Configuring VMware Workstation 8 Networking for Nested VM’s

I’ve posted more than a couple of articles on running vSphere inside of VMware Workstation.  One thing we haven’t done a deep dive is how to setup networking in the environment to do things such as vMotion, DRS and Storage.  Also, the ability to access nested VM’s from your production network.

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In this post, I’ll show how to create the sample lab in VMware Workstation 8.

Just as in a production environment we have 4 isolated networks in this configuration.

Management: This network will be used for VMkernel traffic dedicated to the management of ESXi.

iSCSI: This network is used for SAN traffic.  This can be iSCS, NFS or NAS

vMotion: Traffic is dedicated to vMotion/DRS traffic.

Production: This network is for our Virtual Machines.

To support the hardware configuration in ESXi we need to add 3 additional NIC’s to our virtual ESXi host.  Each NIC needs to be in a dedicated vmnet as shown below.

I normally assign a NAT’d IP address to my management interface.  This isn’t required but since my vCenter is normally on a NAT’d interface my Management network ends up on the same interface. Once we’ve added the NIC’s we need to configure the virtual network to support our “Production” switch.  This is done by using the Virtual Network Editor that comes with VMware Workstation 8.  The vmnet we are utilizing for the “Production” network should be in Bridge mode.  This will allow access to the nested VM’s via your physical network.

This configuration will furhter enhance your value from VMware workstation 8.  If you have enough memory this makes for a great foundation for a VDI lab to test using physical workstations.

Update 7/20/12: I’ve added a tutorial video to my YouTube channel on how to setup this entire environment.


Published by Keith Townsend

Now I'm @CTOAdvisor

7 thoughts on “Configuring VMware Workstation 8 Networking for Nested VM’s

  1. Hi Keith,
    I really loved this article. I didn’t want to spend too much money and really wanted to learn in depth of VMware. I was able to deploy the ESX, Openfiler, vMotion on a nested network with the help of your videos.
    Just few quick questions where I was having issues with,
    -First would be the default gateway
    – DNS and DHCP
    Since the default gateway is only located in vmnet8 which is the NAT type adapter. shouldn’t I be using this for Domain Controller, vCenter and for the VMnetwork?
    I guess I’m really confused in the DNS or DHCP settings for different Network.
    But forgive my stupidity, I just can’t figure out that how can I connect VMs, ESXHosts, Sotrage, on a different network DNS?

    1. Keith,
      Are these machines DC. vCenter, ESX in the NATed Network?
      or just vC and ESX boxes so that we could access machines from our local machines.
      Again my question is DC and VM’s did you put them on the .75 network because your XP machine is on the 75 network and it can ping to any network in environment.
      But what if I want to join the machine to a DC, should I give DC the same NATed ip as you’ve given to VC and ESX boxes? and if I do them it mean that VM network and the Mgmt Network are on the same network?

      1. You can put the VMnetwork, DC on the same network if you want them to communicate. I’ve never had the need to have my nested machines on the ESXi host to communicate with the physical network or the Virtualized DC. The goal of most of my labs have always been to test functionality of vSphere. Sounds like you want a completely working network within your ESXi environment. You should take a look a my XenDesktop posts. I did something similar to what you are trying to do.

  2. How to create several NAT networks in vmware since it is only found in vmnet8, and it does not allow creating another NAT network there is some way of modifying vmware so that it creates several NAT networks thanks

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