ESX Guests and VMware Workstation Hosts – Oh the fun

Well today I learned something.   Linux Workstation and Windows workstation are not the same 🙂OK I will admit it,  I used to use Windows to host my Workstation session.   However I have acquired a decent machine (Dual Quad Core 16 GB) at my current gig, to do some testing on so I installed Centos5 on it and then put the Linux version of Workstation on it.  all is going well,  I then, to save time migrated my Guests from my laptop to the host and added them to the inventory of the Workstation host,  all is well with the world I thought.

I powered up my Windows guest and they could see each other,  I then powered up my ESX guests and that’s when the world started to blur 🙁

The ESX Guests that communicated across the network with no problems on my Windows host machine would not see the network,

So how to sort this out.  ping did not work, but the arp table of the guest was populated with the MAC address of the destination.  OK lets try another vmnetwork, so I migrated my guest to be bridged to see if they would pick up an address from the DHCP server, nope that did not work

S o what next well being a windows man, the old faithful Reboot 😀  this did not solve the problem either, however it did give me a pointer during the boot process as a message relayed on the console screen regarding the inability to set the interface to promiscuous mode.

so next I opened vmware.log and started to troll through it and came across a little gem of a KB article that not only informed what the issue was but showed me the solution.

so sum up the article, me as a standard user on the Linux host did not have the rights to modify the vmnet device.

To solve this little issuette

open a terminal session and then elevate your rights by issuing:

su -

then issue:

chmod a+rw /dev/vmnet# (substitute # for the number of your network device)

once you have done that reboot your ESX guest and full service is resumed.

Now the moral of this story is if you are having issues with a guest, do not run off like a bull in a china shop, stop and think.  look in the logs and nine times out of ten the answer or a very good indicator to the answer will be there for you.

Now this issue is not just a problem with ESX guests, Linux guest will suffer from this issue if you need to set a NIC into promiscuous mode when setting up a sniffer or somesuch device.

4 thoughts on “ESX Guests and VMware Workstation Hosts – Oh the fun”

  1. Depending on how you have sudo set up, sudo -i gets you the same as su -, but without needing the pasword 😀 Oh, and that you did it gets logged too…

  2. Workstation should end up warning you prior that the VM has requested promiscuous mode, so its strange that didn’t happen to begin with. Only time I have noticed it not was using the ONTAP 7 sim, which requires it.

  3. I have used Ubuntu as my host OS on my laptop for quite some time. I had this issue back in the ESX 3.5 / Workstation 6.5 days. For security purposes, I created a separate NAT network on vmnet3 just for the ESX VMs. Then I added the chmod command to my rc.local script so it allowed promiscuous mode on startup.

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