Often you need a LAN environment to practice your Microsoft/Linux server or Networking concepts, setting up a physical LAN environment is not practical for learning in most cases.
Thanks to Virtualization.
I am going to show you how to configure a Virtual LAN consisting of a Windows Server 2003 and three Windows 2000 Clients in VMWare, I am good at VMWare, I find it extremely reliable especially in case of Network configuration, I had problems with the same in VirtualBox.
This will be extremely helpful if you want to play with Windows environments and also for your Microsoft certification exams.
Note: I used Windows 2003 Server and Windows 2000 for Clients, this setup applies to 2008 R1/R2 and Windows 7/8 Operating Systems too.
Whenever you see a Guest VM, it is nothing but the Virtual OS running in the VMware, I may use Guest VM/VM/Guest VM Client/Guest VM Server/Guest based on the context, but all of them signify the same Virtual instance of an OS running in the VMware.
If you see Host Machine or Host, it means your actual Physical Computer where the VMware is installed.
- VMware Workstation preferably 6.5 (Already Installed, this post doesn’t explain about installing VMware)
- OS image files (Windows 2000/Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 or whatever you prefer)
2. Installing Windows 2000, Client OS.
Open VMware and click on New Virtual Machine
It opens the wizard, select custom and click on next
In the next screen, you'll have to locate the OS image file, here it is pointing to the Battle Field Bad Company 2 game I have in my CD drive.
Select the second option to manually map the OS image file and then click Next.
Enter the product key, account name and password for your OS. Use same password for all the further OS installations, this would ensure you won't forget the password, after all, this is just a lab setup. Once done, click Next.
Enter your Virtual Machine name, I left it as suggested by it, make sure the location where you're saving the VM has enough space for the installation.
Based on your processor, select either one or two cores to your VM.
Allocate RAM to your VM, I gave 512MB out of my 8GB. 512 should be sufficient for Windows 2000. Also have a look at the recommended sizes below. Anyways, RAM size can be changed even after the OS installation, it requires restarting the VM.
This is important, VMware has quite good options in Network configuration. By default, you're give 3 options to choose, Bridged, NAT and Host-only. I'll explain if brief what they are.
This option would let the Guest VM act as a client system in your home LAN network, meaning, it would be like another computer in your home even though it is a VM residing inside your computer. The Guest VM in this case would get the IP configuration details from your home router via DHCP, just like how your actual computer gets its IP.
In this mode, Guest VM get's the IP configuration details from VMware's internal DHCP service, the IP range for the VMware's DHCP service can be modified based on your requirement under Virtual Network Adapter. This adapter is by default named as VMnet8 as shown below.
In this mode also the IP configuration to the Guest VM is pushed by the VMware's internal DHCP service via another virtual adapter called VMnet1 as shown below.
So, what's the difference between NAT and Host-only options?
In NAT mode, even though the Guest VM gets its IP configuration from the VMware DHCP service, it can still access the Internet via NAT, meaning, when a Guest VM tried to access Internet, the request will be translated to from the VMnet8 DHCP range to your Host machine's network adapter and goes to the Internet as if your Host machine is making the request.
In case of Host-only, there won't be any NATing, the Guest network in the VMnet1 DHCP scope is completely isolated from the Host network.
For now, we would leave the option as NAT and proceed further.
In this section we specify the disk size for the Guest VM. I have left the minimum size recommended as 8GB. If you check the option Allocate all disk space now it would create a single 8GB file completely allocated for the Guest VM, if that option is unchecked, it would increase the file as and when the size is required up to the maximum limit of 8GB, this would still look as an 8GB partition in your Guest VM.
You have two options to either store the file as a single copy or multiple copies, I always use the single file, this is beneficiary in case if you're creating a huge disk of let's say 160GB, and if you want to move that file to another system (yes, Guest VMs can be moved from one system to another) that's when the split option comes useful.
Here we have to give a name to the disk file.
This screen shows the summary of all the options we chose, if you feel like editing anything you can go back and modify it. Click finish if everything is looking good.
From here, the Guest VM OS installation starts. You'll get some of the below pop-up windows, you can ignore and proceed further.
It automatically detected my External Hard Disks.
From this screen it's just like any other Windows OS installation. Which I am not explaining here.
Once the OS installation is completed, you'll be taken to the Windows 2000 Desktop like below.
You may get few pop-up windows after installing the Guest VM, like below. You can ignore them.
This concludes the Installation of Guest VM OS in VMware. The installation of Windows Sever 2003 or any other Desktop clients follows the same procedure. In next section we will see how to configure the Virtual LAN for all the Clients and the Server to communicate within the VMware. Before you check that, ensure all your Guest VM Clients and Guest VM Server are installed.