Will Virtual SBS 2008 affect other PCs attached to router ?

I am working toward my MS SBS 2008 certification by going thru the MS textbook for this.
This EE question is NOT about a production environment for SBS 2008, please note that. The word "production" as used below refers to 2 PCs that do not (ideally and that is the entire point of this question) depend on SBS 2008 in any way.

Most of this question is background. There are 2 question at the end and those questions I request answers to.

A **MAJOR** problem has come up. I went out and bought an $1100 new high end consumer Windows 7 PC and spent $200 at MS Technet to get the SBS 2008 install DVD. That expense and my considerable time commitment was all I **EXPECTED** to need to get my certification. I quickly found out otherwise at this forum. A number of EE MS Server experts have told me that I **MUST** turn on DNS and DHCP server in the SBS 2008 PC.

Why is that a problem? Because connected to the router are two other PCs that are PRODUCTION PCs: My Office PC and my roommates business PC. In addition the new PC is NOW dual boot, Windows 7 and SBS 2008 (latter just installed with DHCP server still on the router). I occasionally need the Windows 7 BY ITSELF to test out things for Windows 7 jobs. (I fix PCs for a living) So occasionally the Windows 7 (without virtual SBS running) is ALSO a production PC.

And I am concerned that while learning SBS 2008 I may make a mistake in a setting and suddenly the 2 production PCs will not have internet. ALSO I would prefer to turn on the new PC ONLY when I am doing exercises in my SBS 2008 MS text book and NOT ALL THE TIME. If SBS 2008 is the DNS and DHCP server for the production PCs then I **MUST** leave it on all the time. Currently I leave my Linksys router on all the time and that is sufficient. BTW Comcast is the ISP and I assume supplies the DNS server currently (with the new PC not booted up).

Now at another EE question a SBS 2008 expert said the solution was to install SBS 2008 virtually using Oracle VirtualBox (a free product). i.e I boot to Windows 7 and SBS 2008 runs in a "virtual window" to be exact and Windows 7 is the client. The other expert has ACTUALLY DONE THIS with VirtualBox and assures me it works so THAT PART is not what this EE question is about.

It is about whether having SBS 2008 being the DHCP and DNS server will STILL affect the other PRODUCTION PCs connected to the router.

Here are the other EE experts exact words about this.

"For a test lab, virtualbox works well as an alternative free virtualization platform. The OS gets a sandboxes hardware environment. It gets attached to a (virtual) network switch. It will behave as it would in a production environment...... I virtualized SBS 2008 and 2011 during the private betas found and submitted real bugs"
Obviously the key sentence in that quote from the point of view of THIS question is
"It gets attached to a (virtual) network switch"

My only experience in virtual is installing Windows XP on a MAC using Parallels Desktop and installing Windows XP on a Windows Vista PC using MS's free virtual product. ie. the idea was to get a PC to run a different OS. The idea was NOT to get the MAC OS X to interact with the virtual Windows XP or to have the Windows Vista OS interact with the Windows XP. IT was SOLELY to use one or the other OS. Hence terms like " (virtual) network switch" are unfamiliar to me.

In order to assure myself that the other 2 PCs will not be affected DESPITE there being only ONE router (i.e the new PC is STILL connected to the same one router where if I did NOT do a virtual install, then, for example, DHCP server would have to be disabled in the router admin utility). please answer the following 2 questions.

(1) Please explain why IN THEORY turning on DHCP server and DNS server in the virtual SBS 2008 will not affect the other PCs connected to the router. Your explanation (which obviously relates to the concept of a virtual switch) does not need to be long or detailed. But long enough to explain how thee virtual approach ISOLATES the SBS 2008 from the other PCs connected to the router EVEN THOUGH the router and Comcast ISP are still supplying internet to the Windows 7 and SBS 2008 even though the latter runs virtually.

(2) Noting the new PC is dual boot NOW (and with the virtual approach I would never again boot to the current SBS 2008 OS), if I boot to Windows 7 and do NOT start the SBS 2008 in the virtual window, then will Windows 7 use the router for everything
will Windows 7 have NO internet access until I start SBS 2008 in the virtual window.

I DO understand that once I start SBS 2008 in the virtual window that THEN Window 7's internet access DOES depend on SBS 2008 working properly BUT that does not matter if the answer to (2) is yes as I have a RELIABLE alternative.

And the word RELIABLE is what this entire question is about. I want to learn SBS 2008 and get my MS certification BUT I do not want to make the internet access for the two production PCs UNRELIABLE while learning SBS 2008 due to a mistake I make in setting up SBS 2008..

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. If using a NAT network interface in the VMs, DNS and DHCP traffic will NOT pass the NAT network interface to the production network.

2. WIndows 7 will use the router for everthing

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mgross333Author Commented:

THANKS for your brief to the point reply. However, I am not familiar with NAT despite having fixed and upgraded 6,000 PCs/MACs (including network issues) in a desktop (non-Windows Server) environment for 7 years (mostly homes and home offices but I did work as needed at a 20 PC office for 1 1/2 years). So I looked it up in Wikipedia and got the general idea but that does not make me an expert or even close on NAT.

In order of importance, please reply to the following 3 questions to finish this EE question so I can start the virtual install of SBS 2008.

(1) Regarding "If using a NAT network interface in the VMs..." I notice you say "IF". Does that mean in virtual SBS 2008, I need to turn on a non-default feature OR do anything that I would not need to do if all PCs connected to the router were managed by SBS (i.e non-virtual SBS).
If so please tell me what and and some details on how to do it (i.e starting with the SBS 2008 console or Server Manager.)

(2) Please confirm that the "NAT device" in your diagram is the router.

(3) Please confirm that the DHCP server in the diagram is the SBS 2008 and the Virtual Machine is the Windows 7 client EXCEPT the latter does not make sense as the Virtual machine should be SBS 2008. In this regard, I suspect that the diagram was NOT CUSTOM CREATED for this EE question and was copied from somewhere else. Which is fine with me if you reply to the questions here to clarify things.

i.e what part of the diagram is the Windows 7 client and what part is the virtual SBS or (if the the top half of the diagram is logical vs physical) please explain where the two OS's are.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. You do nothing in the virtual SBS2008 , install as normal, just ensure the setup of the VM Network Interface is NAT.

2 The NAT device is a function of VMware Workstation or Player.

3. The DHCP server in the Diagram is a DHCP server in NAT mode in VMware Workstation or Player. Windows 7 is the HOST (server) in the instance, with an installed copy of VMware Workstation, which hosts a Virtual Computer - SBS2008. SBS2008 has an internal DHCP and DNS server in the Server, the VM.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
the network cloud, is where the Windows 7 host is, on your production network, the diagram is what VMware Workstation does, the VM is SBS2008.
mgross333Author Commented:

I appreciate your prompt replies but unfortunately we are not there yet.

I fear that I am getting nowhere here. That you will reply that all your replies ASSUME I am using VMware (and you failed to notice that my question said I would use Orace VirtualBox). And the other expert who told me to use VirtualBox refuses to answer the kind of questions I have posted here and no matter what I do, I can NOT cross the finish line.


#1 Your latest replies refer to VMware repeatedly. True I posted this in the VMWare section of EE (although primary was Windows Server) **ONLY** because I could not find a Virtual or similar category in EE so VMware was the closest choice. As stated in my original question I plan to use VirtualBox (free from Oracle) and NOT VMware. The reason is the other thread SBS expert said (see quote in my Question) that he had ACTUALLY done it and it worked (i.e client server part). Also because VirtualBox is free and to my knowledge VMware is NOT free (please correct me if I am wrong).  The author of the other replies mentioned VMWare but said to use VirtualBox because it is free and serves the purpose.

Hence regarding "...just ensure the setup of the VM Network Interface is NAT.", are you sure such an option is available in VirtualBox (i,e in ANY virtual app that supports SBS 2008)?

#2 Regarding  "the network cloud, is where the Windows 7 host is, on your production network, "

I am surprised to hear that as my understanding is that is true ONLY if I boot to Windows 7 on the new PC and do NOT start Virtual SBS. And if I **DO** start SBS virtually that the DNS and DHCP server for Windows 7 are provided by SBS 2008. If that is not true then how can I be sure I am doing the exercises right? To be clear the PCs that I refer to as the production PCs are both running Windows XP SP3.

SUMMARY: Can you restart and answer all question for VirtualBox and not VMWare (i.e for SBS 2008 running in ANY virtual package). I have a bad feeling you will reply that you know VMware and also SBS 2008 but do not know VirtualBox and hence can not answer ANY of my questions. Which leaves me without a solution.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Workstation or Oracle Virtualbox, BOTH use the same terms, I use both, VMware Workstation, VMware Player, Virtualbox is a COPY of VMware Workstation.

1. NAT
3. Host ONLY.

If you use NAT for all your networking needs, you virtual machines are ring fenced behind a NAT router internally in the Oracle Virtualbox software.

See here for Long Descriptions of how Networking works in Oracle Virtualbox


Virtualbox is an application, which installs on the host computer, Windows 7 in this example, once you have created your computers as virtual machines hosted on Windows 7, they will be "contained" and ring fenced inside and WILL NOT interfere with the Host or other computers on your LAN.

Ideal for building labs for test and developement, in what you want to do with SBS2008.

PS you may want to check my Profile!
mgross333Author Commented:

Thanks for confirming that VirtualBox is the same as or very similar to VMware.

Please reply to the two numbered question as the end of this post and we can end this thread (and assign you the 500 points).  First I plan to install Virtual Box following the instructions at the VirtualBox Manual at

www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch01.html#idp9149520 (or chapter one of the manual)

Starting about a third of the way down at the section titled "Installing VirtualBox and extension packs" Now in that document there is a link to Configuring VirtualBox (Chapter 3 ) and in that chapter's table of contents there is a link to Network Settings


 The key sentence there for the purposes of this thead is the bolded sentence in this extract


When you first create a virtual machine, VirtualBox by default enables one virtual network card and selects the "Network Address Translation" (NAT) mode for it. This way the guest can connect to the outside world using the host's networking and the outside world can connect to services on the guest which you choose to make visible outside of the virtual machine.

This default setup is good for probably 95% of VirtualBox users.


(1) Please confirm that regarding your statement "If using a NAT network interface in the VMs, DNS and DHCP traffic will NOT pass the NAT network interface to the production network.",

that there is NO "IF" because the bolded sentence above says that NAT Network interface is the DEFAULT so I need to do nothing special to achieve that.

(2) In your latest reply is this

Virtualbox is a COPY of VMware Workstation.

1. NAT
3. Host ONLY.

Did you leave out the word "with" i,e do you mean to say that Virtualbox is a COPY of VMware Workstation  **WITH** those three settings ???

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. Correct NAT is the Default, just MAKE sure its correct and selected.

2. Correct.
mgross333Author Commented:

I REQUEST a bit more help even though I have awarded points. If you do not respond I will have to create a new thread.

After installing Oracle Vbox and SBS 2008 (from DVD) into it, I need to know if ANY drivers need to be MANUALLY installed in the SBS VM environment. I do not mean anything USB.

I mean the usual drivers that are NEVER or almost never on any MS Windows Install CD. ie especially the LAN driver and graphics driver (audio is not essential for SBS I assume). Also maybe the chipset driver.

Did I have to install the LAN driver into SBS 2008 in the Dual boot enviroment. YES. Or no internet access.

I did a search in the Vbox manual and found NOTHING about this subject (except USB drivers).

In the back of my mind is when I installed Windows XP on a Vista PC virtually. Something about the Virtual OS **JUST MAGICALLY USES** the drivers in the host environment and I do not need to install drivers. But then I thought that many drivers are different between OS's and hence that makes no sense.

Also in another recent thread at EE a SBS 2008 expert said that VERY CONVENIENTLY the drivers for Windows 7 will ALMOST ALWAYS work for SBS 2008 so in this case the drivers will be the same.

BOTTOM LINE. Do I need to install the Broadcom Win 7 LAN driver for my Dell in the VM SBS environment OR will the VM just get all drivers from the Host OS (and in this case they will work per previous EE thread).

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
do not confuse physical hardware with virtual hardware!

think of them as two sepearate computers, that use different drivers.

Virtualbox uses virtual hardware which is indepedant from the host, and uses its own drivers.

if you require further info please post a new question.
mgross333Author Commented:
The question was do I need to MANUALLY install drivers for SBS 2008 in the VirtualBox environment.

Saying "Virtualbox uses virtual hardware which is indepedant from the host, and uses its own drivers." does not answer my question as perhaps I need to provide drivers for the QUOTE "virtual HW" (although probably not but your answer is not 100% clear).

As you say "if you require further info please post a new question.", I have created a new question on this EXACT and simple point at


Please reply there.

I am a bit frustrated that I am having to take the time to create another thread as this all takes time away from ACTUALLY doing the SBS virtual install and moving along with my learning SBS 2008 to get certified.

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