Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Intel NIC Teaming on Server 2008R2

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In this post we're going to go through the process of configuring NIC Teaming on Server 2008R2, and I'm sure the process works the same on earlier versions of Windows Server as well.  Server 2012 and up have native support for NIC teaming that is independent of the drivers, so thankfully it's no longer necessary to set this up vendor by vendor.

While Windows Server does include a wide array of Ethernet drivers out of the box, we’ll need to grab the latest driver and utility bundle directly from the Intel website.  The drivers that were available from Microsoft as of the time I did this did not support teaming.  Go to the Intel website and search for the appropriate drivers for your sever.

Now double click on the executable and install the drivers. Once installed, we have a number of additional features available. Note the before and after shots of the hardware properties.

Now we’re ready to team the NICs.  This step will create a small period of downtime for the server, so make sure you’re performing these steps in an approved maintenance window.  Note that you will also lose connectivity at one point, so make sure a remote desktop session is not you only means of access to this server.
First, open the control panel on the server. Then Open the device manager in the control panel. Finally, hit the tick mark next to Network Adapters to show the servers NICs.

Double click on either of the NICs here. This brings up the properties for the device as follows.

Now click on the Teaming tab.

Check the box next to “Team this adapter with other adapters” and then click the box labeled “New Team…” that is no longer greyed out. The “New Team Wizard” now begins.

The name of the team is not important, pick whatever you like or take the default. Click next. In the next box, check the box next to all available NIC’s that you want to team, then click next. In the Select a team type, select the appropriate type of teaming depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with this team. Click finish to exit the wizard. Now here is the point where you’ll lose connectivity because IPV4 (and it’s settings such as IP address) is pulled off of each individual NIC.

Open the Network Connections box in windows. Note that now you have a third interface that is called “TEAM: Team #0” or what you selected as the team name during the New Team Wizard.

Double click on the team and apply the appropriate addressing.

You can test the functionality of the team by starting a constant ping to an address (ping –t and then pull one Ethernet cable, replace it, then pull the other Ethernet cable. During my testing, I lost a single ping during this entire testing process.



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