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SBS 2003 load balancing 2 NIC's

Posted on 2006-07-12
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
Experts,

I have seen conflicting opinions on this subject.

We have a Dell PE 2800 with 2 1GB internal Intel NIC's as our SBS. A large
amount of data gets put on the server daily and I am interested in
configuring the 2 NIC's for load balancing and increased bandwidth. Just
would like to hear any input/experiences (good or bad) that you have had.
Especially with a Dell PowerEdge.

Our network hardware consists of all cat6 cable/jacks and Dell PC 2624
switches.

A second question.
If I decide to setup the load balancing/teaming should I use the Windows
Network Load Balancing Manager in Administrative Tools or the teaming feature
included with Intel PROSet software?

Thanks.

Steve
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Question by:sirvodka
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17095210
Just in case you haven't seen this, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816111 and http://support.microsoft.com/kb/323437 are a good start.

Then, I would ask you to consider that if you truly have excessive amounts of data flowing on your network that you consider adding a separate file server.  SBS has a lot going on inside, and I've never seen a situation where load balancing would be effective on an SBS as much as it would be by using a separate file server.  I'd still use both NICs on the SBS though, with the configuration shown here:  http://sbsurl.com/twonics.

Obviously, in addition to TCP/IP traffic there are other things to consider such as your disk architecture, processor, and RAM.  There is a very good article that was just written a couple weeks ago regarding RAM issues on SBS:  http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2006/06/30/439628.aspx


I'd stick with the windows NLB manager if you do use this... only because of the way SBS is integrated... but if you can give an idea of the amount of data we're talking about, and number of users... then that could help to offer more advice.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:sirvodka
ID: 17099562
Jeff,

Thanks for the response. Here's a little background.

I recently purchased a new Dell PowerEdge 2800.
2x 3.0 Xeon processors
3Gb Memory
7x 300Gb Ultra 320 SCSI HDD in raid 5 configuration (1.8TB)

This server will be used to consolidate/replace existing servers.
1. Dell PowerEdge SC430 which was the SBS 2003 server with 100GB disk space
2. Dell PowerEdge SC1420 file server with 1TB disk space
3. Dell PowerEdge SC420 SQL 2000 server with 250GB disk space

The amount of data will will differ daily but I'm trying to plan for worst case senario which could be all this at one time:
1. 3 scanners running at the same time (approx. 3MB per minute)
2. Blowback print jobs spooling and printing from the SBS
3. Disk imaging at possibly 100MB per minute (not sure on this one)
4. Any other data an SBS server would normally be transmitting (Exchange, SQL, Domain Controller, etc.)

I don't know if this is considered a large amount of data or not.

The link you provided for the 2 NIC configuration. Don't you use that configuration if the SBS server is also setup as the firewall. I have a seperate Cyberguard SG560 firewall.

Thanks.

Steve
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Accepted Solution

by:
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 17103059
I'll answer the NIC question first.  Just because you have a Cyberguard firewall does not mean that you shouldn't also have SBS running one.  You have one on your workstations as well, don't you?  I like a 2 NIC configuration for both security as well as traffic flow.

Then, why are you replacing your SC1420?  I would think that would provide a great file server for your network, based on your data needs.  To me, this would be the optimal way to provde the best availability.  You may need to upgrade that server with a RAID, or more RAM, but the machine is more than capable of handling the task.  There is more information about additional servers on an SBS network here:  http://sbsurl.com/addserver

Overall though, your data needs don't sound terribly severe... I would either just go ahead with not teaming the NICs and see how it goes... or use a separate file server.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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Author Comment

by:sirvodka
ID: 17103139
Jeff,

Thanks for your advice. I appreciate it.

Steve
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17103551
No prob.  Good luck!

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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