Virtual Box Networking for SharePoint on Vista

I was introduced to VirtualBox last year by my good friend Andy Maggs. Why use VirtualBox as opposed to Virtual PC/Virtual Server? Well for one thing you can easily take snapshots which is nice, you can Virtualise USB devices, oh and the screen display is easier, oh vbox_logo2_gradientand you can activate RDP when you create the VM and oh yes the performance is light years ahead of Virtual Server.  That being said I have a soft spot for Virtual Server especially when working with VMRC+, a great UI, and one thing I found very easy was to setup the networking.  You see I wanted to be able to run the networking such that when I was disconnected from the Internet I could still connect to the VM via standard RDP, which means it had to have an IP, which means it needed a Network Adaptor.  With Virtual Server that use to be the Loopback Adaptor.  This was important to me as I wanted to be able to connect to a SharePoint VM for talks and demos.  When you do a demo, many screen projectors flicker badly when switching between desktop and remote desktop and this is off-putting for the audience and embarrassing for the presenter, so I needed to be able to view the SharePoint sites in the browser on the host machine and map network drives from the guest to point out file locations etc, etc.

One thing I didn’t understand initially was what was the equivalent with VirtualBox and how to get the networking to run in the way I wanted like I had with Virtual Server 2005. The Help file was not exactly clear.  There are several modes of Networking with VirtualBox but I eventually figured out that it was Host Only Networking. 

So here’s how you do it.  You create a Host-Only Adaptor.  Simple.  You then use this Network Connection when you create you VM. 

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Pretty simple.  However.  How do you ensure that your VM can then connect to the Internet? Your VM isn’t is it?  It’s connected to this interface.  So what you have to do is to go to your real Network Interface, animaged setup Internet Connection Sharing.  You can see in the image that you share with the Host-Only Adaptor you have just created.  When this happens on Vista you get a warning that your Host Adaptor will be set to an IP of 192.168.0.1.  That’s fine, apart from the fact that there appears to be a bit of a bug with VirtualBox in that when you initially create the Host-Only Adaptor you get an IP of 192.168.135.1 assigned to it and if you use the built-in DHCP the instinct is to assign the address range 192.168.135.0/24. 

Fight that instinct. Assign it the 192.168.0.0/24 range.  VirtualBox seems to ‘stick’ with the original IP and when you log onto your VM you’ll find that if you originally assigned 192.168.135.0/24 as the DHCP range that will be the network set for your VM and despite you setting the 192.168.0.0/24 subnet, your VM will insist on setting an IP address in the 192.168.135.0/24 subnet, and therefore imageyou will not have Internet Connectivity .  If this happens (as is has with me) the only way around this would appear to be manually assign an IP to the VM once it’s powered up.  No big deal, but it’s a bit of a shame.

Still the upshot is now, I’m happy.  I can network just like I did with Virtual Server/Virtual PC and still be able to connect to my VMs when both connected and disconnected from the real physical network!

Sorry, I love Virtual Server, but the new kid in town, VirtualBox, has just whipped you on most things …

Cheers

Dave Mc

 

 

 

 

 

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About davemcmahon81
Software Developer & Architect, User Group Leader, Speaker, Writer, Blogger, Occasional Guitarist, Man-made Global Warming Sceptic, Climate Change Believer, General Optimist but most of all proud Husband and Dad ...

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