If you have ever had some legacy Linux installations that you’ve attempted to do a VMware Cold Clone or similar, then you’ve probably experienced the head scratching frustration of the network not behaving as expected once the VM actually boots.
The way that the problem manifests itself is that within the Guest the network appears to start but regardless of routing or network card configuration any traffic to or from the card is impossible. From the Hypervisor level, it doesnt seem to matter whether you select a ‘Flexible Network‘ or ‘E1000‘ either, it does nothing to change the way that the guest is manipulated by the hypervisor.
It also makes no difference if you try to install the VMware tools either to make use of the vmxnet drivers, as most of the legacy systems that I’ve previously had to work on are 2.4 kernel or earlier, which is unsupported by the VMwareTools installation.
The one thing that seems to resolve the issue is to add ‘acpi=off‘ to the default kernel line in /boot/grub/menu.lst
The reason for this line is to prevent the SLES8 kernel from incorrectly handling system interrupts and stopping the guest network adapter from receiving any data.
Once you’ve made the changes, restart the guest and everything should be working great!