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Noob. Should I use other 3 nics on my Dell R610?

Posted on 2011-10-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I just setup a Dell R610. It has raid1 for the OS and a 5 drive raid5 for the file server.

It's a DC and DNS server on Windows 2008 AD. There's also another DC server on the LAN. We are a small office of 40 users.

We are using unmanaged switches. I do  have a managed switch but I didn't set it up yet.

Currently, the R610 is using one nic out of the four. I was wondering if there are practical benefits to using any of the other nics. If so, do you have steps I can follow? I'm a noob, so please elaborate.

Thank you,
Question by:NVIT

Assisted Solution

junior15 earned 180 total points
ID: 36944992
If you are only using it at a DC and DNS server, then there is no need to use the additional NICs (it sounds like you have a lot of hardware there for a simple DC server). If you plan on doing more with it that could be network intensive (highly used file server or something), you may want to use one (or more) of the other NICs for that just to spread out the load a bit. The only reason I can think of to use any additional NICs would be for network redundancy. You could plug the second NIC into a different switch than the first NIC so that if one switch/port/cable went bad, you wouldn't lose network connectivity. Since you have an additional DC on the LAN and nothing else on your LAN has redundant network connections (I'm assuming they don't), then I can't see a reason to use them.

Hope this helps.

Assisted Solution

ErikCamacho earned 360 total points
ID: 36945243
Depends on the nature of your business... if you plan on turning this server into a file server and need the ability to transfer large fiiles such as video, code, mechanical engineering drawings, etc you may want to enable an additional nic for nic teaming to enable more through put. or you may consider some virtulization and you can assign a seperate IP to dedicate to Hyper-V

To do so go to the properties of your active nic / cofigure / nic teaming / chose a nic and plug it in to your network.
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

uescomp earned 180 total points
ID: 36945312
Sounds like the server came prepared to have vmware/hyper-v installed for nic teaming and setting up a virtual environment.  You could however setup link aggregation for faster upload/download, otherwise you dont really need the extra.
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

SuperTaco earned 180 total points
ID: 36945468
I wouldn't dual hone a DC.  it leads to bad things, especially with DNS. if it's not an SBS you can team or aggreaget teh NICS, but I tend to stay away form that on DC's

Assisted Solution

kiwistag earned 180 total points
ID: 36945738
Some of the best ways to use multiple NIC's is with Teaming. Some drivers allow you to team (i.e. HP's NIC's use a Team manager and you can use load balancing/round robin or 802.1ad). If you are lucky enough to have NIC's that allow driver teaming it makes it easier. It won't double your throughput (i.e. 1Gb + 1Gb != 2Gb) but it means that it can split/combine traffic to allow faster throughput.
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

charlestasse earned 184 total points
ID: 36946066
If you have not already, install the Broadcom Advanced Control Suite, including the BASP component and setup NIC teaming with load balance and failover, that way if one NIC port or cable fails, you keep on trucking.

Broadcom network driver full package 16.2.1, A02, released 6/14/11, urgent if yours is less than 10.18.06 or VBD version 3.0.9. This tool will extract files only and you'll then need to manually run the Setup.exe file from “C:\Broadcom\W2K3_8\Driver_Management_Apps_Installer\”,

for Server2003/2008 32bit: http://ftp.dell.com/network/Bcom_LAN_16.2.1_W2K3_8_A02.exe 

For 64bit and 2008 R2 you must use this one, 23.7mb: http://ftp.us.dell.com/network/Bcom_LAN_16.2.1_W2K3_8_64_A02.exe 
LVL 42

Assisted Solution

kevinhsieh earned 184 total points
ID: 36946362
No. NIC teaming, NIC failover, and other advanced features are much more likely to cause you grief than be of any benefit. They can cause issues if setup improperly, such as spanning tree loops on the network. Keep your server simple and it will run much better.

Assisted Solution

sifuedition earned 184 total points
ID: 36948934
I agree with kevinhsieh on this. Only use as much complexity as you need. Unless you have anything unusal going on, like CAD or animation going on, then with only 40 people, I doubt you ever really tax the throughput that a single nic provides. All those other options are unnecessary. While failover SOUNDS nice, in practice I have not seen Broadcom failover work well enough to justify the issues setting it up.
LVL 26

Author Comment

ID: 36951010
@sifuedition, @ErikCamacho

We're an engineering shop. Our older PE2900, 2003 server hosts AutoCAD .dwg files, which we have worked with on a daily basis. The .dwg files avg 2 MB each.

That server has a 2nd nic, but I've never used it. Thus, I don't know of and haven't appreciated any potential/possible benefit from it, although everything seems fine performance-wise *crossing fingers*.

Assisted Solution

ErikCamacho earned 360 total points
ID: 36951160
If your performance is meeting or exceeding your expectations  I would not chaneg anything for on the grounds of stability. A previous company of mine used Solidworks which had very large assemblies.
LVL 39

Assisted Solution

ChiefIT earned 184 total points
ID: 36951725
I agree with Kevenish:

There are a lot of problems associated With managed switches, nic teaming, load balancing or failover nics. Keep it simple.

The R710's from Dell have four motherboard integrated nics. They are set up as two pairs. NIC 1 and 2 are conjoined, with the same MAC, and can have problems with Multicast on managed switches. As well, NICs 3 and 4 are conjoined nics.

I argued with my boss on this, and told him not to buy these servers for that very reason. You see, some important services bind to one nic. Netbios (which is used for the Netlogon, file and printer shares and RPC locator services) binds to one nic. Since both conjoined nics have the same MAC, then it's ok if your managed switches support it.

You have to be familiar with Unicast and Multicast when putting two nics on the same computer on a managed switch network:


Assisted Solution

lords1979 earned 184 total points
ID: 36958500
If you require high availability, or heavy network load, teaming is good.  Make sure to enable LACP on the switch ports being used for these 4 connections in the managed switch.  Setup correctly, you can have load balancing and redundancy with teaming.

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