I have been using VMware since 2002. I mostly use it for my development testing. There was no free version from VMware at that time. Luckily I got exposed to both WorkStation and GSX at work. Now I can have my free virtual server installed at home. All my VMware servers are running on Microsoft platform. I have both VMware Server 1 and 2 running on different machines. I like VMware Server 1 more than Server 2 because of its simple interface (which is VMware Server Console), a bit light weight to me and no restart needed when a configuration is changed.
Most my friends are confused by the 3 different modes network setting: Bridged, Host-only and NAT. Like most people, they use the default setting, Bridged. In the following, I am going to briefly distinguish the difference among these 3 network modes. I would also point out some issues existing in each mode, from a user point of view. Those issues applies to the free versions both VMware Server 1 and 2 running on Microsoft Windows platforms. For detail of how these 3 modes work or are configured, please consult VMware documentation ( Server 1 [Install, Manual] | Server 2 User Guide ).
Each VMware network mode is associated with a named virtual adapter. You can add and remove any virtual adapter you want. On Windows, the newly added virtual adapter is only bound to Host-only network. It may not be the case if you are running the server on other platforms but I don't know. In addition, you can configure a custom adapter to assoicate with each physical network adapter to fit your need.
These three basic VMware network are listed as follows.
|Bridged :||vmnet0 this is the default.|
Note that the issues listed in the following table are only applied to Microsoft Windows. I am not sure if they hold true for other platforms.
Communication and Visibility: The virtual machine (VM) acts as if a regular PC ran on the same physical network. You can go Internet and do whatever you want unless your software is hardware dependent. All VMs on vmnet0 are visible to others on the same physical network and vice versa.
Performance: In my experience, the VMware Bridged network is kind of slow. On Microsoft Windows, it is much slower on a workgroup network, compared to a domain.
DHCP or Additional Service: No DHCP service is provided. If you don't have a router or DHCP server running on your network, this mode may not suit for you. In this case, you should consider either Host-only or NAT network depending on if you want Internet access.
Communication and Visibility:The network communication of this mode is limited between the host and the VMs on the same vmnet1 adapter. Those VMs cannot make a connection beyond the host; thus there is no internet access capability. They remain hidden behind the host. You cannot configure it to expose any VM on vmnet1 to the physical network either.
Performance: The performance of Host-only (or vmnet1) is very fast. I usually use this setting for software testing especially when I don't need an Internet access. For example, I could run a database server inside a VM for a simple test.
DHCP or Additional Service: This mode provides DHCP sevice. If you don't have a router or a DHCP sever running on your network, this one comes in handy. This service can be disabled.
Communication and Visibility: All VMs using the adapter vmnet8 form a private network with the host. They all have internet access capability, but they are not visible to others beyond the host as if they are sitting behind their own firewall with the host. You can expose the VM for a particular access by port forwarding via NAT configuration provided by the VMware network utility (in the desktop Start menu: VMware -> VMware Server -> Manage Virtual Networks).
Because of its internet capability, I use it often for Web application testing and development too.
Performance: To me, it is faster than Bridged and could be as fast as Host-only.
DHCP or Additional Service: This mode provides DHCP sevice. If you don't have a router or a DHCP sever running on your network, this one comes in handy. This mode also provides NAT service for further network configuration. Both services can be disabled.
If you are only using Bridged network, I would recommend to have both VMware DHCP and NAT services disabled. They are not used by Bridged.
- Locate the service you want to disable.
- Right click to select Properties.
- From the Startup type dropdown box, select Disabled.
- Click OK button.
sc config "VMnetDHCP" start= disabled sc config "VMware NAT Service" start= disabledNote that
- start= must be in one single word.
- There must be a space between the equal sign (=) and the word disabled.