VMware Workstation Networking Basics

Network Basics

VMware Workstation provides several ways you can configure a virtual machine for virtual networking.

  • Bridged networking configures your virtual machine as a unique identity on the network, separate and unrelated to its host.
  • Network address translation (NAT) configures your virtual machine to share the IP and MAC addresses of the host. The virtual machine and the host share a single network identity that is not visible outside the network. NAT can be useful when you are allowed a single IP address or MAC address by your network administrator. You might also use NAT to configure separate virtual machines for handling http and ftp requests, with both virtual machines running off the same IP address or domain.
  • Host-only networking configures your virtual machine to allow network access only to the host. This can be useful when you want a secure virtual machine that is connected to the host network, but available only through the host machine.
  • Custom networking lets you configure your virtual machine’s network connection manually.
  • If you select the Typical setup path in the New Virtual Machine Wizard when you create a virtual machine, the wizard sets up bridged networking for the virtual machine. You can choose any of the common configurations — bridged networking, network address translation (NAT) and host-only networking — by selecting the Custom setup path. The wizard then connects the virtual machine to the appropriate virtual network.

    You can set up more specialized configurations by choosing the appropriate settings in the virtual machine settings editor, in the virtual network editor (on Windows hosts) and on your host computer.

    On a Windows host, the software needed for all networking configurations is installed when you install VMware Workstation. On a Linux host, when you install Workstation, you can choose whether to have bridged and host-only networking available to your virtual machines: you must choose both options during the Workstation installation to make all networking configurations available for your virtual machines.

     

    Workstation-Networking

    Bridged Networking

    Bridged networking connects a virtual machine to a network using the host computer’s Ethernet adapter.

    Bridged networking is set up automatically if you select Use bridged networking in the New Virtual Machine Wizard or if you select the Typical setup path. This selection is available on a Linux host only if you enable the bridged networking option when you install VMware Workstation.

    If your host computer is on an Ethernet network, this is often the easiest way to give your virtual machine access to that network. Linux and Windows hosts can use bridged networking to connect to both wired and wireless networks.

    If you use bridged networking, your virtual machine needs to have its own identity on the network. For example, on a TCP/IP network, the virtual machine needs its own IP address. Your network administrator can tell you whether IP addresses are available for your virtual machine and what networking settings you should use in the guest operating system. Generally, your guest operating system may acquire an IP address and other network details automatically from a DHCP server, or you may need to set the IP address and other details manually in the guest operating system.

    If you use bridged networking, the virtual machine is a full participant in the network. It has access to other machines on the network and can be contacted by other machines on the network as if it were a physical computer on the network.

    Be aware that if the host computer is set up to boot multiple operating systems and you run one or more of them in virtual machines, you need to configure each operating system with a unique network address. People who boot multiple operating systems often assign all systems the same address, since they assume only one operating system will be running at a time. If you use one or more of the operating systems in a virtual machine, this assumption is no longer true.

    If you make some other selection in the New Virtual Machine Wizard and later decide you want to use bridged networking, you can make that change in the virtual machine settings editor (VM > Settings).

    The VM-1 can communicate to the HOST operating system, and connect to the outside LAN/INTERNET, but cannot communicate to the NAT and HostOnly networks.

    Host-Only Networking

    Host-only networking creates a network that is completely contained within the host computer.

    A host-only network is set up automatically if you select Use Host-only Networking in the New Virtual Machine Wizard. On Linux hosts, this selection is available only if you enabled the host-only networking option when you installed VMware Workstation.

    Host-only networking provides a network connection between the virtual machine and the host computer, using a virtual Ethernet adapter that is visible to the host operating system. This approach can be useful if you need to set up an isolated virtual network.

    If you use host-only networking, your virtual machine and the host virtual adapter are connected to a private Ethernet network. Addresses on this network are provided by the VMware DHCP server.

    If you make some other selection in the New Virtual Machine Wizard and later decide you want to use host-only networking, you can make that change in the virtual machine settings editor (VM > Settings).

    The VM-5 and VM-4 can communicate to each other, and cannot communicate to the HOST operating system and other VM’s in the HostOnly network.

    The VM-6 and VM-7 cannot communicate each other, Bridged and to the HOST network also.

     

    image

    Network Address Translation (NAT)

    NAT gives a virtual machine access to network resources using the host computer’s IP address.

    A network address translation connection is set up automatically if you follow the Custom path in the New Virtual Machine Wizard and select Use network address translation.

    If you want to connect to the Internet or other TCP/IP network using the host computer’s dial-up networking or broadband connection and you are not able to give your virtual machine an IP address on the external network, NAT is often the easiest way to give your virtual machine access to that network.

    NAT also allows you to connect to a TCP/IP network using a Token Ring adapter on the host computer.

    If you use NAT, your virtual machine does not have its own IP address on the external network. Instead, a separate private network is set up on the host computer. Your virtual machine gets an address on that network from the VMware virtual DHCP server. The VMware NAT device passes network data between one or more virtual machines and the external network. It identifies incoming data packets intended for each virtual machine and sends them to the correct destination.

    If you select NAT, the virtual machine can use many standard TCP/IP protocols to connect to other machines on the external network. For example, you can use HTTP to browse Web sites, FTP to transfer files and Telnet to log on to other computers. In the default configuration, computers on the external network cannot initiate connections to the virtual machine. That means, for example, that the default configuration does not let you use the virtual machine as a Web server to send Web pages to computers on the external network.

    If you make some other selection in the New Virtual Machine Wizard and later decide you want to use NAT, you can make that change in the virtual machine settings editor (VM > Settings).

    In the above diagram, the VM-2 & VM-3 can communicate to each other and other VM’s in the NAT network, and also to the HOST operating system

    If we looked in to the host services, we can see the below main services for the Virtual networking.

    DHCP Server

    The DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) server provides IP network addresses to virtual machines in configurations that are not bridged to an external network — for example, host-only and NAT configurations.

    NAT Device

    The NAT (network address translation) device allows you to connect your virtual machines to an external network when you have only one IP network address on the physical network, and that address is used by the host computer. You can, for example, use NAT to connect your virtual machines to the Internet through a dial-up connection on the host computer, through the host computer’s Ethernet adapter, or through a wireless Ethernet adapter.

    The NAT device is set up automatically when you install VMware Workstation. (On a Linux host, you must choose to make NAT available to your virtual machines.)

    image

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    About GK_RAJ

    An enthusiastic IT person, with an intense passion towards Datacenter technologies. I am a VMware vExpert Title holder and working as a Technical Consultant, in Qatar. I am exposed to VMware vSphere, Storage, Bladecenters, Datacenter operations, Symantec Backup, Deduplication technologies and carry rich and diversified experience in these domains. I specialize in Designing & Consulting on VMware VSphere, the integration of Storage and Network Stacks to VSphere. With my experience, I help Organizations/Enterprises to achieve their CAPEX & OPEX savings, develop DR and BCP strategies, Consolidation services with Virtualization using VSphere, and prepare them to move to Cloud. In the meantime, I would like to share my knowledge and do a good contribution to the community. I am an Indian citizen, and have a Engineering degree in Electronics and Communication. I have certified in VCAP5-DCD, VCP-Cloud, VCP 4 & 5, MCITP, MCSE.

    Posted on November 16, 2012, in Virtualization, VMware. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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