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ESXi multiple networks - different DHCP scope


I deployed a Windows AD domain including DNS within my ESXi 8 host.

All my VMs and end-points are either set to static or DHCP from my router -



My AD VM has an IP of and DNS so that end-points can join the AD domain, this works fine.

My question is - how do I get end-points to automatically use (AD) as DNS1 and not 192.168.100 (my router address)? Do I need to create a seperate DHCP scope to handle this? At the moment, my router is handling DHCP requests to all clients.

Is there some wizardry i can do in ESXi vnetwork to have VMs in a specific vcenter folder use different network parameters?

Thank you

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To get end-points to automatically use (AD) as DNS1, you can either: Change the DHCP settings on your router to provide as the primary DNS server instead of the router's IP address. Create a new DHCP scope on your AD VM and configure it to provide IP addresses to your end-points, with as the primary DNS server. As for the vNetwork wizardry, you can create a virtual switch in vCenter and assign it to a specific folder, then assign your VMs in that folder to use the virtual switch. You can then configure the virtual switch with the desired network parameters.    


To have your endpoints automatically use your Windows Active Directory (AD) server ( as the DNS1 server, you would typically need to configure your DHCP server to provide the AD server's IP address as the DNS server to DHCP clients. Since your router is currently handling DHCP, you would need to configure DHCP options on your router.


Here are the steps to configure DHCP options on many routers:


1. Access your router's web-based management interface. You usually do this by entering the router's IP address (often or similar) in a web browser.


2. Log in to the router's administration console using the router's username and password.


3. Locate the DHCP settings. This might be under a "LAN," "Network," or "DHCP Server" section, depending on your router's firmware.


4. Look for an option to specify DNS servers. You may need to set the primary DNS server to the IP address of your AD server (


5. Save your changes and restart the DHCP service on your router if necessary.


By configuring your router's DHCP server to provide the AD server's IP address as the primary DNS server, your endpoints should automatically use the AD server for DNS resolution when they obtain their IP addresses via DHCP.


Regarding your question about VMware ESXi, ESXi itself doesn't handle DHCP services or DNS settings for endpoints unless you have a specific DHCP server running within a virtual machine on the ESXi host. However, if you want to isolate a group of VMs within a specific vCenter folder and have them use different network parameters, you can achieve this through network segmentation:


1. **Create a Separate Port Group**: In your vSphere environment, create a separate port group within your vSwitch or Distributed Switch. Assign this port group to the VMs you want to have different network parameters.


2. **Configure DHCP**: If you want these VMs to use different DHCP settings, configure a DHCP server within this isolated network segment (port group). You can run a DHCP server on a VM within this segment, or if your router supports multiple DHCP scopes, configure a separate scope for this segment.


3. **DNS Configuration**: For DNS settings, you can either configure them manually on the individual VMs or configure the DHCP server in this segment to provide the desired DNS server IP addresses.


By segmenting your network in this way, you can have specific VMs use different network parameters while still being part of the same ESXi host and vCenter environment.

VMware Employee
VMware Employee

This doesn’t sound like it’s anything really to do with ESXi other than making sure your VMs are on the same L2 network as your DHCP server.

Your networking needs to such that when your guest OSes broadcast the DHCP discover packet it is your intended DHCP server which sends an offer that the guest OS can accept.


Although I am a VMware employee I contribute to VMware Communities voluntarily (ie. not in any official capacity)
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