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Multiple NICS in a File Server? Why?

Posted on 2014-04-24
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Last Modified: 2014-04-29
Why would a server have three NICS?  Or even two for that matter?  How are they configured so as to avoid redundant reuqests?
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Question by:brothertruffle880
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Red-King earned 800 total points
ID: 40020381
There are many reasons to do this. You may have the NICs with different IPs, in different networks which otherwise cannot talk to each other.
Another example is to increase the bandwidth available to the server by 'Teaming' the NICs. Teaming can also require specific configuration on the switch (look up "LACP - Link Aggregation Control Protocol" if you're interested). When you team three 1Gbs NICs you end up with a 3Gbs NIC in the OS.
Teaming is probably the most common reason and has been added as native functionality in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Rory
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by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 400 total points
ID: 40020453
An extension of the "teaming" concept is if you're running an OS like ESXi from VMware in order to make the server a host for virtual machines. All the VM's on the host share the bandwidth presented to it so in that case having more than one NIC makes the throughput on the VM's faster. There's a point of diminishing returns and more isn't necessarily better, but having 2-4 NICS on any given virtual network does give you more headroom to keep the VM's communicating at proper speeds.
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by:CarlosDominguez
CarlosDominguez earned 400 total points
ID: 40020456
The summary is: 1) teaming-aggregating-LACP (adding the bandwith of the NICs) and 2) setting different TCP/IP subnets so the server is accessible from both networks.

The very detailed explanation of options:
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
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by:Red-King
Red-King earned 800 total points
ID: 40020465
On the teaming point, this also provides redundancy.
You apply the IP configuration to the Teamed interface in the OS. As a result, if one of the NICs fail the link stays up but with reduced capacity.
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by:Monis Monther
Monis Monther earned 400 total points
ID: 40020865
You may also use the server as firewall or Router. This is a typical scenario if you have a Linux box acting as your Firewall/Router. Each Interface represents a different Network.
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by:brothertruffle880
ID: 40029917
Thank you all.  This was quite a revelation.
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