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We have a continuous integration server which runs a series of tests over several different client OSs (different version of Windows and OSX). It is running on an Apple XServ which is running OSX Leopard Server, and the clients are running within VMWare Fusion - This combination was chosen as Apple's licensing only allows OSX Server VMs to run on Apple hardware.

The CI system uses the VMWare tools to communicate with the Windows clients, but this does not work properly with OSX, so it is using SSH in these cases. However, every so often, the network will drop out fairly quickly after VM startup.

The VMs are configured to use host-only networking, and the Windows VMs, while slow, don't seem to have any connection issues.

Does anyone know what might be causing this?

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I haven't heard of this behavior before, but the first thing I'd do in this case is get a packet capture. Can you put wireshark on the boxes (or just tcpdump, with a 1500-byte snaplen) and take a capture? See how the connection ends (if it ends) - that should give you a hint.

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