Since Apple released their Apple Silicon Laptops based on the ARM processor architecture, it became difficult for Consultants with such a device to run their Oracle Sandbox environment, because the main Oracle products are running on the Intel architecture. Hence a virtual machine on an Apple Silicon MacBook cannot be used for e.g. an Oracle Database Sandbox environment. You may use emulators like described here, but they are so slow, that they are not usable for daily tests.
So what can you do? You may run your test environment on the Cloud, but that produses additional costs and is not so easy to setup (except if you use YaK 😉).
I want to explain another alternative here: Running your Oracle Sandbox on a separate AMD-based Mini PC. I used AMD instead of Intel, because it’s more affordable with a 4-Core processor. To manage several environments on my external Mini PC I’m using Proxmox (Open Source Type I hypervisor/virtualisation software) to virtualise my Sandbox environments. Here are my components:
I.e. on the right I have my Apple MacBook Air 10,1 with 8GB of RAM and the M1 processor. On the left my external machine, which has the following specifications: Mini PC, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H Desktop PC (Quad-Core), 16GB DDR4 RAM 512GB. The Mini PC was purchased for 300.- Euros. It is small and light: 12×4.5×14.5 cm, 476g. Below the Mini PC an USB stick with a Proxmox ISO image on it.
To be able to use the Sandbox when connected to a network, the 2 machines should be connected through network cable with private IP addresses. In case the Mac has network access through WLAN it should act as a Gateway for the Mini PC.
Before switching on the Mini PC I configured the Mac to act as an Internet Gateway. First of all I gave my Mac a fix internal IP on the network adapter used:
Then I setup Internet Sharing on my Mac, i.e. the Mac acts as a gateway, In the System Settings I searched for “internet sharing”:
Clicking on the little “I” next to enabling Internet Sharing I get this to setup what interface I provide internet sharing with:
After confirming that and enabling Internet Sharing the following message appears:
That’s OK, because I’m using my own private network to the Mini PC only. So I clicked Start:
At this point I can start setting up Proxmox on my Mini PC. I installed it with DHCP enabled, so that it gets an IP address from my Mac automatically.
The hypervisor gets an IP-address 192.168.2.2 and I can connect to it with the browser:
Now I can install e.g. an Oracle 23cFree for developers in a VM as described here.
Finally I have my portable Oracle Sandbox running and accessible from my Apple SIlicon Laptop:
In the past I used Virtualbox and Vagrant to run my Oracle-Sandbox-environments directly on my Intel MacBook Pro 2019. If I want to remain on a Mac on Apple SIlicon then I need to adjust my Sandbox environment. Using an external AMD (or Intel) based Mini PC is affordable today. With Proxmox as a Type 1 hypervisor I can handle the VMs easily. The only efforts I have is to migrate my Virtualbox-VMs managed in Vagrant to Proxmox.
REMARK 1: If you can afford to spend more money for your Mini PC then you may check the latest Intel NUC 13 Pro, which is a high-performance device. See e.g. the Youtube-video here.
REMARK 2: If you want to remain on Virtualbox and Vagrant then just install Linux or Windows on your Mini PC, but this requires maintaining the OS as well. Maintaining Proxmox requires much less efforts.