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NIC Teaming vs. Network Load Balancing / Which to use and how to install

Posted on 2006-06-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Is NIC Teaming the same as Network Load Balancing? I have installed two NIC's on my Server and want to use them to increase the amount of bandwidth to my server. One is a Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit adapter and the other is a 3Com 3C2000 Gigabit adapter. I have found a bit of info on Network Load Balancing but it is not very intuitive. I need a resource that explains how to configure it step by step. Some specific questions are:

1) What is the Cluster IP Address and how is it used? Is it the same as the IP address assigned to any of the NIC's?
2) What is the Full Internet Name and how is it used?
3) Does load balancing get enabled on both adapters?
4) How will it affect the DNS server running on this server?

Question by:rbichon
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 16832894
NLB is used across multiple servers for teaming such as in web farms, whereas NIC teaming is teaming 2 or more nics on a single server.

So in your case you are wanting NIC teaming.  Ideally you want the 2 nics to be the same make/model.

1)  This is used in NLB which isn't what you are trying to do
2)  same (NLB)
3)  again NLB
4)  again NLB

Your best bet is to replace one of the NICs with a duplicate of the other, and then with the same nic models you can get the teaming software specific to that OEM.

Author Comment

ID: 16833091
I see. Is there a way to team 2 nic's that are different makes?
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

TheCleaner earned 1000 total points
ID: 16833723
I have never done it, but it may be possible.  The restrictions will lie in maybe using the switch they plug into to do the "teaming", using Etherchannel or similar.

the problem usually lies in that each manufacturer typically uses proprietary teaming methods instead of something like 802.3ad.

If you don't want to get another broadcom or 3com, my best suggestion is to call one or the other and ask their tech support if it is possible to team their NIC with the other non-similar nic.

Author Comment

ID: 16870258
I went ahead and ordered a dual-port nic by Intel and it has teaming support in the device properties. It claims that it can team with the built in adapter as well but I haven't tried that yet. Thanks for the help.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 16870501
Very welcome.  Remember with the Intel's latest version of their Proset software that the device config isn't in the NIC now but in the device manager properties of the NIC (very strange I know).  So if you start looking for it after the install that's where it will be (assuming the latest version).

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