Friday, March 13, 2015

Joining a VM to a Windows domain on a Bridged Network

In the past, I have always set up Networked VMs using NAT Mode since that would ensure that the VMs can properly communicate with each other when I join them to a domain as well as ensuring no name conflicts on the network.

The procedure for joining a VM to a Domain using Bridged Networking is surprisingly similar as joining them using NAT mode with a few caveats:

  1. After you update the Primary and Secondary DNS Servers on your Domain Member Server to the IP Addresses of your Domain DNS Servers, make note of both the NetBIOS Name as well as the FQDN of your Domain.
  2. Make sure that none of your Windows Firewall rules are not blocking connection attempts from the Domain Controller(s) and the Member Server.
  3. If the FQDN of your Domain does not conflict with an existing domain name on the Internet (such as or, etc.), then you may be able to join your Domain Member Server using the FQDN of your Domain.  If not, then you should try using the NetBIOS name instead.  
If you are unsuccessful joining the Member Server to the Domain using the FQDN, you may get error messages similar to the following:

Therefore, you should attempt to join the Domain using the NetBIOS name instead.  If everything is configured correctly, you should be able to join the Member Server to the Domain.

So, what is the main benefit of using Bridged Networking vs. NAT Mode?  Well, if you are setting up multiple VMWare Host Machines that are hosting VMs, you can set up a network across VMWare Hosts just as you would do if you were setting up normal physical machines/workstations on the network!!  This is especially useful if you are a developer and want to test out numerous environments and do not have enough physical memory on a single workstation machine to host multiple VMs needed for that environment configuration. 

For example, if you wanted to set up a SharePoint Farm, you could set up a Domain Controller and a SharePoint Application Server on one VMWare Host and on another VMWare Host, you could create a SharePoint WFE (Web Front End) and a SharePoint Search Server or Office Web Apps Server.  Being able to leverage Bridged Networking allows you to split out your VM environments across as many physical VMWare Hosts as you have available!!

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