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Proper Method to configure NIC Teaming to agregate bandwidth

Posted on 2016-08-11
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
Server OS - Windows 2012 R2 Standard
Switch - HP Procurve 1910-24G

I have read a lot of posts (most of them old) regarding this issue.  I am coming late to the game.  I presently have a Dell PE-T620 server running Windows 2012 R2 Standard.  It has two dual-port NICs.  One is the onboard Intel Gigabit 2P I350t.  The other is a Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet dual port.  I have all 4 NICs bound in a Single NIC Team and have performed no configuration on the switch.

I am reading older posts that say it is absolutely a bad idea to have different manufacturer's NICs in the same team.  I have also read where no switch configuration is needed, and also where the LACP should be configured on the switch.  There seems to be so many different directions and opinions.

This particular server has been running solid with this configuration for almost 2 years.  The only reason I am exploring this is that users are starting to see some performance issues.  The server runs a document management system (Worldox) for a law firm.  When a user selects a document to open, there is a 4-8 second delay before the document is retrieved.  I am beginning to wonder if this is due to a bad NIC teaming configuration on the server.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Question by:tcampbell_nc
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Cliff Galiher earned 2000 total points
ID: 41752990
2012 and 2012 R2 added "in-box" teaming that no longer requires 3rd-party software. As such, it also works well across multiple manufacturers. But if you used a manufacturer's utility instead of the Microsoft solution, then yes, mixing brands is still bad.   Mixing *SPEEDS* is always bad.

Whether you use LACP or not depends on a lot of factors. Workload matters. Switch support matters (some switches, particularly cheaper "smart" switches, don't do LACP well and are slower than if you just left it off), and a few other things as well. There is no "right" answer...there is only what is right for you.  With SMB-Multichannel, LACP is almost never needed with normal file servers and newer OSes. But with a heavy SQL app, you may benefit from LACP or similar load balancing at the switch level.  

Regardless, if you used the MS teaming, you shouldn't be seeing significant file-open delays unless your network (or switch or similar) is just saturated or if your disk I/O is saturated. It isn't because of a "bad" configuration.

Don't guess. Use performance monitors (on the server and preferably on all switches in the path) to determine where the bottleneck exists.
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by:tcampbell_nc
ID: 41753102
Very well said.  There are so many paths to NIC Teaming as the technology evolved, that googling for information can leave a person confused.  I am using the Microsoft NIC Teaming (not a third party).  The HP switch does support LACP, but I do not have it configured.  I have observed good traffic flow on each of the team member NICs with no errors on any.  I suspect that we are overloading the DB manager (not SQL - Worldox uses CTree).  But before I started down that rabbit hole, I wanted to be sure that there was nothing else I needed to do for the NIC Teaming.  Thanks
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