Solved

Team Intel NIC's on Win 2003

Posted on 2008-10-21
13
4,527 Views
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have several Intel servers with 2 NICS in, only one of which is used. These server are DC and file servers.
- Is it worth teaming the NICs to make use of the one I am not using?
- Do I need 3 spare static IP addresses per server (oner for each NIC and the other for the virtual teamed NIC)?
- Can I choose the IP of the virtual teamed NIC?
- In one of the servers has a 1000 NIC and a 100 NIC, will the teamed NIC take the lowest 100Mb\sec speed?

Lots of questions....thanks for any answers.
0
Comment
Question by:Pete
  • 8
  • 4
13 Comments
 
LVL 4

Accepted Solution

by:
Dimarc67 earned 250 total points
ID: 22771462
- Is it worth teaming the NICs to make use of the one I am not using?
Teaming can be used for automatic failover redundancy, bandwidth aggregation, or both.  Bi-directional bandwidth aggregation requires configuring the ports on your network switch as well.  Configuring a team for failover is generally very easy.  So easy, that there's little reason not to do it even with low odds that one of the NICs should fail.
 
- Do I need 3 spare static IP addresses per server (oner for each NIC and the other for the virtual teamed NIC)?
Nope.  Once the team is created, the virtual NIC is the only one that needs an IP.  You can even set it to DHCP if you really wanted to (though generally not recommended for servers).
 
- Can I choose the IP of the virtual teamed NIC?
Yup.  The virtual NIC will be listed in Network Connections just like any other physical NIC, with the same abilities to configure it.
 
- In one of the servers has a 1000 NIC and a 100 NIC, will the teamed NIC take the lowest 100Mb\sec speed?
You may find that the software will not allow you to team two disparate NICs.  However, if it does let you, it may very well simply use whatever bandwidth is available to it.  Or, you could be right and it might downgrade to 100mbps.  Check your teaming software docs for more info.

0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dimarc67
ID: 22771500
I should also mention that if you'll be connecting the two NICs in a team to the same network switch, it's important to use a switch that supports Spanning Tree Protocol (SPT).   Otherwise, you could bring your network to a stand-still.  If you're configuring your switch ports for bandwidth aggregation (also know as "Trunking" or Cisco's "EtherChannel"), then SPT support is pretty much a given.
Dimarc67
New York, NY
0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:lecaf
ID: 22771521
You may find that the software will not allow you to team two disparate NICs.

Intel Nics with Intel software allow this (the extra nic has to be Intel too)

but as Dimarc said
Check your teaming software docs for more info.

m  a r  c
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Pete
ID: 22774671
Thanks, I don't fancy configurng switches, is that necessary? I was just hoping to make a few changes on the servers themselves and combine 2 x 1Gb NIC into a 2Gb NIC, is that not possible without changing switch settings?
The switch the servers plug into - "supports the 802.1d Spanning Tree Protocol" so is that OK then?
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dimarc67
ID: 22775593
If you create a team for bandwidth aggregation, and don't configure the switch ports, you'll have 2gbps outbound from the server, but only 1gbps inbound to the server.  I've done this many times, and it works nicely, so long as you understand the topology.
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Pete
ID: 22854330
Dimarc67 - I have teamed the 2 NIC's in my first server using Intels 'express treaming', (which was the only way supported on that server by Intels Advanced networking software), the 2 NIC's indeed combined to a single NIC, and the name changed so all looks well, but is there any way of actually testing my new outbound speed and seeing 2Gb\sec?
 
Thanks
0
Netscaler Common Configuration How To guides

If you use NetScaler you will want to see these guides. The NetScaler How To Guides show administrators how to get NetScaler up and configured by providing instructions for common scenarios and some not so common ones.

 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dimarc67
ID: 22854655
Good question.  I remember wondering the same thing the first time I built a team.  I'm sure there are utilities out there that will benchmark it quite nicely for you, but I never looked.

On the server with teamed NICs, go to Network Connections, open Properties on the new virtual NIC, and place a check for "Show icon in notification area when connected".  Now in the system tray, if you hover your mouse over the virtual NICs icon, the yellow box should report "Speed: 2.0 Gbps".

One simple speed test is to copy a large file (perhaps an ISO file) from a local system without teamed NICs to another, then perform the same copy from the server with teamed NICs to see if it's faster.

Another method is to perform an HTTP download from the teamed server and from a non-teamed server using Internet Explorer, which will plainly display the transfer speed.  To do this, create a quick little HTML file with two UNC links--one to a large shared file on the teamed server, and another to a copy of the same file on a non-teamed system.  The HTML file need only have a few lines in it.  Below (and attached) are samples:

<a href="file:///\\TeamedServerName\ShareName\filename.ext">\\TeamedServerName\ShareName\filename.ext</a>
<BR>
<BR>
<a href="file:///\\Non-teamedSystemName\ShareName\filename.ext">\\Non-teamedSystemName\ShareName\filename.ext</a>

Once created, open the HTML file in Internet Explorer, right click on the first link and select "Save Target As...", select a Save location, and note the download speed.  Then do the same for the second link.  You should be able to leave the download windows open for direct comparison.

D.


SpeedTestLinks.html.txt
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dimarc67
ID: 22854666
Addendum--
You can just double-click the team NIC in Network Connections to view the Status and speed.  No need to display the icon in the system tray.
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Pete
ID: 22861410
Before I follow any more of your advice the first thing i notice is that the speed is still 1Gb\sec after hovering mouse over the virtual NICs icon. Screenshot attached.
(just to clarify both NIC's are Intel Gb and onboard the server (ie. not separate PCI cards), and the switches support the spanning tree protocol, but I have made no config changes to anything other than installing 'intel Advaned networking' and enabling 'express teaming' in my first NIC's advanced tab.)

team.doc
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dimarc67
ID: 22863045
Petben030,

My sincere apologies, 'cause I'm being an idiot two-fold.

First of all, neither of the testing methods I previously described are any good for testing the 2Gbps bandwidth on the server, 'cause the highest speed you'll ever see will be the slower of whatever two systems you're copying between.  It doesn't matter if the server had a petabit of bandwidth (wouldn't THAT be cool), if the other system has 1Gbps--that's all you get (duh).  With that said, I honestly don't know of a practical method of testing the bandwidth speed without a second system with higher bandwidth (i.e. 10GigE).

Second, and more importantly, your powers of simple observation are certainly stronger than mine. After seeing your screenshot, I went back to my only server that's using Intel's NICs and teaming software, and saw the same thing--1Gbps. Then I checked my HP servers with integrated HP net adapters and software, and my IBM servers with integrated Broadcom adapters and software, and confirmed 2Gbps on all of them.

I then dug into the properties for the Intel NIC team, and changed the default type from "Adaptive Fault Tolerance" to "Static Link Aggregation". The team NIC status then displayed 2Gbps.

I'm not familiar with the Intel Express Teaming software you're working with. My server is using the Intel PRO-1000 PT Dual Port Server Adapter with "Intel(R) Network Connections" installed, version 13.3.46.0. Both physical ports plus the virtual team NIC are displayed in the Device Manager and Network Connections windows. I've attached my screenshot of the properties windows displaying where I changed the team type.  I hope it's helpful to you.  The Intel Network Connections software is downloadable from Intel's site.

After all that, I was finally motivated to work out the Cisco switch configuration settings to enable Gigabit EtherChannel for bidirectional aggregation, which I've listed below for you and/or future Googlers. Intel's software includes a "Test Switch..." button that confirms the switch's ports are properly configured for the team's type and settings. If the switch is not properly configured, the test results give general information about what needs to be changed on the switch for optimum operation.

My server is connected to two ports on a Cisco Catalyst 2960 switch. Below are the IOS commands I used to collectively enable Gigabit EtherChannel on port numbers 5 and 6:

Catalyst-2960(config)# interface range GigabitEthernet0/5 -6
Catalyst-2960(config-if-range)# no spanning-tree portfast
Catalyst-2960(config-if-range)# switchport mode access
Catalyst-2960(config-if-range)# channel-group 5 mode on
Catalyst-2960(config-if-range)# exit
Catalyst-2960(config)# exit
Catalyst-2960# write memory

At this point, Intel's software test says the switch ports are configured properly, and I'm showing 2Gbps in the network connections status.  (Note:  If you're configuring Intel Network Connections via Remote Desktop Connection to the server, you may not see the settings tabs in the team NIC's properties.  See Intel's support article at http://www.intel.com/support/network/sb/CS-020166.htm for the resolution to this.)

Dimarc67
New York, NY

Intel-teaming-properties.JPG
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Pete
ID: 22865643
Thanks for the very detailed reply, a whole load of new options became available after applying the intel\remote desktop fix. I have followed your instructions and even trunked the 2 ports on the switch together, the 'switch test' runs without any errors, and I have "Static Link Aggregation" as the default type....But......the team NIC status still displays 1Gb\s.
Does it matter if the 2 network cards are pluigged into the same switch? surely not.
I appreciate all your help and realise this is probably the time to look into my intel docs further myself.
Thanks you have been great!
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dimarc67
ID: 22866369
While there are switch models that can be configured to allow bandwidth aggregation with the two NICs connected to separate switches, it is not common.  Everything we've talked about here requires the NICs to be plugged into the same switch.
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dimarc67
ID: 22869107
HUGE CORRECTION!!!--

I was incorrect to include the command to disable portfast on the Cisco switch.  Portfast should definitely be enabled on switch ports connected to computers, and should only ever be disabled on ports connected between two switches.

This could possibly be the reason you're still seeing 1Gbps.  Execute the following commands on your switch to re-enable portfast.  Substitute the port range numbers of the ports that are connected to your server:

Catalyst-2960(config)# interface range GigabitEthernet0/5 -6
Catalyst-2960(config-if-range)# spanning-tree portfast
Catalyst-2960(config-if-range)# exit
Catalyst-2960(config)# exit
Catalyst-2960# write memory

Sorry for all of the second guessing.

D.
0

Featured Post

Highfive Gives IT Their Time Back

Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

Join & Write a Comment

Recently, I had the need to build a standalone system to run a point-of-sale system. I’m running this on a low-voltage Atom processor, so I wanted a light-weight operating system, but still needed Windows. I chose to use Microsoft Windows Server 200…
I've always wanted to allow a user to have a printer no matter where they login. The steps below will show you how to achieve just that. In this Article I'll show how to deploy printers automatically with group policy and then using security fil…
It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
Sending a Secure fax is easy with eFax Corporate (http://www.enterprise.efax.com). First, Just open a new email message.  In the To field, type your recipient's fax number @efaxsend.com. You can even send a secure international fax — just include t…

743 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

11 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now