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Does teaming a Nic mean they both work at the same time and can more than 2 be in one team?

Posted on 2008-10-03
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi,  I've done some analysis on a server and have discovered the Single Nic total bytes is averaging on 52% despite the network utilisation being 15%. (All other device counters are OK).
Can i ask, if i team the Nic, do they both work at the same time thus reducing the load on the single nic or does teaming simply act as fail-over. Also, slots permitting, is it possible to team more than one card, ie. could all 4 be part of one team?
Thanks for looking.
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Question by:Jason Thomas
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by:KCTS
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Teaming NICs may improve throughput a bit - but as only one NIC can transmit on the network at once, you will not double throughput by teaming - its essentailly a fail-over.
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by:Jason Thomas
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Thank you. Are there any suggestions on how to reslve the issue, other than splitting the data across two physical servers?
Thank you.
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aleghart earned 500 total points
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> only one NIC can transmit on the network at once

Not completely true.  This is true when the server and clients are on different subnets.  If they are on the same broadcast subnet (i.e. 192.168.1.x), "smart" load balancing occurs by using a team IP address.  The MAC of each NIC is broadcast with the team IP address.

You can also setup multiple ports with link aggregation (if supported on the switch).  This simplifies the teaming.

From Broadcom (used by Dell):

Smart Load Balancing enables both transmit and receive load balancing based on the Layer 3/Layer 4 IP address and TCP/UDP port number. In other words, the load balancing is not done at a byte or frame level but on a TCP/UDP session basis. This methodology is required to maintain in-order delivery of frames that belong to the same socket conversation. Load balancing is supported on 2-8 ports.


I've attached a Broadcom/Dell whitepaper on teaming.  Similar team types are available with 3Com and Intel NICs.  The best method is with matched NICs from the same vendor.


broadcom-nic-teaming-1.1-final.doc
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