There seems to be an issue in VMware Server 1.0.1 with automatically started virtual machines, where the VM starts with vmnet1 network interface disconnected, even though it is set to start connected in VMware Console.
In the logfiles there is a message such as:
Could not get interface flags for vmnet1: No such device Virtual device Ethernet0 will start disconnected.
Problem is, the vmnet1 hostonly adapter needs several seconds to initialize. In order to speed up the booting process, VMware decided to not wait for this hostonly adapter to initialize, but to initialize it in the background while continuing the boot process. If a VMware virtual machine is set to start automatically and the server is fast (we discovered this on Suse 10 running on an AMD Opteron dual core server), the vmnet1 adapter may not finish initializing in time.
As a workaround, edit /usr/lib/vmware/net-services.sh and locate the lfollowing line:
vmware_bg_exec 'Host-only networking on /dev/vmnet'"$vHubNr" \
and substitute vmware_bg_exec by vmware_exec
(vmware_bg_exec means "Background"-Execution, while vmware_exec waits until completion)
Took me several hours to find this out...