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


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 (35)

  1. Anonymous says:

    @Brian –

    My understanding is that the team will not be able to combine two NIC's for aggregated bandwidth, for a single data stream between two hosts.  That data will always traverse a single path/interface in the team.  You would see aggregated bandwidth in a many to one scenario, such as multiple clients connecting to a centralized file server.

  2. hassan sayed issa20014 says:

    thanks

  3. hassan sayed issa20014 says:

    thanks

  4. Anonymous says:

    @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.

  5. Anonymous says:

    @Brian –

    On the IP – before teaming – it is irrelevant what they were configured to, as once teams, they unbind from TCP-IP and bind to the teaming driver.  The virtual NIC created will then bind to TCP/IP

  6. Anonymous says:

    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.

  7. Anonymous says:

    @ken –

    That's by design.  Two NIC's could both have statics….. we don't assume which one you want – we let you configure it.  The default is always DHCP for any NIC.  I'd recommend performing changes on production machines during approved and scheduled maintenance windows.  :-)

  8. Anonymous says:

    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?

  9. Marco Shaw says:

    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.

  10. Leigh says:

    hi

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

  11. Leigh says:

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

    Thumbs up!

  12. Hank says:

    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)

  13. Andrew says:

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

  14. Steve says:

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

  15. topokin says:

    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

  16. Leigh says:

    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. ??

    http://www.aidanfinn.com

  17. Brian says:

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

    Brian

  18. DeaPea says:

    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

  19. Corey says:

    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

  20. Brian says:

    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.

  21. Brian says:

    One other question, i cant seem to find an answer on this from any of the How-To's on NIC teaming in 2012. What about IP address on the NIC's prior to teaming, should these be static or DHCP? i know you Should assign a static to the Team once created but im not clear on if you need Static on them prior to creating the team.

  22. Ken Ogden says:

    I created a team then lost connectivity because the original NIC was a static IP. I had to go into the console on the server and give the team the static IP as it had been set to DHCP. I'm not sure if there is a way to set the IP address of the team prior to creating it. Next time I create a team I'll have to make sure no one is using the server :)

  23. Molotch says:

    Only the switch dependent modes will aggregate the bandwidth over a single connection. The white paper is highly recommended.

    http://www.microsoft.com/…/details.aspx

  24. Anonymous says:

    This article describes how to create a NIC Team fo

  25. Phill says:

    I have tested NIC teaming on a guest VM in a hyper-v platform. I have teamed them successfully and i get double the speed i initially had. But when i performed fail over tests, i realized when i disable vEthernet1 in the vNIC0 team, i never lost connectivity
    but when i disabled vEthernet2, i lost network connectivity. What could be the reason when both adapters are in active/active state.

  26. Jack Tors says:

    I am also seeing the same issue. I have tried:
    Broadcom LACP (with switch config)
    Microsoft LACP (with switch config)
    Switch Independent Teaming (Microsoft)

    Cannot get more than 1GBps out of a 4Gbps team (shows connected at 4Gbps).
    I run 14 backups at once, from different TCP streams. Also tried 4 pert from 4 different servers. 1Gbps.

  27. Adrian says:

    In cases of NIC teaming or aggregation, the theory is rather simple. If we team up 2 NICs, in theory we will get 2x 1GB and not a true 2GB connection.

    If you were to transfer files between 2 servers, taking that the storage is fast enough, the below will occur….
    1. transfer of a large file – max only 1GBps
    2. transfer of many files – max 2GBps
    3. transfer of 1 large file and many small files – large file will take up max 1GBps while the small files will use other 1MBps

  28. Anonymous says:

    This article describes how to create a NIC Team fo

  29. Jay Markson says:

    Hank ! the speed on hyper-V is slower because of the Bit Streams, To prevent data going missing, Only one adapter is used per stream, SMB is capable of dividing the data, but Hyper-V Migrations etc simply wont work well…. It is by Design :-)

  30. Alfons says:

    Does NIC teaming also work when NICs are configured as virtual switches (necessary for Hyper-V guest operating systems)?
    In particular, do NICs first have to be combined in a team and then the Hyper-V Team to be configured as a virtual switch, or the other way around (first configure as virtual switsches and the team the virtual switches)?

  31. Alaaeldin says:

    i have issue when trying to add network team no network interface found.
    i want to reset the network configuration.
    any help

  32. Anonymous says:

    This article describes how to create a NIC Team ht

  33. Mark says:

    is it possible to have one set of NIC teaming for the Hyper-V (Switch independent) and one set for other uses LACP?

  34. Parsia says:

    thx.
    my question is LAN Teaming in windows server 2008 is too same or no?

    1. Kevin Holman says:

      No. NIC teaming using the Microsoft OS drivers was introduced in Windows Server 2012. In older versions of the OS – you need to use the vendor provided teaming driver and follow their configuration and best practices.