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Load Balancing

Load Balancing:

I am looking to set an option for Network Load Balancing in my Server 2003 Setup.
I have two Network Cards (Both Onboard Intel) I don’t know if that matters or not.  I am assuming that you can use two cards no matter what the brand name is, if that is “true” please inform me.

Where would I find this option in Server 2003, or do I need some 3rd party software / driver support to do this?
 
Thanks for the help / info.
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weguardyou
Asked:
weguardyou
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1 Solution
 
neisnerCommented:
It shouldn't matter if the two cards are different brands.  Check out this document, it may help.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;323431
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rindiCommented:
Often you need to be able to set that option on your switch, as well.
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weguardyouAuthor Commented:
That’s the thing I am also wondering; you see there is an ‘old’ machine, NT4.
It has two network cards in it, and from what I am being told is this.  That it’s performing load balancing on the network cards itself.
It seemed somewhat strange to me.  I looked into the properties of the network on that box to see what it had listed and the following is what shows:

HP Adaptive Load Balancing Team (HPAFT3)
HP NetServer 10/100TX PCI LAN Adapter (HPTX1) - Primary
HP NetServer 10/100TX PCI LAN Adapter (HPTX2) - Secondary

I don’t know if this machine is performing the load balancing or not.  It seems that I could be doing this task.  Info the machine is a web server (is, or was, going to be again).
That’s why this is needed.

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neisnerCommented:
That old NT machine must have HP's network teaming software installed.  It would create such a setup for you, and actually does a fine job of load balancing.  If your 2003 server is an HP as well, you can install this teaming software and go that route if you prefer.
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
the first article posted by neiser is for load balancing which is when you have more than one server, which you dont have.  You have one server and 2 nics and you want to "team" the nics, so if one network or nic fails people can still access the server.  

A good graphic of this is located here(even though the discription is for unix):

http://www1.us.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/power/en/ps1q03_bhutani?c=us&cs=555&l=en&s=biz

Nic teaming is where the OS "thinks" you only have one nic but you really have 2(or more)  it is discribed here :

http://msdn.microsoft.com/archive/default.asp?url=/archive/en-us/dnarexnt01/html/ewn0172.asp

note that third party tools are used to "fool" the os into thinking you only have one NIC.


you could also simply have your router/firewall route some traffic to one nic and some to the other (2 IPs).
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weguardyouAuthor Commented:
Well in my testing box I have the two Intel cards. I have read that article posted above.  
I am having this feeling that it’s missing some point that is needed to be made.

For example I am testing right now:  I want to make NIC#1 10.0.0.101 and then add NIC#2, but I can’t use the same IP, so where does the balancing come into play

And even if NIC#1 is 10.0.0.101 and NIC#2 is 10.0.0.102 how are theses both to be joined to share the load?
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weguardyouAuthor Commented:
Cheers, Multiple NICs with a single IP is what I am looking for.
Heck if I can put 4 NIC in this box I will as I do expect a lard amount of traffic to this system.

Is there an article (by Micro$oft) that shows how to set this up.
This would solve my dilemma  
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
as it mentions on the MS article i gave you,,, you need third party tools to set this up. This is b/c MS doesn't make NICs and its handled by the nic drivers. So you will need to get with your NIC provider.
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muhalokCommented:
So what u need is bridging, not a load balancing.

Bridging of 2 NIC will do the following:

1. Create Virtual NIC with 1 IP address . You will not have 2 different IPs for each NIC.

2. Bridging will allow you to connect 2 different switches/routers to the same machine (Win2k3 Server in your case)

#########################################

In case you need a scalable solution only for bandwitdth, meaning connect 2 ports on the same switch to 2 different NICs on the Win2k3 machine - the switch should support trunking (e.g. making 2 100mbps ports into 1 200mbps port).

These are your options.

In case you need more sophisticated solution, tell me what are the final needs besides making the machine always available (not only redundancy and scalability, but also QoS, etc.)
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muhalokCommented:
I forgot to add how to create a bridge, its really simple:

1. Open Properties of My Network Places
2. Select both NICs (Local Area connections)
3. Right Click - bridge connections.

Thats it.

Now work with the Bridge as if it was a regular NIC.
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rindiCommented:
I agree with muhalok, but will probably need the correct driver to do that, and that doesn't work with every NIC, but I guess with the Intel NIC you mentioned it should work. and as i mentioned before you will also have to set your switch to be teaming aware. Not all managable switches will allow you to do that, and they are often only compatible with certain NICs as well. As far as I know Cisco Switches tend to be restrictive.
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rafael_accCommented:
:D Ok ...
What do you want to loadbalance?

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mikeleebrlaCommented:
rafael,,, as he stated in the original question,, he only has one server,, load balancing requires at least 2.....
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rafael_accCommented:
He might want for example to load-balance two wan connections if these are installed in the same computers. Right?
:) Cheers
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
that is network load balancing,,, which he might want,,, in that setup each nic would have its own IP address and the routers would actually "balance" the traffic,, not the server.
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weguardyouAuthor Commented:
This is what I want to do… the keep it simple:
I want to have my box installed with windows 2003 server, two network cards, one IP Address… Perhaps more even, but the point is this.  I want to make the two network cards into one, putting them both into my switch.

Example:  [NIC1] [NIC2] = [Virtual NIC w/ IP Address assigned to it] ------ [SWITCH]
Thus balancing the load, or sharing the load so that there isn’t any data loss when request are being sent to and from this machine.

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mikeleebrlaCommented:
that is nic teaming,,, get with your nic provider for the drivers forr this
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muhalokCommented:
Dear weguardyou

This according to your demand, please use my second comment as an answer - this is exactly what I explained! Not "teaming" as it called by mikeleebrla, but "bridging" - just select both nics and then right click -> Bridge connections! thats it - really really simple! I did it many times when I needed redundancy and scalability.
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
i backed up my answers with links,, i didn't come up with the term "teaming" as you suggested, microsoft and other manufacutures did. Teaming is also what all nic manufactures call it as well. Intel, 3com etc.
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weguardyouAuthor Commented:
muhalok, I will test this on the bench in a few to see...
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
one more point,,, do you even know what a network bridge is?  Its actually a piece of hardware that connects different types of network standards ie ethernet to token ring for example,,, or wireless ethernet to wired ethernet.  In XP and 2003, MS built this functionality into these OSs so a PC could "act" like a bridge.  But bridging has absolutely nothing to do with load balancing or fault tolerance... This is a VERY basic concept that is answered on any entry level cert like network+
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weguardyouAuthor Commented:
I do understand what a network bridge is.  I am not sure if M$ has taking this concept and changed the name // functionality of it.
Again… teaming is what I was looking for, or even an alternate method of doing this with out buying extra hardware.  If it’s the manufactures drivers I need then so that what must be obtained.  Then again, there is the question of what if you’re using two different manufactured network cards; i.e. Intel & a DLink model.  I am sure there has to be a way to do it with them two cards!  The Bridging method does join them and make a virtual adapter, but does this function to balance I am not sure.

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mikeleebrlaCommented:
weguardyou,,, my comment was aimed at muhalok (who doesn't understand), not you.  Bridging and teaming are two completely different things.  xp/2003 can do both actually. But what you want is teaming, not bridging.
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muhalokCommented:
weguardyou , here is the description of the Network Bridge from M$ Help, see whether it answers your needs please.

Network Bridge overviewNetwork Bridge provides an inexpensive and easy way to connect local area network (LAN) segments. A LAN segment is a single section of network media that connects computers. For example, suppose you have three computers: computer A, computer B, and computer C. Computer A has two Ethernet network adapters, and computers B and C have one Ethernet network adapter each. An Ethernet cable connecting A to B creates one LAN segment. Another Ethernet cable connecting A to C creates another LAN segment.

Traditionally, if you want a network with more than one segment, you have two options: routing or bridging. IP routing is a common solution for connecting network segments. However, to set up IP routing you either must buy hardware routers or set up the computers at the junctions between segments to operate as routers. IP routing requires difficult IP addressing configuration for each computer on each network segment, and each network segment must be configured as a separate subnet. IP routing is a good solution for large networks, where scalability is important, and where there is an experienced staff to configure and maintain the network. A bridge does not require difficult configurations, but you must purchase additional hardware bridges. Neither of these options are ideal if you have a home or small office network, do not want to purchase expensive bridging hardware, and do not have experienced staff to administer an IP routing network.

With Network Bridge, you can connect LAN segments by selecting the appropriate network connection icons and clicking Bridge Connections. Equally easily, you can enable the bridge and add connections to it. The network bridge manages your network segments and creates a single subnet for the entire network. There is no configuration required, and you do not need to purchase additional hardware such as routers or bridges. IP addressing, address allocation, and name resolution is easy to do in a single subnet IP network.

The network bridge can create connections between different types of network media. In a traditional network, if you are using mixed media types you need a separate subnet for each type of media, and packet forwarding is required for each one of the network's multiple subnets. Packet forwarding is required because different protocols are used for different types of media. Network Bridge automates the configuration required to forward information from one type of media to another.

Only one bridge can exist on a computer running Windows XP, but you can use it to bridge as many network connections as the computer can physically accommodate. For information about creating a network bridge, see Bridge Connections.

Spanning tree algorithm
Network Bridge uses the IEEE spanning tree algorithm (STA) to establish a loop-free forwarding topology. When there are multiple paths in a bridged network, loops can form and the simple forwarding rules of a bridge can cause forwarding storms, a condition in which the same frame is relayed endlessly from one bridge to another. STA provides an automated mechanism to selectively disable bridge forwarding on individual ports as necessary to ensure that the forwarding topology is loop-free. You do not need to configure Network Bridge for the spanning tree algorithm.






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muhalokCommented:
mikeleebrla,

I was referring to the M$ functionality name in order to make it easier to understand for
weguardyou how to make it work on Win2k3 and I am glad that he did get me.

I didn't mean to imply in any matter that you do not understand, therefore in case I offended you - sorry, no offence meant - lets stop it here. (BTW - I know exactly what bridge/loadbalancing/redundancy/scalability/clustering are).

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muhalokCommented:
weguardyou, I took the "Help" from Windows XP Pro, but it works the same way in Win2k3.
Here is a more "visual" explanation:

http://www.wown.com/j_helmig/wxpbrdge.htm
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
mauhalok,,, you might want to read your own post "overview Network Bridge provides an inexpensive and easy way to connect local area network (LAN) segments"  this is NOT what he wants to do. Basically you STILL don't understand. Sorry, but it's true.  Why would he want one segment of his lan to go "through" his server to connect another segment???? B/C that is what a Bridge does. He wants 2 physical network connections to get (key word here) "TO" his server. Which is what network load balancing or nic teaming does. The fact that you copied a bunch of stuff from MS's site doesnt mean you are right, it still proves you dont understand what the article is saying or what bridging is even used for.  
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muhalokCommented:
Mike, thanks for making this point. Point accepted - i was wrong regarding the Bridging solution.
I know what Network Bridge does, though it was a mistake to post the Help section.

My point was to connect both NICs under 1 virtual NIC with an IP.
This would have worked in case the user requests that were mentioned in the question were arriving from 2 different switches. (I am almost 100% sure it works). The only weak point in this thing was that in case both cables are coming from the same switch, because the trunking (teaming) on a switch side would have been required.

But please correct me if I am wrong and where I am wrong, when I am saying this:

The need is to allow 1 machine to receieve traffic from 2 NICs as if it was 1 NIC.

So Network Bridge on Win2k3 would have unite the physical NICs under 1 Virtual NIC. (I understand that the Network Bridge purpose is different, but it works as a workaround)

The traffic addressed to this Virtual IP would have arrived to the Win2k3 machine through both NICs. The balancing can be established by metrics of the interfaces themselves.

Thats it.

I would like to get your opinion regarding my argument, if its possible can u send it to my mail? (I don't want to add too much offtopic content to this thread).

Thanks.
Alex.
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