One of the great features of VMware is its ability to set up advanced networking with virtual machines. With proper technique, you can access virtual machines from your local area network as well as configure routing between multiple virtual machines. Let's start by defining VMware Workstation networking terminology.
First, let’s go over some of the basic terminology that you will need to become familiar with in order to be successful with this blog. Within VMware Workstation you have the ability to configure the following virtual networks:
- Bridged networking
- Host only
- Network address translation
- Virtual switch
- Host virtual adapter
- DHCP server
- Virtual network adapter
When you use bridged networking, your virtual machine is connected to the LAN as if it were a physical PC connected to your network. It can be assigned a DHCP address or a static IP address. You can configure shares on your virtual machine and ping any machine on your LAN including the host PC. In other words, when you use bridged networking, you are taking a physical network adapter on your host PC and allowing your virtual machines to communicate with the physical network.
When you use a host-only network, your virtual machines can communicate with the host PC only. You cannot communicate with any other physical PC on the network. If you want to communicate with other physical computers on your LAN, you can use bridged networking. Host-only adapters are adapters that are visible in the network connections on your host PC but do not have any affiliation with the physical network adapters on your host PC.
Network address translation
Any virtual machine that you create will share the IP and MAC address of the host. The host PC and the virtual machine appear as only one computer on your physical network.
A custom network allows you to customize your virtual network to suit your individual needs. This will be discussed in detail later in this blog.
A virtual switch has the same definition and functionality as a physical switch. The virtual switch allows you to connect networking components to each other. In VMware Workstation, you can have up to nine virtual switches in your virtual environment, and you can connect one or more virtual machines to your virtual switch.
In VMWare Workstation, the bridge allows you to connect your virtual machine to the host PC and to the local area network (LAN) that your host computer is configured to use.
Host virtual adapter
The host virtual adapter allows communication between your host computer and the virtual machine on the host in host-only and NAT configurations. Basically, a host-only adapter is displayed in your Network Connections on the host computer but has no ties or relationship to your physical adapter on the computer installed with VMware Workstation.Note: The default installation of VMware Workstation installs the host-only adapter on VMnet1.
The virtual DHCP server provides you with IP addresses for your virtual machines in host-only and NAT environments. If your virtual machine is bridged to an external network, a DHCP server on the network will assign it an IP address, or the virtual machine can be assigned an IP address automatically.
Virtual network adapters
Whenever you configure a virtual machine from the wizard, it is automatically configured with one virtual network adapter. In VMware Workstation, you can have up to three virtual network adapters in each virtual machine.