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Windows 2008 R2 Domain Controller - Multiple NICs

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi,

I've recently completed my first Windows 2008 implementation as our new primary domain controller and I'm impressed the functionality over 2003.

The file server side of things is set up with permissions/quotas, as is the fax server, AD, DNS, DHCP, etc.

All I need to do to finish this project is move over the last 1-2 roaming profiles from our old 2003 DC, migrate our standard Windows VPN from 2003 > 2008 and rollout WSUS.

The final step is to purchase Acronis Backup & Restore 10 w/universal restore (we've got a trial running at the moment).

The server seems to be running well, but I was thinking of ways to potentially improve the network performance.

As the Dell Poweredge R710 has 4x NICs, could I use the 2nd NIC (and 3rd/4th in future) to spread the load of the traffic?

For example, out of 30 users - could I split the office so that 15 connect to NIC 1 and the remaining use NIC 2?

At the moment, the NIC 1 settings are:

IP: 192.168.1.114
G/W: 192.168.1.249

1st DNS: 192.168.114
2nd DNS: 192.168.1.100 (Old 2003 DC)

I was thinking of changing the NIC 2 settings to:

IP: 192.168.1.116
G/W: 192.168.1.249

1st DNS: 192.168.116
2nd DNS: 192.168.1.114

This doesn't seem to work, so I just wondered what am I doing wrong? Or is it a case that Windows 2008 doesn't allow 2 NICs to be used on the same network?

It's not essential that I use 2x NICs but I'm just thinking of ways to improve performance and balance the load across the 2.

I look forward to your replies, and thanks in advance!!
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Question by:robsamuel2k8
9 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
KenMcF earned 200 total points
ID: 35006111
It is not recomended to have multiple NICs on a doamin contorller. You will have issues with DNS. If you are concerned about performance you can add additional domain contorllers. If you search on EE you will find several questions and problems with having multiple NICs on a DC
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Author Comment

by:robsamuel2k8
ID: 35006307
No problem at all, it's worth asking the question.

I've had a look around and there is a blog post relating to multiple NICs in a file server using either NIC teaming or 2 NICs on the same subnet:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2010/09/03/using-the-multiple-nics-of-your-file-server-running-windows-server-2008-and-2008-r2.aspx

But if you do not recommend using this on our primary domain controller then I'll take that on board. The only 2003 DC ran fine (Poweredge 1800SC) so I'm sure it'll be fine with 30 users on our R710 with 2x quad-core Intel CPUs and 8GB RAM.
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Expert Comment

by:snickered
ID: 35006467
Depending on the kind of NIC (and switch) you have there might be some other options for teaming your NICs.  This will accomplish what you'd like.

What kind of NIC is it?  What kind of switch is it connected to?
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 35006669
Virtualize the environment. I use R710's for all of our infrastructure with ESX4.1 running on them Set up the networking to share multiple NICS in the ESX network setup and then just have the one NIC in the windows 2008 setup.  This will make use of your NICS, give you some redundancy and improve performance slightly.
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LVL 26

Assisted Solution

by:jar3817
jar3817 earned 100 total points
ID: 35006702
For 30 users, you won't see any kind of performance increase by using more than 1 nic.
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Author Comment

by:robsamuel2k8
ID: 35006723
It's the standard one included with the PowerEdge R710 (Broadcomm). I know the switch is an unmanaged Netgear unit (looking to upgrade soon) so it may have to wait until we upgrade the switch.
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Assisted Solution

by:snickered
snickered earned 200 total points
ID: 35006811
jar3817 is right, you won't need any performance gains.  However, since you do have multiple NICs you might as well use them.  Even with an unmanaged switch you can team a couple of the NICs to provide redundancy.  Have them in a failover configuration.  You'll need to download the Broadcom driver/utility to do so.  It really depends on the model of your NIC.  Have a look here: http://www.broadcom.com/support/ethernet_nic/downloaddrivers.php

Neilsr also had a good recommendation on virtualizing.  To give you an idea, the DC I have at my corporate headquarters is in a VM running with only 1GB of RAM and a 1.0Ghz virtual proc in Hyper-V.  It manages about 30 users.  
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Author Comment

by:robsamuel2k8
ID: 35007451
hi snickered,

Thanks for the comments, I'll look into teaming the NICs from a redundancy point of view.

Virtualisation is something that is on our roadmap but we've got a few internal projects to get out of the way first. Once we raise the budget for a SAN then I think we will look into implementing virtualisation towards the end of the year.
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Expert Comment

by:snickered
ID: 35007549
Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need a SAN to virtualize.  You can use local hard drives as well.  I'm guessing the server you have will be plenty for what you need.  Maybe add a couple hdd's and you're set.  When you go that route check out Hyper-V on Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise.  When you install the Enterprise edition you will have the licensing to deploy 4 virtual instances of Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise.  It's great bang for the buck!  This will also allow you spread out your network.  I.E.  Put WSUS on a server other than your domain controller.  Give it a shot on a fairly beefy workstation to get the hang of it: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx
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