In this post i’ll explain how I tweaked the networking preferences of vmWare Fusion in order to cope with the requirements of the Mac os X Mountain Lion Support Essentials book by Kevin White and Gordon Davisson

The context

I recently decided to upgrade my Mac os X certification by trying to get certified on OS X Mountain Lion.

The OSX Mountain Lion Support essentials book by Kevin White and Gordon Davisson is the only official Apple Certification guide out there. As such, it is a must for everyone wanting to obtain the Apple Certification on Mac os X Mountain Lion.

The OSX support essentials book is the only official guide to certification
The OS X support Essential book is the only official guide to certification

This book is published by peachpit.com and bonus material is available when you register your book!

The book is divided into 30 lessons and each lesson is made of two kinds of topics.

  • The References are the theoretical parts of the Certification.
  • The Exercises are the practical examples that help the student understand the concepts introduced in the References.

Following the exercises without breaking your computer

These exercises require the reader to mess around with Mac os X in ways that could lead to serious system errors and, sometimes data loss. To avoid any problems with my working computer, I decided to use vmWare Fusion to virtualize a Mountain Lion installation and to follow the book’s exercises on my virtual system.

While most of the exercises only require a single Mac System, some of them require a Mac os X server and a very specific network configuration.

The procedure to set up the Mac os X server and the network for use with the book’s exercises is described in great details in two PDF files that anyone can find on peachpit.com upon registration of their book as described in the following screenshot.

Register your copy of the book and gain access to bonus materials. The 2 PDF files outlined here are required to follow the steps of this post
Register your copy of the book and gain access to bonus materials. The 2 PDF files outlined here are required to follow the steps of this post

The problem

The documents that describe the setup of the Mac server (mainserver) and the network assume that you are working on a physical network and that you are using two different Mac computers. One computer with the Server software installed (called mainserver) and another computer with a  standard OSX installation to use as the client system.

In my case, I only had a single computer with two virtual systems (one for the server and one for the client) running in vmWare Fusion.

For the exercises of the book to work as advertised I needed to create a virtual network between my vmWare systems with the specific network setting as described in the PDF documents.

But vmWare Fusion does not contain any network configuration utility (Actually, Fusion Professional does, but unfortunately, it is not the edition I owned).

The solution

Hopefully, and independant developer has developed a great little tool just for that purpose. With this little tool and a few edits in the vmWare Fusion configuration files, I’ve been able to create a virtual network that copes with the requirements of the book!

Download UFN

This great little tool is the Uber Network Fuser (or UNF) by Nicholas Weaver. This small utility can be downloaded at the following address. http://nickapedia.com/2012/01/10/breaking-new-ground-an-uber-tool-for-the-mac/

Before going any further, install this little tool and watch this small video to get you started.

Create a new Network in UNF

After watching the video, I used UNF to create a new network. According to the PDF documents downloaded from Peachpit.com

  • The network must have DHCP disabled. This is because the Mac server will provide the DHCP service.
  • The Network needs to have NAT enabled. This is to enable Internet access for the virtual systems while keeping them on their own (virtual) network
  • The network’s address is 10.0.0.0

The first 2 requirements are very easily met using the UFN as described in the screenchot below.

Enable NAT and Virtual Adapter, but leave DHCP off. Notice the IP address of the network that cannot be edited in UFN
Enable NAT and Virtual Adapter, but leave DHCP off. Notice the IP address of the network that cannot be edited in UFN

But for the third requirement, things are different as the UFN application does not allow to modify the network’s IP address.

Time to dig into vmWare Fusion's configuration files.

Change the permissions on the /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion folder.

Because you’ll be making changes to various files stored in the /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion Folder, you’ll give yourself read/write access to that folder and to all the enclosed items using the Get Info window of the Finder as described in the screenshot below.

Give yourself read/write access to the /library/Preferences/VMWare Fusion folder
Giver yourself read/write access to the /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion folder and all the enclosed items

Edit the networking preferences of Fusion

In the /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion folder, open the Networking file. It is the file where Fusion stores its network configurations.

The UFN application has added entries in this file for the new network you’ve just created. On my computer, this network is described by the vmnet9 entries in the file. In order to cope with the book’s networking requirements, you need to change the network’s IP address to 10.0.0.0 as described in the following screenshot

Edit the networking file in order to change the network's IP address
Edit the networking file in order to change the network's IP address

Create a vmnet9 folder in /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion

This is very easy! Just duplicate the vmnet8 folder and rename it vmnet9!

Duplicate the vmnet8 folder to create the vmnet9 folder
Duplicate the vmnet8 folder to create the vmnet9 folder

Edit the nat.conf file

Open the /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion/vmnet9/nat.conf file. There are 2 changes to do in this file

  • Change the router address to 10.0.0.1
  • Change the adapter to vmnet9
Modify the nat.conf file in order to enable Internet connectivity throughout your virtual network

Save the file and close the finder.

Connect the virtual server to the new virtual network

In Fusion, Change the virtual adapter of your osX server so it uses the new vmnet9 network you just created.

Use Fusion to plug your virtual systems to the new vmnet9 network before you turn them on

Turn the virtual Mac OS X server on and log follow the instruction found in the PDF file downloaded from Peachpit.

When turning on your client virtual machine, don’t forget to change its network settings in Fusion in order to plug it in the same vmnet9 network as the Server!

Have a good reading and.... good luck for your certification!


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