Windows 2012 NIC Teams

Configuring NIC Teams

 Before configuring NIC teams you have to know

What sort of switching environment do you have? That affects how the switch ports that are connected to the team members will know that this is a team.

The first choice you have to make is related to the kinds of switching in the physical network that the NIC team is connected to:

Switch-Independent Teaming: A NIC team configured for Switch-Independent Teaming is probably connected to multiple independent switches, but it can be used where there is just a single switch. The switches connected to this type of NIC team have no participation in the functionality of the team and require no manual or automated configuration.

Normally, all team members are active and share the burden if one of them fails.

Switch-Dependent Teaming: with this kind of NIC team, there is a dependence on the switches having some kind of configuration.

In Switch-Dependent Teaming, the entire switch ports that the NIC team is connected to must be a part of a single switch or logical switch (switches in a stacked).

There are two ways to configure Switch-Dependent Teaming, depending on the physical switching environment.

The first is Static Teaming, also called Generic. This configuration requires the server administrator to configure the team, the network administrator to configure the switch ports, and for the cabling to be highly managed.

Being static, it is not a very flexible solution in a dynamic cloud environment.

The second is Dynamic Teaming, or Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP).

LACP is a layer 2 control protocols that can be used to automatically detect, configure, and manage, as one logical link, multiple physical links between two adjacent LACP-enabled devices.

An LACP-enabled NIC team will reach out to LACP-enabled switches to inform the devices of the NIC team’s presence and team members.

This allows for quicker and easier deployment and configuration with less human involvement, which is more cloud-friendly.

What kind of workload are you putting on the NIC team? This will determine how outbound traffic is distributed across the team and how inbound traffic is handled by the switches.

The configuration of a NIC team is how to distribute the traffic across the team. There are two options:

Hyper-V Port When creating a team for a virtual switch (most commonly used). Each virtual NIC that is transmitting through the NIC team is assigned (automatically by the NIC team) a team member (a physical NIC) for outbound and inbound communications.

This means that if you have a team made up of 32 1-GbE team members, one virtual NIC will always be able to transmit at a maximum of only 1 GbE.

Hyper-V Port is suitable when dense hosts are deployed, with many more virtual NICs (virtual machines) than there are physical NICs (team members) in the NIC team.

Hyper-V Port is also required if we decide to turn on DVMQ feature, that improves network performance for virtual NICs.

DVMQ (Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue): is an offload that binds the MAC address of a virtual NIC to a queue on a specific physical NIC (team member).

When the physical network sends traffic to a virtual NIC, it needs to know which team member to target.

Hyper-V Port gives some level of dependency; the physical network knows which team member to target with traffic addressed for a specific virtual NIC so that DVMQ can optimize the flow of traffic. Without this binding, the physical network would hit random or all team members and DVMQ would have been all but useless.

Note that when a team is configured for Hyper-V Port load distribution but is not used by a

Hyper-V virtual switch, that team will always transmit on only a single team member.

Address Hashing The Address Hashing option hashes the addressing of outbound packets and uses the results to distribute the packets across the members of the NIC team. With this configuration, traffic from a single source can have access to the total bandwidth of the NIC team.

How that traffic is distributed depends on how the hashing algorithm performs. There are three types of data that Address Hashing load distribution can automatically choose from:

1- 4-tuple hash: This method hashes TCP/UDP ports and it is the most granular data offering the best results. It cannot be used for non-TCP or non-UDP traffic and it cannot be used for encrypted data, such as IPsec, that hides the TCP/UDP ports.

2- 2-tuple hash: Address hashing will use the source and destination IP addresses from the packets.

3- Source and destination MAC addresses: This is used if the traffic is not IP based.

Creating and Configuring NIC Teams

After basic understand for Hyper-V NIC Teams, and importantly, design NIC teams to suit your workloads. Now we are ready to make a decision and start to create NIC Team and configure the server:

From server manager, right click on the server you want to configure and chose “Configure NIC Teaming”

ITMug NIC Team

From Network Adapter list, select the NIC that you want to add as a team member (in my case I have only two NIC) and click “Add to New Team”

ITMug NIC Team 2

Click Additional properties on “NIC Teaming” windows and chose the setting that match the requirement and your physical Network.

ITMug NIC Team 3A

The figure is just to show you the drop-down list for each box, as explained above.

The figure is just to show you the drop-down list for each box, as explained above.

ITMug NIC Team 03B  ITMug NIC Team 03C

ITMug NIC Team 03D

Click OK to create your new team (The team will appear under Teams)


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