If you cancel before 24 hours are up (from the time of subscription, not the time you gain access to the server), you will not be charged. Again, this only pertains if you’re renting a Mac mini and you’ve never created an account or subscription with MacStadium before. Please chat with our sales or support staff if you have any questions about your account status before starting a trial.

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What is instant provisioning and how long does it take?

Instant Provisioning is a technology that we have developed here at MacStadium that allows us to deliver ready-to-go Dedicated Servers to subscribers 24x7x365 within seconds of checkout being completed.

When you complete checkout, an installation ticket will be opened immediately. If the requested server is available for Instant Provisioning, the ticket will be automatically closed out by our systems, and an email will be sent to you within moments which includes your servers IP Address, Login, and Password information.

We typically have 50-100 servers ready to go for Instant Provisioning. We strive to keep all models of Dedicated Servers available for Instant Provisioning for both Pro (100Mbps) and Elite (1000Mbps) Hosting packages.

If you are requesting a server that has an OS other than OS X 10.11, you should be prepared to wait 1-2 hours (sometimes longer) for the server to be custom provisioned for your request.

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How do I end or cancel my subscription?

There is no contract at MacStadium.  If you ever decide to leave MacStadium, you can do so by clicking on the “Cancel Subscription” in your MacStadium dashboard at any time for any and all subscriptions you wish to no longer use and be billed for. Once you click on the “Cancel Subscription” button your server will be decommissioned and all data will be destroyed.

We bill on the anniversary date of your subscription each month, for the next 30 days of service.

If you cancel your subscription prior to the end of your current service period, we do NOT refund any amounts already paid for service in the future.

If you own your Mac mini server (because you shipped it to us), we will return your server to you promptly, and charge your CC on file the actual shipping amount to close out your billing.

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Can I order additional IP addresses for my subscriptions?

For only $2 per month per IP, MacStadium offers additional public IP addresses for rental. We also offer large IP address blocks that can be requested via a support ticket.

To configure additional individual IP addresses in macOS, follow these steps:

  • Within System Preferences select “Network” and click the “+” button in the bottom left hand corner.
  • Under the “Interfaces” drop down, choose “Ethernet” and provide a name (anything will do). This will allow you to configure an additional IP address under the new interface you just created.

Another use for additional IP addresses is when running VMware on your hosted Mac. The server running VMware and each virtual machine will require it’s own IP address for public internet access.

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What is the minimum contract period?

Service at MacStadium is offered on a month-to-month basis. There are no yearly contracts. If you’d like to pay for multiple months or a year and are interested in a discount for committing to the extended server, please open a support ticket with our billing department.

If you are currently in a trial with a Mac mini, at the end of the 24-hour free trial period you’ll be charged in full for your first month of service. You’re subscription can be canceled at any time, but we do not prorate for unused time if you close your account before the end of a billing period.

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How do I pay with Paypal?

We only accept Paypal for a pre-payment of 3 or more months of service. Please open a ticket with the billing department to setup your payments using Paypal.

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Where can I access my invoices?

Invoices can be downloaded in PDF format from your individual subscriptions under the Statements tab on your account dashboard. Each subscription has it’s own statement. For large numbers of servers, please get in touch with the billing team to discuss options for condensing billing statements.

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Can I change hosting plans?

Yes, you can request your rented Mac mini be moved from one hosting plan to the other at no cost to you. This only applies to the Mac mini with the Pro and Elite hosting plans as the Mac Pro has a single hosting plan available, Quad Elite.

Subscribers may login to their account dashboard and open a support ticket to request this change. A change of hosting plans requires physically moving your server to a new rack slot. That means you will experience several moments of downtime. Within your request ticket, we’ll work with you to reduce downtime via scheduling.

Your hosting charges will be prorated that month based on the number of days your server spends on each hosting plan.

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Can I change my rental Mac type and change options any time?

One of the great features of our Dedicated Server product is that you may change models at any time. Simply contact support, and make a request for the change to the new model type.

When possible, we will migrate your data free of charge. Billing will stop for the old mini, and start for the new mini without any sort of penalty.

You can also add or remove options like additional RAM, external storage, firewall, etc. via your MacStadium dashboard by clicking on “Add Component” under your Current Subscriptions area.

Changes to Dedicated Servers submitted to support via either method are managed via a work-order ticket and completed at the first available time (usually within an hour or two).

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Do I have root and admin access to the rented mac?

Every rented server is released with an admin account and the ability to modify system-level files. Login as administrator to a Mac running macOS and you have complete control over the system.

SSH and VNC access are enabled by default on dedicated servers so you can access them from any device; it’s no different than if the server were on your local network.

We do require that you follow the guidelines set in our Terms of Service / Acceptable Use Policy (TOS/AUP) which you must agree to during checkout.

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What type of RAID is used in the 2xHDD Mac mini configurations?

By default, Mac minis with RAID arrays are set to RAID1. That means the pair of drives are mirrored for availability.

If you’d like a different RAID configuration at the time of order, after you create a new subscription, open a support ticket with your request.

Our support staff can also handle custom requests. One popular option on the quad core minis is removing the raid array and replacing one of the disks with an SSD. The user can then install VMware ESXi on the SSD with a few high-performing (or all) VMs while using the remaining HDD for low-performance VMs and/or backup.

An important disclaimer: RAID in any form is not a backup. RAID provides availability or speed based on the format. If you lose a disk in a RAID1 array, you have another disk available to rebuild the RAID array after adding a new disk. Other forms of RAID offer lesser or greater amounts of availability by way of parity. Wikipedia has a great article on the standard RAID levels.

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How do I configure my Mac mini for colocation prior to shipping it to MacStadium?

We have prepared this online configuration guide.

Please follow the directions as described, and then ship your Mac mini to the MacStadium location listed in your install ticket.

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I am shipping in my Mac. After I sign up, what happens next?

After you create your account on MacStadium.com, and choose your subscription the next steps are as follows:

  1. You will be immediately provided:
    • Full access to your subscriber dashboard.
    • Specific subscription information including IP Addresses.
    • On screen and an Email Step by Step directions on how to optimally configure your Mac mini to for the MacStadium data center.
  2. A new activation support ticket will be automatically created letting us know that your Mac is en route to MacStadium. You will be automatically emailed notification of this Ticket #.
  3. You will need to configure your Mac mini according to the provided Colo Configuration Guide. Please package all hardware securely by wrapping it in several inches of bubble wrap or other material as suggested by the shipping company. Also, we suggest you insure your shipment with the shipping company.
  4. Upon receipt of your Mac mini, we will inspect it, test it, and install it into an available slot within our MacStadium data center based on the chosen hosting plan.
  5. We will contact you via support ticket to ensure you can reach your server and answer any questions you may have.
  6. Once you have validated that everything is to your liking, the MacStadium technician will close your installation ticket. You will be automatically emailed notification of this ticket being closed.

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Where do I ship my Mac for colocation after I signup?

The current addresses for our data centers are listed on our Contact page. An account and subscription is required before shipping a server.

After shipment, please update your install ticket with the tracking number of your shipment so we can keep track and provide with the best estimate of when your servers will be colocated and online in one of our data centers.

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Can I add an external hard drive to a server?

Starting at just $10 per month, you can rent a dedicated 2.5” external 1TB (1,000GB), 2TB, or 4TB USB 3.0 bus-powered hard drive for your Mac. With this drive attached, you can have a simple, robust backup and / or expanded capacity solution. You can partition the external 2.5″ drive as you like via the operating system on your server.

We recommend making one partition the same size as the internal drive in your Mac and then have it clone each night using either the included macOS Time Machine backup tools, or a third party tool like SuperDuper which allows you to boot from the external drive right away in the event of a disaster on your internal drive. The remaining space can be used as a secondary partition to use as you desire.

We can also colocate your own external hard drive as long as it fits size and power requirements. Colocated hard drives can have usb or thunderbolt connectivity as long as it is bus-powered.

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Can I change the OS on my server from macOS to Linux?

This question comes up in various forms on a regular basis. When you initially order a server with macOS on it, we don’t do any operating system customization; it’s macOS on the bare metal Mac as if you’d bought it at a store.

In order to install Linux (or any other operating system – we get requests for installing Cpanel, for instance), we would have to pull your server, wipe it, and install the VMware ESXi hypervisor. From there we create a virtual machine and install your chosen Linux distribution. We can also just provide you with the VMware ESXi installation and you’ll be able to create the virtual machine and configure it to your liking. You will need to purchase extra ip addresses in that case.

We do this to provide an easier mechanism for support in case you have issues or want to change OS again. We can quickly rebuild your Linux-based OS, for example, using the hypervisor and you can manage the bootup process.

One of the benefits of the hypervisor is the ability to install multiple operating systems on one system. If you’re subscription is for a mini with the quad core i7 CPU, you’ll be able to run multiple virtual machines with various operating systems on the server and little in the way of stuttering or lag (subject to application use, of course).

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I accidentally turned off VNC on my hosted Mac. What do I do?

If you accidentally turn off VNC / ARD on your hosted Mac, and cannot get to the remote desktop in this method, you can re-enable it thru a console connection via SSH (which MacStadum turns on by default on all rented Mac servers) as a backdoor in case of such a scenario as this:

  • If you are accessing the hosted Mac from a local computer running macOS, you can click on Spotlight, and type ‘terminal’.  Once in terminal, execute the command: ssh, where the number sequence is the IP of your hosted Mac.
  • If you are on a PC or other local workstation, download a Telnet/SSH client such as putty, and connect to the ip of your hosted Mac.

Once you are prompted, enter your administrator-privileged username and password.

Once you are logged in, you can execute the following command at the prompt to re-enable VNC (where it says ‘mypasswd’, insert your desired VNC Password):

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate -configure -access -on -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes -clientopts -setvncpw -vncpw mypasswd -restart -agent -privs -all

You can now close your terminal/SSH window, and attempt to re-connect via your VNC / ARD client as normal.

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Does MacStadium require a server edition of the Mac mini for colocation?

Over the past few years, Apple has made several key changes to the Mac mini device line.

From mid 2010 until late 2014, Apple offered two distinct models of the Mac mini with varying architecture. A base model with dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU was available along with a quad-core Intel Core i7 model.

The quad-core i7 model was also available in a server variant with redundant disk drives and either the Server version of OS X (up until OS X 10.7) or a copy of the macOS Server application in versions 10.8 and newer. macOS Server can be purchased from the App Store.

With the Mac mini update in late 2014, Apple removed the server model from the product offering. We still offer the quad-core i7 Mac mini for rental with redundant hard drives or with an SSD. For CPU-intensive tasks, the i7 Mac mini is the best value. You are free to colocate any model of Mac mini at MacStadium. Make sure you follow our configuration guide before shipping.

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How do I use a hosted Mac for remote Time Machine backups?

One of the most popular uses of the MacStadium colocation service is for archiving backups of all of your existing Mac computers into a secure, remote location with always-available, high-speed internet.

A Mac makes a great remote backup location to accomplish this task.  To configure this service:

  • Enable File Sharing.
  • Create unique user logins for each user to ensure security.

Each user will need to connect to the remote drive across the Internet using your Mac mini’s IP Address like this:

  • afp://www.xxx.yyy.zzz (Insert your assigned IP address)
  • Once the remote drive is mounted, you can create Time Machine backups to this location as if they were on your local network near the computers to be backed up.

As an additional step, you will probably want to setup your client (the PC in front of you – not the hosted Mac) to automatically connect to the remote share on your hosted mac every time you restart your client mac:

  • Go to your System Preferences.
  • Go to Users & Groups.
  • Make sure you pick the user you use to login.
  • Go to Login Items.
  • Click on the + sign at the bottom of the list.
  • Browse the Shared network share. Make sure you open up the directory/folder you want to auto mount.
  • Click Add.
  • You should see the newly added share appears as the volume kind in the login item list.
  • When you reboot and login, the share will be mounted automatically.
  • It may take up to 1 minute for the share to actually show up upon a reboot.

Many users take advantage of our external USB and network-attached storage devices to greatly expand the capacity and capabilities of the server they are using as a backup location.

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Can I add SAN to an existing server?

If you have a Mac Pro server running an operating system on bare metal (macOS, for example), we can’t provision SAN storage for it. Due to the configuration and type of storage, the operating system is unable to connect to and manage SAN storage.

If your existing server is a Mac Pro running VMware and you wish to add SAN storage, this is absolutely possible. We’ll need to take the server offline for a short period to present fiber channel connectivity to it. There is no additional cost to adding SAN at a later date.

The Mac mini is not mentioned here because we find the Mac mini to be under-equipped to handle SAN storage. It’s also not listed in the VMware hardware compatibility list whereas the Mac Pro is listed (meaning you can receive support from VMware). Plus, the Mac Pro has multiple ethernet ports and thunderbolt ports to connect a fiber channel PCI card and take advantage of the maximum throughput available.

If SAN is not a viable option, we also offer several other high-capacity external storage options. We can plug in a 2.5″ BUS-powered hard drive up to 4TB in size (either USB or Thunderbolt and either colocated or rented). We also have a dedicated NAS option up to 25TB that is available and connected either directly to a server (depending on space and I/O port availabiilty) or via the local network.

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How can I enable file sharing between multiple dedicated servers?

This could be done by either placing your dedicated servers in a PVLAN community where your IP addresses would not change or through a dedicated VLAN where they would. The PVLAN option is free. With the dedicated VLAN you would have to pay per month for the size subnet you desired.

You can open a support ticket to have either option configured.

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How fast is the internet connection?

At MacStadium, regardless of the Hosting plan you subscribe to, each and every Mac mini is provided a dedicated ethernet port with either 100Mbps on the Pro Plan or 1000Mbps (1 Gigabit) on the Elite Plan.  We do not cap, throttle, or restrict your utilization and both plans take advantage of symmetric connections. A symmetric connection has the same speed for upstream as for downstream so you will in fact get 100Mbps or 1000Mbps UP to the Internet, and 100Mbps or 1000Mbps DOWN from the Internet via this symmetric connection. This type of connection is suitable for services that are heavily impacted by delays, like video and audio streaming.

Your Mac is connected to a dedicated, fully-redundant pair of Cisco 6500 series routers, which in turn are directly connected to our Juniper core network with over 50Gbps directly to the Internet.

The Atlanta data center is directly connected via DWDM Ethernet and protected OC-192 SONET to a series of AT&T Central Offices as well as one of the largest carrier neutral Internet Hub’s in the Southeastern United States known as Telx 56 Marietta Street, and the Telx Internet Exchange.

Beyond basic Internet BGP routing to our upstream carriers, MacStadium also utilizes advanced InterNAP Flow Control Platform appliances.  These advanced devices utilize advanced network intelligence to ensure that your Internet traffic always takes the most efficient route across the Internet to its ultimate destination.

Be sure to check out our Hosting Elite 1,000Mbps Internet and Hosting Pro 100Mbps internet benchmark videos.

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How is bandwidth usage calculated?

For dedicated servers, we provide complimentary real-time and historical network usage graphs at the port and network edge in your account dashboard. Usage is calculated hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly for you to monitor in real time.

If you are on a bulk plan with many servers under a single invoice, we can not guarantee access to the network usage graphs.

Customers with private cloud environments will not have access to the network usage graphs in their account dashboards. Instead, we will provide complimentary access to an account with Logic Monitor to track network and compute usage.

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How secure is the connection to servers at MacStadium?

MacStadium’s engineering team has spared no expense in providing a variety of standard and optional, premium security measures.

Standard Hardware Traffic Segmentation

Our Cisco switching infrastructure keeps 100% of all traffic (Broadcast, Unicast, Multicast, etc), of all sorts from getting from one customer’s Mac to another (If you have multiple Macs with us, you can request we turn this feature off for your servers only). When you open finder in macOS on your Mac, you will not see any other devices on the network at all.

Software Firewalls

By default we leave all ports open to the Internet to allow for maximum flexibility to our subscribers. We recommend that you enable a software firewall such as the options that are included in your operating system, or a 3rd party software firewall like Murus, the successor to our previous recommendation, IceFloor.

Please take the time to understand the side effects of enabling a third party firewall. If errors are made, you may lock yourself out of the mini. As long as you can provide us administrative access in a support ticket, one of our support agents should be able to get your server back online.

Premium Hardware Firewalls

We offer two types of hardware firewall subscriptions for rental; shared and dedicated.

Shared Firewalls

As a subscription option of $50/month, you can place an unlimited number of Mac servers behind a firewall cluster which we manage for you. This is a very high end solution that is capable of also being configured for Site to Site VPN, and Dialup VPN.

Dedicated Firewalls

We also offer rental of one of several dedicated Cisco ASA firewalls. This is a self-managed option. We’ll complete the initial setup based on a request form we provide you and then provide access instructions for your use and further configuration.

Custom Deployments

We understand that many customers have unique security requirements and may wish to host their own firewalls in our data centers. Our engineering team is well-versed in Cisco’s ASA line, but we also have experience with security appliances from many other manufacturers.

We are open to working with you to develop the best network security implementation possible using your hardware and ours.

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Is network traffic throttled?

We do not throttle or groom network traffic in any way. Whether your servers are on the Pro or Elite hosting plan, you’ll get full 100Mbps or 1000Mbps, respectively, upstream and downstream.

All connections are wide open as well, by default. We do not block any ports on servers at the time of configuration.

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Can we securely connect to our MacStadium servers by whitelisting the public IP addresses?

Do you need secure remote (SSH, SFTP, etc.) access to or from your MacStadium servers to machines at a third party provider like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure?

Your Public IP’s are yours to use and are not shared. Once assigned to your machine or account, they are not used for any other purpose. You’re free to whitelist those IP’s on your remote AWS, GCP, or Azure servers for remote access to your MacStadium dedicated servers and/or virtual machines.

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Can I connect to a hosted Mac from behind my office firewall?

Starting at $50 per month, you can utilize our managed, shared firewall. Engineers at MacStadium will consult with you or your business’ IT experts to configure and maintain a variety of premium security solutions for your subscriptions behind this firewall. We utilize a variety of security appliances at our data center, but prefer the Cisco ASA 5500 series as our primary solution.

With this platform, subscribers commonly have us configure solutions such as these:

  • Create a permanent VPN tunnel between corporate office Local Area Network and servers located at MacStadium.
  • Enable ports for remote access to allow remote users to VPN into their MacStadium servers.
  • Establish extensive firewall policies; protecting and securing their servers from the Internet as needed. This is often preferred over software firewall policies which are placed directly on the servers. Managing a firewall at the network level in front of your hardware is easier to configure and troubleshoot—especially when multiple servers are involved.

We also offer dedicated firewalls in the same Cisco ASA 5500 series that can be self-managed by you or your IT staff.

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Does MacStadium provide DNS services?

We offer complimentary DNS domain hosting for your Mac via a web interface known as ‘ISPConfig’. With this interface, you can setup DNS zones and create / edit zone records.

MacStadium engineering can setup a reverse DNS PTR record for your machine at no cost. This is essential if you are hosting a Mail server or similar with your Mac.

Please open a support ticket for DNS record change requests.

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How do I configure the ISPConfig DNS Zone Management?

At MacStadium, if you have an active subscription with us, you may also request a FREE DNS Management account which allows you to create and manage DNS Zone records on our authoritative DNS Servers here at MacStadium. This may be useful in further lowering your hosting expenses with your legacy provider(s). There is no limit as to the number of Zone records you may host with us.

  • Open a support ticket asking for an ISPConfig account to be setup for your MacStadium Subscription
  • Log into your ISPConfig account at : http://ispconfig.broadriver.com:8080
  • Click on DNS tab
  • Click on the DNS Wizard button
  • Choose Default (Broadriver hosted) template
    • Insert your domain (like yourdomain.com)
    • Insert the IP Address of your Mac mini hosted at MacStadium
    • Insert a valid Email address
  • Under the DNS Zones table, click on your domain name under the Zone column
  • Click on the Records Tab
  • Use the buttons to create the appropriate Zone Records for your configuration
    • For example, to create an ‘A’ Record, for www.yourdomain.com, click on ‘+ A’
    • Enter the host name as ‘www’
    • Enter the IP Address of your hosted Mac mini
    • Click Save
  • Once you have created all of the appropriate records for your domain, you can now log into your Domain Registrar (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc) and point the authoritative DNS servers for your domain to:
    • dns1.broadriver.com
    • dns2.broadriver.com
  • Once you have done this, you should allow up to 72 hours for everything to move over to the ISPConfig domain management setup that you created.

To speed the typical 72 hours, lower the refresh interval on your existing DNS provider prior to executing a DNS zone management migration. For example, in our ISPConfig, the refresh is defaulted to 28800 seconds (8 hours). By lowering your refresh to 1800 before attempting your DNS migration, then the internet will force all new DNS requests over to the new ISPConfig setup within 30 minutes.

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What web service can I use to check the speed of my server?

We recommend using beta.speedtest.net. It’s an HTML5 version of the popular speed test tool by Ookla.

We’ve tested a few other services (like speedof.me) with servers in our data centers and we see issues with accuracy and consistency based on the tool as well as the internet browser used (e.g. Safari vs. Chrome).

We have also blogged about speed tests in the past. In our blog, you can review Hosting Elite Gigabit Speed Tests andHosting Pro 100Mb Speed Tests.

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Why do I get DNS resolution errors on my rented NAS?

If you’ve rented an NAS from us, you may get errors that look this:

“The system has detected that your DNS server cannot resolve host, and some applications might not work properly. Please go to “Control Panel > Network > TCP/IP” and check if the DNS server and default gateway is correct. You may contact your ISP (Internet service provider) for the DNS server information.”

There’s no need to panic. In fact, you can ignore this error. This is happening because in it’s current configuration, the NAS is not exposed to an outside internet connection. You can set this error to not alert in your NAS settings.

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Why do I have recurring issues connecting to my colocated server running an older version of OS X?

If you are running 10.9 or 10.10 on a mini you sent us to host, there is a ARP issue in OS X which causes significant packet loss in redundant Cisco Networks. This needs to be patched in the OS X networking stack. In your dashboard, we’ve provided a tool for you to check the status of and apply the patch at any time. We’ve written an extensive blog article on OS X 10.9 Mavericks bugs covering this issue.

We don’t see the ARP issue much because 99.5% of the thousands of servers here are owned by us, and we install the patch as part of the deployment script.

If your server is colocated, we would not have installed the patch and do not check for it upon install. After we receive and bring your server Mac online, we suggest new colocation customers to navigate to the customer dashboard (Configuration Tab) and enable the ARP-Fix patch.

Please review the following post covering How to apply the ARP fix for colocated Macs and open a support ticket if you need further assistance.

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Remote Support

How do I share my account details in a support ticket?

The simplest solution is to just share them with us in the support ticket. We’ve got a secure web interface so you don’t have to worry about your server credentials being leaked.

If you’re still feeling unsafe about leaving that info available in a past ticket (we can’t erase them), there are a few web services available for providing one-time, password-protected links to your sensitive text. Below are just a few of the options.

MacStadium does not endorse the use of these services (we think our ticketing system is secure) but understand your desire for secure transmission protocols. Please research thoroughly the technology, terms and conditions, and privacy policy of third-party web service when considering sharing your sensitive content with them.

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What does the remote hands service cover?

MacStadium provides:

  • Free live chat, email, and phone support 24x7x365.
  • Free remote hands service 24x7x365 without hidden fees.

Our remote hands service covers these types of issues:

  • Mac hardware diagnosis & repair
  • Network infrastructure or IP issues
  • OS password recovery to default
  • OS restore to factory default
  • OS restore from backup (Time Machine, etc)
  • OS services enable/disable (turn off firewall,SIP,etc)

What is not covered?

MacStadium is a data center and network infrastructure provider. We will always work to ensure we are able to assist you in your service request. In some cases, your request may go beyond our remote hands scope as listed above, and we may then quote you an hourly rate to address your issue, or refer you to one of our IT partners who are better suited to address your IT support requirement.

Are backups covered?

MacStadium is not responsible for the backup of your software. We offer external USB drives and NAS options to facilitate your data retention policies. We can provide you the infrastructure and hardware expertise to assist you in setting it up.

If a hard drive in your server fails, we have the capability to replace that hard drive and restore your backups to it, but are not liable for the data on the failed hard drive or the backups.

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What if my Mac ‘locks up’ or needs a reboot?

If your Mac locks up, or becomes unavailable, you should first utilize the Power Management ‘Reboot’ feature included with every seat at MacStadium via your control panel on the MacStadium website.  By clicking this button, a signal is sent to an APC switched PDU power outlet which is dedicated to your MacMini’s seat at the MacStadium.  The APC PDU will drop power for a few seconds, and then restore power.

In order for this feature to work as desired, it is important that you have followed the directions on the initial setup of your MacMini which was sent with your welcome letter from MacStadium when you initiated service with us.

Also, by following these directions, even if you accidentially shut down your MacMini by some unforseen set of circumstances, by scheduling a daily self-power on, the MacMini will re-awaken by itself in that scenario (example at 4AM below).

In macOS, select System Preferences from the Apple Menu and configure as follows:

  • Click on Energy Saver
    • Display Sleep
      • Set to Never
    • Computer Sleep
      • Set to Never
    • Uncheck ‘Put the hard disks to sleep when possible’
    • Check ‘Wake for Ethernet network administrator access’
    • Uncheck ‘Allow power button to sleep the computer’
    • Check ‘Restart  automatically after a power failure’
    • Click Schedule
      • Set Start up or wake Every day at 4AM (in case you ever accidentally shut your mac down permanently)

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Can you assist with the configuration of my Mac?

We are a fully-staffed service organization with technicians and engineers available around the clock—many of whom are highly trained on solutions which involve Apple hardware.

Our remote hands service covers basic hardware and OS setup to ensure that you can successfully gain access to your Mac via remote SSH or Screen Sharing.

If you need further, more-specific help setting up more detailed aspects of the OS or included software, we will try to help if we can easily provide you guidance.

It is important to understand that MacStadium is first and foremost an infrastructure services provider, and not an IT support organization. For this reason, we often will refer your more advanced support issues related to the custom configuration of your OS or software to one of our partners who specialize in IT configuration and management.

We love our customers, and we always partner with you to ensure your success no matter what that means. To engage our support staff, simply grab us on chat, open a ticket, or give us a call.

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How do I add multiple email addresses to my account for support tickets?

Your customer account has a single email account attached to it. This is the main email address we will use to contact you  for support, billing, and marketing. This email is the default for new tickets and is pushed to our billing platform to provide you with billing statements.

On your subscriber dashboard, select Account Settings to view more details about your account. On this page, you’ll see a textbox for Additional Email Contacts (one per line). Think of additional email contacts as authorized users of your account’s ticketing system. We only accept email support tickets from authorized email addresses for security reasons.

As stated under the textbox, Additional Email Contacts can create and receive support ticket updates. This is where many of our users may become confused.

Here’s how it works:

When a ticket is opened thru the dashboard, the email address associated with that ticket will be the primary email address on the customer account.

When a ticket is opened via an email to support@macstadium.com, the system looks to see if the email address which the support request came from is associated with an account. That means your Primary/Billing email or any email address authorized on the account in the textbox mentioned above.

If the email address matches up, a ticket will be opened under your customer account, but the ticket will be communicated only with the email address of the person who opened the account.

The Problem:

Many of our customers are confused as to why one of their additional email contacts isn’t receiving copies of ticket replies. As mentioned above, the only email that will get replies is the email that opened the ticket. If opened through the dashboard, that’s the primary/billing email. If through a support email, that’s the authorized email that sent the first message.

Don’t fret, though, there’s a rather elegant solution you can setup on your end to fix this.

The Solution:

Did you notice that our support email is support@macstadium.com? That’s a master email that acts as a catch-all. It receives all emails and forwards them to a distribution list. That list is made up of our support staff so they all receive a copy in their individual email inboxes.

You should setup your own distribution list email address and set it as the Primary/Billing email in your Account Dashboard. Try DevOps@{companyname}.com or MacStadium@{companyname}.com. Most of our large clients take advantage this setup. Each member of their DevOps team receives a copy of ticket replies when any one of them emails support@macstadium.com.

Login and navigate to your account dashboard to setup your email distribution list.

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Can I use FileVault on my Mac?

We do not support FileVault and can not as a user is required to login before the Mac connects to the internet. This is not possible with the Mac located in our data center racks and customers connecting remotely from the internet.

If you enable FileVault, you will lose access to the Mac completely upon the first reboot. Our support agents will have to wait for FileVault to completely encrypt the drives and then they will have to unencrypt them again. The entire process can typically take between 48-72 hours.

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Can I upgrade my Mac operating system from OS X 10.10 to 10.11?

You may upgrade to El Capitan at any time from the App store. We recommend users create a time machine backup of systems currently in use before attempting OS upgrades. This will ease the burden of recovery in case something goes wrong.

We offer 2.5″ external USB drives for this purpose starting at $10/month based on capacity or you can colocate your own. When you begin the upgrade, give the machine at least 30-60 min as it will power off and restart itself. If the machine does not come back you can submit a support ticket and we may have to click through some prompts to complete the update. One word of warning, Apple disabled virtual mouse for Keychain access in 10.11. You may want to research more about that change as it has affected numerous customers doing app development with Apple’s Xcode.

As of March 2016, there is no work around for the disabled virtual mouse. The only solution is for our support team to take the server offline and attempt to replicate in our lab what you are doing, by your detailed instructions on how to get the prompt for Keychain access, and click always allow. This method has been successful for all of our current customers running OS X 10.11 for app development.

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How do I check which version of operating system is currently installed?
macOS Command Line Interface

There’s a simple built-in tool to discover the current version of macOS from the command line: sw_vers

The result will look something like this:

$ sw_vers
ProductName: Mac OS X
ProductVersion: 10.6.4
BuildVersion: 10F569

If you’d just like to see the OS version, there’s a flag for that:

$ sw_vers -productVersion

  1. Select the Apple Logo (Menu) in the far left corner of the top panel on the desktop.
  2. Select About this Mac.
Linux (Debian/Ubuntu)

From a Debian Linux-based OS, like Ubuntu, two commands will tell you about your system:

uname -a and cat /etc/lsb-release

Here’s what the latter command might output:

$ cat /etc/lsb-release

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Why are coreaudiod and launchd in macOS using a high amount of resources?

We’ve heard about this problem from a few customers so here’s a solution that seems to work and fix the issue of coreaudiod and launchd taking up a high amount of CPU resources.

Disclaimer: We are an infrastructure provider first and can only offer a minimal amount of assistance for software issues. Please contact the software developer for further assistance. We can also provide a list of vendors that we work with to support you.

From a customer:

I figured out what the problem was in case you all are seeing this in other places. The bluetooth daemon had crashed. I’m not sure why that made coreaudiod and launchd go crazy, but the fix is this:

$ sudo launchctl unload -w /system/library/launchdaemons/com.apple.blued.plist

If the daemon is crashed you may see a message like this:

/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.blued.plist: Could not find specified service

Next, run this:

$ sudo launchctl load -w /system/library/launchdaemons/com.apple.blued.plist

Once blued is running properly, coreaudiod and launchd both settle down.

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Why won’t Java install correctly on my hosted Mac?

Through trial and error, we determined that Java looks for an actual display to be plugged into the Mac mini in order for it to install correctly. None of the Mac servers in a data center environment like at MacStadium have physical displays connected.

As a solution, we have verified that installing a GPU enabler dongle—which we include as a free add-on to all Mac subscriptions—will trick macOS into thinking that there is a display plugged into the Mac. Java will once again install correctly. There are other benefits of the GPU enabler dongle such as performance improvements as noted in several of our blog articles.

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Can I run Daylite server on my hosted Mac?

Daylite is a popular business tool due to its ease of use, and great features. With a server at MacStadium, you’ll have access to a dedicated Mac in a data center to host your Daylite server and be online in a matter of a couple hours. By taking advantage of external storage, you can setup daily, automated Time Machine backups of your Daylite server to protect your business’ data. Read more here.

Since you have control of the whole server, you can use it for other services as well. In addition to Daylite data, you can host your website, file sharing, mail server, etc. Combining services in this way can save your company money.

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Can a hosted Mac server offer a virtual desktop at 4k resolution?

A hosted Mac can make a great virtual desktop interface with a few changes and additions. By connecting a GPU enabler to the unused HDMI port before placing the server in one of our racks, we can trick the Mac into believing it’s connected to a display. This simple addition causes the Mac server to then enable GPU acceleration by emulating a display. Multiple common display resolutions are then on offer for users connecting via screen sharing, VNC, or remote desktop.

By default, we include a GPU enabler on every new dedicated server rented. This GPU enabler offers up to 1080p resolution. We have small and large customers who either send in or request that we custom order GPU enablers that can support up to 4k resolution or 4k plus high refresh rates. fit-Headless is one company that offers HDMI GPU enablers for this purpose.

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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. Check out our article on the topic: http://www.macstadium.com/blog/managing-vmware-esxi-with-just-a-mac/

In early 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.

If you’re Mac is currently 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.

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Is there a control panel to create and manage multiple macOS virtual machines on one machine?

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. 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.

In recent years, 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; it’s included in all new installs of the latest version of VMware on Mac servers at MacStadium.

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How do I enable ssh from the VMware ESXi Embedded Host Client?

This is fairly simple for even new VMware users. You can either request it in a support ticket or complete it yourself using our guide: How to Enable SSH in the VMware ESXi Embedded Host Client

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Still need help? We're here 24/7!
For any questions, please chat with an agent, write us at support@macstadium.com, or call us on +1 855 288 2260.