GUI never starts on macOS VMs on ESXi

I'm using the Unlocker 3 from here

I've never run into this issue before, but it even affects VMs running on nested ESXi hosts so I'm almost tempted to believe it's a problem specific to this hardware. This is on Netapp HCI .

When I go to boot a VM from an ISO, it gets to the point where the GUI would start and I get a beachball cursor and the apple logo is still visible. I've tested this on multiple versions of macOS including Lion, El Capitan, High Sierra, Mojave. same behavior.

I would be inclined to say the the Intel Xeon Silver CPU is not supported, but I can boot into single user mode just fine, and that shouldn't affect the virtual GPU presented to the VMs.

I'm not passing through a GPU or anything. just using the Vmware virtual graphics device. The intent was to create a pool of mac devices for testing rolling out our MDM strategy to non-Windows devices (all the devs that use Macs at work).

Any ideas what might be causing this issue?

submitted by /u/Lost_My_Bananas
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