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How to set up Nic Teaming in Windows 2003 server running on VMWare

Posted on 2009-05-06
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
We have multiple Windows 2003 servers running on VMWare. We would like to increase bandwidth on the high traffic servers from 1Gb to 2Gb utilizing NIC teaming. On our physical boxes, HP supplies software to do this , however, on the vitual boxes, we cannot figure out how to do this.
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Question by:jb747
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by:Pete Long
ID: 24315687
Why do this within a VMWare "Image" they are not REAL network connections they are virtual connections to a virtuial switch - as such they do not run at 10, 100 or 100Mbps they run at the speed the host OS can process things.
 
 
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by:zelron22
ID: 24315700
Are these physical NICs dedicated to the VMs, or are they virtual NICs?  The NIC drivers need to support this, so I would think if you have physical NICs dedicated to the VMs, that you should be able to just use the HP utiliy.  
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24316041
The important point to be kept in mind is the VM can pass and receive Network Traffic as fast as its base NIC.
If the NIC is configured at 1 Gbps / Full Duplex, then the VM also can negotiate at such speeds.
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24316054
Instead of teaming the NICS at the VM level, you can team the NICs at vSwitch level by using the concept of Active-Active Adapters.
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by:jb747
ID: 24316324
zelron22:Are these physical NICs dedicated to the VMs, or are they virtual NICs?  The NIC drivers need to support this, so I would think if you have physical NICs dedicated to the VMs, that you should be able to just use the HP utiliy.  

 - These are virtual Nics.  The hp utility will not install in a virtual environment.
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by:jb747
ID: 24316342
arunraju:Instead of teaming the NICS at the VM level, you can team the NICs at vSwitch level by using the concept of Active-Active Adapters.

 - Can you explain this please ?
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by:markzz
ID: 24316417
I think we are talking VMWare Server rather than ESX here!
Have you performed some perfmon stats on your guest servers? I very much doubt they will be able to utilise even a single 1 Gb of band width.
We run some very large servers over Cisco 6500 series core switches and still I can't flood a 1Gb NIC on a physical server.
With the ESX Host servers we do team NICs but thay are not load balanced, the net effect of this is that ESX establishes sessions per guest down alternative paths. So even though it may appear there is 2Gb of bandwith available the individual guest servers will never be able to utilise more than 1Gb of that band width.
If you are running VMWare server and you want to improve your performance from all aspacts including network you should start to investigate ESX.
I hope this makes sense and assists you.
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24316440
markzz is right.

Please update the VMware Product you are using. VMware Server 2.0 or VMware ESX/ESXi.
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by:jb747
ID: 24316526
Sorry - VMware ESX3.5 -
Additionally, I'm moving several TB of data through the server and although performance charts do not show that the adpater is in high utilization, when I do the math on the throuput, it equates to a 1gb interface.
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24316750
VMware NIC Teaming at the vSwitch level is done by teaming 2 Physical NICs at the vSwitch level.

There are 3 options when it comes to Adapters

1.Active
2.Standby
3.Unused

The best option of load balancing the NIC Bandwidth equally is by using Active - Active Config.

Standby Adapters are those NICs which are used when the Active Adapters fail due to Hardware or Network Failure.

In order to clearly know more about vSwitches and NIC Teaming, read from Page 41 of this Doc - http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/r35u2/vi3_35_25_u2_3_server_config.pdf
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markzz earned 500 total points
ID: 24317101
But the point still stands if your guest session has 1 vNIC it will be 1Gb limited.
Although I have not done it I guess you could assign the guest 2 vNIC's put then on the same vSwitch and use the Microsoft load Balance driver which comes with Windows 2003.
I'd be quite surprised if you get better than 1Gb through put, but it would be an interesting experiment.
Maybe these servers aren't the best candidates for virtualisation..
Hey lets look at the maths.
1TB (so terra byte) or data. Times by 8 to get a real world network figure in bites not Bytes which is 8Tb or 8000Gb, so on a 1Gb NIC you should be able to pass that data in 8000 seconds, divide by 60=133.3 minutes or 2 hours, assume 50% efficiency that's 4 hours.
Hmm that's a shit load of data..
Just to make mention again.. Adding 2 physical NIC's to a vSwitch and load balancing doesn't make 2Gb of bandwidth available to each VM guest. 2 guests can have 1 Gb each, 4 guests can have .5Gb each but no 1 ynique guest can use more than the capability of a single physical adapter. If you truely want 2Gb of band width you need to etherchanel the ports together and configure your vSwitch with a load balance type of "route based on IP hash". If I remember correctly.
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by:jb747
ID: 24317408
So, we have 10 esx servers, 4 nics each @ 1gb. Currently, there are 50+ servers running both Windows and Linux. Based on this, are we now assuming that no single guest can achieve 1Gb throughput as the amount of Virtual nics now exceeds the amount of physical nics ?
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by:markzz
ID: 24327741
Time for 10Gb??
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