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Single vs Double NIC

Posted on 2010-09-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have a new Dell R410 with two NIC, but wanted to pose the question about best approach for design of network and how the NICs will play a role.

One thought is to have one NIC talking to Router on a different IP range, then have an internal range from the 2nd NIC.
Another thought is to perhaps Team them together, or perhaps stick to one NIC and disable the other.

What is the industry doing these days and why?
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Question by:Flipp
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by:Mike Thomas
ID: 33584889
I would either team them for failover if it were file server, mail server etc, if it was a DC I would disable 1 nic.

People do not have much luckwith multi homing unless you run RRAS on the server or another software routing prog. Teaming for failover basically means if on nic failes the other will kick in, disabling 1 nic is basically manual faliover, if 1 nic dies you just enable the other nic, configure it and plug in the cable from the other nic.

At the end of the day it is the redundancy ou want and if you are on site swapping nics over is a 5 minute job.

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Dave_AND earned 300 total points
ID: 33584909
SBS2008 only supports 1 NIC in standard edition:

"One NIC is recommended and supported on the Standard Edition server. If you have more than one NIC on the first server, then when the network wizards are run the additional NICs are disabled. Multiple NICs are an advanced scenario; if you want to use multiple NICs you should do so on the Premium Edition server." from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sbs/cc817589.aspx

If you have premium its up to you what you want to do, and what Firewall Hardware you have, personally now I put in a good Application Hardware Firewall (Watchguard in my case) and a single NIC for the SBS.
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by:helpnet
helpnet earned 100 total points
ID: 33584933
It really depends on what you want to use the server for, and the other equipment you have available on the network.  If you are just using it as a file server, I would be looking at teaming/aggregating the nic.  But to be able to do this you need switch hardware that is capable of port aggregation.  If you already have a firewall in place, there is probably not a lot of value in having one nic connected to the lan and the other the a router lan.

If you do not have the hardware to team, I would in most situations be inclined to connect one to the LAN, and disable the other (but label them or possibly put a bit of tape over the unused port on the outside so if someone for some reason plays with cables, you know quickly what is what)
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by:rindi
rindi earned 100 total points
ID: 33584937
Depends on the OS you will be running. If it is an SBS 2008 server like the Zone and Tags you selected suggest, then yes, for proper use of SBS 2008 use the first NIC for the outside LAN and the 2nd NIC for the inside LAN. If you then buy Forefront for your server (if I remember correctly forefront is included on SBS, but after the trial period you must buy the licenses) it will then act as firewall and proxy for your PC's and for exchange.
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Expert Comment

by:bobalob
ID: 33584966
Check out the Dell/Broadcom software to team the NICs - Nice and easy and will provide redundancy. I would go with fail-on-fault. Chances are the disks you have in that R410 are not capable of delivering anywhere near a Gb of I/O so there is no point with load balancing.

You will probably want to plug each NIC into a seperate switch (if affordable,) to remove single points of failure from your environment.
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Author Comment

by:Flipp
ID: 33585003
Let me give you all some additional info on what I have and what I am thinking about ....

1. Small Business Server 2008 Standard is the OS.
2. 10 - 15 Users
3. Server will play role of DC, Mail, File, Print, VPN, DNS, DHCP

Based upon above, and previous experience I was thinking of having NIC1 on 10.3.1.10 connected to Internet ROuter and NIC2 on 10.2.1.10 connected to LAN. But what does this ultimately achieve? Value? Is the value seen in then being able to filter traffic?

Ideally I would like the best design to not complicate architecture, but to also allow for future enhancements.
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 33585017
1. Small Business Server 2008 Standard is the OS.

As Dave_AND has stated you do not have a choice then as this supports 1 NIC and 1 NIC only.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Flipp
ID: 33585044
That answers my question ... only one NIC for me ;-)
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by:bobalob
ID: 33585071
if you team the nic using dell / broadcom software you will end up with 1 "virtual NIC" confiugured for TCP/IP so it should still be fine and will still give you all the redundancy goodness.
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