Networking settings to properly set up a small network with VMWare Workstation

Posted on 2009-04-25
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Im using WMWare Workstation 6.5.

I am required to establish a small network consisting of a coouple of servers and 20 clients. I do not have to actually implement all 20 clients, I just have to show that I can perform unattended installs.

So I need to ensure that the clients can communicate properly to the servers. So that I can use WDS.  I am using Windows Vista and Server 2008.

Here is a link to a open question that can give a little more background information

My instructor took a look at my set up because I was having problems, and told me that I need to change the network configuration. I had it set to both the client and server to NAT.

The instructor told me it should not be NAT or Bridged, So I assume that I need to use host-only?

Does anybody have an idea or direction of how I need to configure the network settings so that I can get connectivity from my servers to clients.

Any help is greatly apprectiated
Question by:ryanlitwiller
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    are your servers and clients all VMs running inside workstation? if yes... read on

    if the purpose is networking between different guest VMs (server and client) you should use host only (or VMNet1)
    connect all the VMs to this virtual network
    and as long as they are all in same IP range/sub-net you should not have any issues in the clients communiction with the server.

    i have tested WDS (previous RIS with Win2003) in VMs running under VMware workstation 6.5, with host-only network settings - it has worked for me.
    LVL 89

    Expert Comment

    by:John Hurst
    Open the VMware help and look for Host-only networking. It tells you that host-only networking creates a network completely contained within the host computer. It is very restrictive and is really for sandbox computing. In normal use, your virtual machines want to talk to the Internet and perhaps other machines, so I would be inclined to use either NAT or Bridged.

    You need to ask your instructor why he or she is saying not to use NAT or Bridged. Both work perfectly well.

    One thing to consider is to make sure any firewalls (including your host firewall) are allowing connections between machines. NAT provides DHCP services within VMware itself and uses an additional subnet (as does Host-only).
    ... Thinkpads_User
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    If you are trying to set up a self-contained network... in other words a network where all of the clients and servers are running in virtual machines and don't interact with the real network, then all of your virtual machines should be host-only. The host-only mode will allow you to have a totally separate network and domain, if you need it and they will interact with each other, but not with the network that the host machine is talking to.

    If you're trying to set up a network where the virtual machines do indeed interact with the "real" network, I'd choose bridged mode. This makes all of the VMs members of the real-world networks.

    Author Comment

    I am not sure why my instructor has told me that I should not be using bridged or NAT and because he has granted me an extension one of the stipulations was that he could no longer answer my questions.

    All of my servers and clients are VMs running in the workstation, and I do not need an internet connection for any of them or any access to my actual network.

    If all the VM's on Host-Only can do is have their own virtual sandbox network, that is completely fine just as long as my clients can access the services running on the server.

    Thanks everybody for your help, with these comments I should be able to get it figured out and I will let everybody know how it works out.
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    A VM that is running as a host-only gets its IP info from the underlying VMware software and is given it's own network address that is separate from your real network.  If you add in other VMs that are also host-only, they will share that same IP range and will see each other; in effect creating a totally separate network where all of the VMs are members.
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution


    I suggest placing all your VMs into a Team (since you're using Workstation) and using LAN segments instead of Bridged, NAT or Host-only.

    Launch VMW and under the Home Tab select New Team
    The Team wizard appears. You will need to:

    - Name your team
    - Choose a location to store the team configuration
    - Add all necessary VMs
    - Create LAN segments (this will represent networks, so if you need just one, then create just one - you can create more later)
    - Assign your VMs to the LAN segment

    Now you have an isolated network that isn't assigned to any VMware specific network (NAT, Host Only come with pre-configure DHCP and Gateways).

    Using LAN segments allows you to deploy your own DHCP, DNS, and Gateways and use your own choice of subnets (,, networks).
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    I've posted this the other open question as well.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks again
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    You're welcome! Good luck on your setup!

    Also, since you're setting up WDS and attempting to boot the image to a VM, make sure to do the following:

    - Inject VMware drivers to your Boot Image that you've added to WDS
    - Edit your client VM's vmx file and add this line:

    ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"

    I usually add it after -- ethernet0.present = "TRUE"

    WDS will recognize your VM's network adapter and thus allow you to proceed with the WDS OS install.

    As a good practice, you should also inject the VMware drivers into your Boot Image

    These drivers are stored in your C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation directory

    To do so:

    - You will need to install WAIK (if you haven't done so already)
    - Launch the PE tools command line
    - Execute copype x86 c:\WDS (or whatever temp directory you want)
    - Execute imagex /mountrw <location of your boot image on WDS> 1 mount
    - Execute peimg /inf="C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\*.inf" mount\Windows
    - Execute imagex /unmount /commit mount
    - Re-enable the boot image
    - PXE boot your VM...
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    If you're deploying 64-bit OS then

    - Execute copype x64 instead of x86

    Author Comment

    Hey aldanch,

    You really know your stuff so maybe you can help with this.

    I got WDS to work with out doing your last recommendations of:

    "- Inject VMware drivers to your Boot Image that you've added to WDS
     - Edit your client VM's vmx file and add this line: "

    Maybe that is my problem, but I guess I figured if I can get WDS to begin installation then that is not my problem.

    Anyways my problem is I attached my unattend.xml file by right clicking on the wds server and enabling unattended install and putting my unattend.xml in the file technet specified.

    I get everything to completley automate all i have to do is turn the vm on, it will automatically create and modify disk config and then it installs and I believe it restarts and when it comes to asks the last 4 or 5 questions, which I do believe is the Windows Welcome Setup, it is no longer automated.

    I did read on microsofts page that in order to be able to only use one unattend file for both wds and windows setup you must follow these instructions:

    "The Windows Deployment Services client processes only settings in the Windows PE section of the client unattend file. It will not process settings in any other sections of that file, nor will it pass on the client unattend file for further processing after the image is applied, unless at least one of the following is true:

        * You have configured command-line precedence and are using an unattend file that was passed to Setup through the command line.

        * You do not have an image unattend file, and the client is not configured to join a domain.

    I do no know how to configure command line precedence but I did think I was correctly following the second condition. I dont have an image unattended file and I do not think I am configured to join a domain.

    I have attached the xml file and any help is appreciated

    Thanks again

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?> 
    - <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    - <settings pass="windowsPE">
    - <component name="Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
    - <SetupUILanguage>
    - <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Setup" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
    - <UserData>
    - <ProductKey>
    - <ImageInstall>
    - <OSImage>
    - <InstallFrom>
    - <MetaData wcm:action="add">
      <Value>Windows Vista BUSINESS</Value> 
    - <WindowsDeploymentServices>
    - <Login>
    - <Credentials>
    - <ImageSelection>
    - <InstallImage>
      <ImageName>Windows Vista BUSINESS</ImageName> 
    - <InstallTo>
    - <DiskConfiguration>
    - <Disk wcm:action="add">
    - <CreatePartitions>
    - <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
    - <ModifyPartitions>
    - <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
    - <settings pass="oobeSystem">
    - <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
    - <OOBE>
      <TimeZone>Eastern Standard Time</TimeZone> 
    - <Display>
    - <UserAccounts>
    - <AdministratorPassword>
    - <settings pass="specialize">
    - <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Security-Licensing-SLC-UX" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
    - <component name="Microsoft-Windows-UnattendedJoin" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
    - <Identification>
    - <Credentials>
      <Domain /> 
      <JoinDomain /> 
    - <component name="Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices-RDP-WinStationExtensions" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
    - <component name="Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices-LocalSessionManager" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
      <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="wim:c:/distribution/operating%20systems/install/sources/install.wim#Windows Vista BUSINESS" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" /> 

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