I'm planning to install Docker on my MacBook Air (Early 2014): Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM. I need Docker to be able to run SQL Server on my Mac (as I understand this is the only way to run it). However, there are some system requirements that I should meet to be able to run it.

System requirements from Docker website state this: Mac hardware must be a 2010 or newer model, with Intel’s hardware support for memory management unit (MMU) virtualization; i.e., Extended Page Tables (EPT) and Unrestricted Mode. You can check to see if your machine has this support by running the following command in a terminal: sysctl kern.hv_support

When I run this command, sysctl kern.hv_support, in Terminal, I receive the following output: kern.hv_support: 1

What does it actually mean? Can someone explain? Does it mean that I can run Docker on my Mac?


There is complex way to find out whether your processor meets the requirements:

sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string

With the details (e.g. i5-4260U) go to Intel Product Specifications, search for the proc and check the Specifications > Advanced Technologies:

Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) ‡                    Yes
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) ‡   Yes
Intel® VT-x with Extended Page Tables (EPT) ‡                Yes

If these three features are supported, Docker will run.

A simpler check is sysctl kern.hv_support. If the command yields 1, the Hypervisor.framework required by Docker is supported on this processor.

The most simple method is to download and try to run Docker. If you get a "Fatal error. Incompatible CPU detected.... " your proc doesn't meet the requirements.

Even restricted to an older processor you will be able to run Windows & Microsoft SQL Server in a type 2 hypervisor like VirtualBox, VMware Fusion or Parallels though. Some $bucks are required though.

  • I have already used VirtualBox before, but never Docker. I do not really even know what Docker is. do you think it will be easier to use VirtualBox or Docker? – tera_789 Dec 23 '17 at 1:31
  • @NS_777 It depends on your requirements! In VBox you'd have to purchase a Windows license and a MS SQL Server license (MS SQL Server Express/Developer are free though). Docker doesn't virtualize a whole host but an app/service/feature (based on a Linux VM). E.g to run a webserver like nginx you just have to download an nginx container and run it (instead of setting up a whole Linux VM and install nginx). Same with mssql-server-linux! Docker – klanomath Dec 23 '17 at 1:54
  • my university provides me with free licenses of vbox and windows. Would it be even easier if I just install Windows with boot camp and get sql server on it? – tera_789 Dec 23 '17 at 8:54

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