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Windows Server 2008r2 - NLB

Posted on 2013-01-31
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Hi...

I am setting up NLB between a physical server and a newly created VM - both are running Windows Server 2008r2.  

The physical servers have been in production for quite some time and are set up with NIC teaming; 4 teamed for the public traffic and 4 teamed for the iSCSI traffic.

The VM is setup with 2 NICs - 1 for public traffic and the other for the NLB heartbeat.

For the physical server: For many reasons, I do not want break these teams to free one up so it can be used/dedicated to the NLB heartbeat.   As a result, I was going to use the public teamed NICs for both types of traffic (public and heartbeat).  

Virtual Server:  These are setup with 2 seperate NICs.  I was going to use one for public traffic and one for the heartbeat.  

Does anyone see an issue with this?

Thank you.
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Question by:AMSOL
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Expert Comment

by:Rich Weissler
ID: 38847362
My vm experience has been with VMWare, so if you are using a different hypervisor, this might not apply.
The only 'gotcha' I've experienced with virtual servers in NLB, has been address suppression when using Unicast on the virtual nodes.  If you don't disallow multicasting, I'd definitely be included to use multicasting rather than unicasting.  If you have to unicast, you'll need a static arp address assignment for the NLB's MAC address.
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Expert Comment

by:Jian An Lim
ID: 38849959
you use VLAN then it should not be a problem

again looks like you are doing a clustering/microsoft exchange type.

It is Okay if you are doing those technologies.
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Author Comment

by:AMSOL
ID: 38901985
Hello,

Thank you for the reply.  Yes, we are using VMware.

So if I uderstand your reply, allowing all traffic (heartbeat and public) to flow on 1 NIC would not be an issue.  Is that correct?
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Rich Weissler earned 2000 total points
ID: 38902054
I assume you are referring to the virtual NICs on the server.  (Not directing traffic through an alternate interface on the host NICs.... usually done because of large data loads.  Heartbeat traffic is very, very tiny.)

With NLB, the heartbeats will flow over the same network as the public data, even if an alternate path is provided.  The only thing a second NIC would provide would be OTHER communication between nodes.  

To reiterate, however, if you use unicast packets, you'd definitely want to configure a static arp address for the cluster MAC address... and the nodes won't be able to otherwise communicate with each other.  (They'll be sharing a MAC address.)  In this case, you MIGHT want to provide the VMs with a second nic to a backend network for communication... if communication between vms is a requirement.
The better plan would be to use multicast packets.  (We ended up moving our 'default implementation' of load balance clusters to multicasting when we moved to VMWare specifically to avoid the five minute address suppression and static arp mapping.)
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