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Windows Server 2012: Creating a NIC TEAM for Load Balancing and Failover

Windows Server 2012: Creating a NIC TEAM for Load Balancing and Failover

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One of the new features in Windows Server 2012 is Microsoft NIC Teaming.  In the past, NIC teaming was handled by the NIC vendor’s driver and management software.  This was often problematic as many issues with advanced applications and roles were caused by NIC driver and teaming issues.  Microsoft did not support NIC teaming for Hyper-V networks in the past because of this.  No longer the case, NIC teaming is now part of the Operating System.

 

Here I have three network adapters in my Windows 2012 RC server:  One for server management, and two for Hyper-V:

 

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To enable NIC Teaming – click the “Disabled” link next to NIC Teaming in Server Manager:

 

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The NIC Teaming UI pops up. 

 

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CTRL + Click each NIC that you want in a team, then from then right click (or select Tasks) and choose “Add to New Team”:

 

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This allows you to name the team.  I called mine “Hyper-V Team”

 

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You can also select the “Additional Properties” is you want to configure some advanced settings.  The TechNet section on teaming is here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831648.aspx

 

The defaults are “Switch Independent” (no advanced configuration necessary on the switch), “Address Hash” (will enable load balancing and bandwidth aggregation), and Standby Adapter (if configured, will enable on one NIC and the other will be used for failover only).  Even though I am using these with Hyper-V, I will use the defaults.  If this were a production deployment with a high density server, I’d give much deeper consideration to these settings based on my requirements.

Click OK, and our team config is complete!

 

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If you look at the Network Connections, you will see a new (virtual) NIC:

 

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You will see your Physical NIC’s only have a single binding to the Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol driver:

 

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And the Virtual Team NIC has the normal bindings:

 

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You can also config NIC Teaming via PowerShell, and even configure NIC teaming on remote servers via Server Manager!

 

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So simple.  So standardized.  I love it.

For deeper technical information:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831648.aspx

Comments
  • PowerShell example: blogs.technet.com/.../windows-server-8-beta-nic-teaming.aspx

    With PowerShell, you don't need the extra step of enabling the feature in the Server Manager UI either.

  • hi

    this is pretty cool, dont suppose you have the command line instructions?

  • Yay! Thanks!! :) ... thanks for the quick reply as well :D!!!

    Thumbs up!

  • I did this, with 4 NIC's. Tryed every method of teaming (Swirtch independent/static and LACP). When i transftering "random files"  thru SMB i get full speed (350-380MB/s). But everything thats involve hyper-v (replication/moving mv) only get max 1GBit/s (115MB/s). Do you know if its by design?

    (its the same, whatever mothod i use)

  • Hank - did you ever figure that out or get an answer?

  • Is the storage on both sides fast enough to go over 115MB/s?  

  • I have Windows Server 2012 Full installation on HP DL 360p G8. Teaming is configured with 2 nic through the "Server Manager" console, however I observed that the MAC-Address of the "Teamed-NIC" often alternates itself between MAC-Address of both physical NICs.

    Is this a normal behaviour or there is something still missing. The teaming is configured in LACP mode.

    Since this system is to serve as a License-Server and some licenses configuration are MAC-Address dependency, how can I overcome this random chages.

    Thanks

  • Hi, I have set up file server on hyper-v machine and teamed the card but the fastest speed I can get is 1Gb, is there something I am doing wrong?

  • No you not doing anything wrong thats just the way it works. If you were to draw data from the team to 2 different locations (2 different NICs) then you might see the NIC team output up to 2Gbps.

    Or you could try this:

    Create 2 Virtual Switch each on its own physical NIC then team them within the Guest. ??

    www.aidanfinn.com

  • Hank, a little late but disable Virtual Machine Queuing on the adapters as well as the teamed adapter.

    Brian

  • Brian - can you expound?

    When creating link aggregations for teamed NIC's for live migration, whether static or LACP, I to can only get 1Gbit throughput.  Everything I have read states this is by design, as a single MAC to a single MAC can only ever use 1 connection in a data stream.  If there are multiple connections to other devices, the link aggregation will use other links, and will allow an aggregate bandwidth of the total connections in the link aggregation, but no single connection can exceed 1 gig.

  • I have the exact same problem... did anyone solve this?

    topokin  

    22 Mar 2013 2:43 PM

    I have Windows Server 2012 Full installation on HP DL 360p G8. Teaming is configured with 2 nic through the "Server Manager" console, however I observed that the MAC-Address of the "Teamed-NIC" often alternates itself between MAC-Address of both physical NICs.

    Is this a normal behaviour or there is something still missing. The teaming is configured in LACP mode.

    Since this system is to serve as a License-Server and some licenses configuration are MAC-Address dependency, how can I overcome this random chages.

    Thanks

  • Do the physical NICs have to be from the same vendor? I know this was an issue in earlier versions because the OS didn't handle teaming

  • @Corey - Any Ethernet NIC that has passed the Windows Hardware Qualification and Logo test (WHQL tests) may be used in a Windows Server 2012 team.  You can team NIC's from multiple vendors.

  • I have a 2 Host setup, both with a Host NIC team and a VM Team, 2 nics for each and i dont ever see over 115mb transfer from Host to Host or Host to Guest and vice-versa. I have 2 quad port Broadcom cards in each host, and my NIC teams are spread across each Physical Adapter, could this be the reason i dont see double the speeds.

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