Guide: NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2012

     

Network Adapter Teaming or NIC teaming is a brand new inbuilt feature available in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Operating System. The concept of NIC teaming is also called as NIC Bonding. By doing Network teaming, you can combine multiple network adapters to achieve fault tolerance, load balancing and performance. Microsoft included NIC teaming capability in Windows Server 2012 and I will show you how to team network adapters in Windows 2012.

HP NCU for Proliant Server

You will team NICs to achieve fault tolerance or for performance. You can combine two 1 Gbps NIC card to get a combined output of  2 Gbps. Alternatively, you can set standby network adapters (NIC) to handle failover incase one of your Network Adapter or switch fails. A network team can contain Network Adapters (NICs) from different vendors/manufactures.

Let us start!

How to team Network Adapters in Windows 2012:

1. From Windows 2012 Desktop, open the Server Manager from the task bar.

Network Teaming in Windows 2012 Operating System

2. Now Windows Server Manager will open in your Server.

Server Manager in Windows 2012 Operating System

3. Click on Local Server as shown below.

Open Local Server from Windows 2012 Server Manager

4. Here two NICs are available with name Ethernet and Ethernet 2 (check screenshot).
5. By Default, NIC Teaming is disabled, click Disabled to open Network Teaming window.

HP Local Server Network Teaming

6. This will open NIC teaming Window as shown below.
7. Under Adapter and Interfaces, you will find both Network Adapters listed (check screenshot)

Adapters and Interfaces window of Windows 2012 NIC Teaming

8.  There is NO Teaming configured. Let us configure the Teaming with the two available NICs.
9.  Click the TASKS dropdown button and select New Team (check screenshot).

Team Task Create New Team in Windows 2012

10. The NIC Teaming dialogue box will appear on your screen
11. Give a name to the new Team, here I chose Team#1.
12. Select the Member Adapters which you wanted to be in the team.

Note: You can select two or more NICs  in the same team. As I have only 2 NICs listed, I will select both Ethernet adapters as shown below. You may also create multiple teams in one Server.

Network Team Properties in Windows 2012

13. Now you can specify additional properties of NIC teaming by clicking Additional Properties.

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14. Select Switch Independent for Teaming mode (shown below)

HP NIC Teaming in Windows 2012 Server

Note: Teaming mode can be Switch Independent, Switch teaming or LACP. When you select the Switch Independent mode, your network switches are not aware that we have created a network team in your HP Server. Entire management of Network team is handled exclusively by the Server itself. This is the easiest and the default NIC team we can create, moreover this NIC Team will work with most of the Network Switches. The option Switch independent gives most flexibility for us.

Static teaming will require some switch configuration. If you wish to have more information about Switch Independent mode and Static teaming, then I would recommend you to read these Microsoft TechNet articles ( Click: Article 1 Article 2). Here, I will go ahead and select Switch Independent Mode because it is the easiest to do :)

15. Select Address Hash for Load balancing mode as shown below.

HP Address Hash in Windows 2012 Network team

Note: If you are using Hyper-V (Virtualization) on your Server, then you may go ahead and use Hyper-V Port option on your Server. To learn more about this option, please refer the section titled “Traffic distribution algorithms” in this Microsoft TechNet article.

16. Select the the option None (all adapters Active) for Standby adapter.

Windows 2012 Standby Adaper SettingsNote: When you select None (all adapters Active) option as shown above, you basically enable active/active mode. In this mode,  all NICs are functioning at the same time so we will have have much greater bandwidth. If you select Ethernet or Ethernet 2 (check above screenshot), you basically enable active/standby mode. In this mode, network traffic is on one team member until a failure occurs.

17. Now click the OK button to create the Network Team.

Network team teaming mode load balancing mode in Windows 2012

18. Please wait while the new Network Team is created.
19. Now under TEAMS, you will find Team Team# 1 created and status is OK.

NIC Team created on HP proliant Server

20. Under Adapters and Interfaces, Click the “Team Interfaces” tab

Team Interfaces tab window for Network teaming

21. Now you can check the description and connection details of your Team here.
22. To find more information, double-click on the Team you have created.

Adapters and Interfaces window for Network teaming

23. Network Adapter properties of your NIC Teaming will open now.
24. If you use VLAN in your network, then you can assign the VLAN ID here. Then click OK.

Network Adapter Team Properties VLAN ID in Windows 2012 OS

Note: When you check the screenshot provided above, you can find the MAC address (Permanent address) of Network Team. Do you know how the MAC of the network Team determined?. Ideally, the Team will use the MAC address of the primary Network Adapter in the Team.

Who is the Primary Network Adapter in Windows? The teamed NIC will pick up the MAC address of whichever physical NIC port reports to the Windows OS first at each reboot. So Primary NIC may be randomized after each reboot and the MAC address of Team may change after each reboot. I would recommend using static IP for the Team here because configuring DHCP reservations may not work if MAC address of Team changes after each reboot.

How to set an IP address for the TEAM:

You may go ahead and assign a static IP for the Network team you have just created. In this section, I will explain how to assign an IP address to the network Team. To perform this action, open the Server Manager in Windows 2012.

1. From Windows Server Manager, click on Local Server.
2. Now, click on IPv4 address assigned by DHCP (next to NIC Team) link as shown below.

Assign Static IP address for Network Team

3. It will open Network Connection window on your Server.
4. Now you will find a new virtual network card listed in Network Connection window.
5. Here the name of the Network card is Team #1 (Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexer Driver).
6. Right-Click on the new Team NIC (Team# 1) and select Properties.

Network Connection window in Windows 2012 OS

7. Now the Team# 1 Properties window will open in your Server.
8. Select Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.

Network Team properties to assign Static IP

9. Select the option Use the following IP address (check screenshot provided below)
10. Now assign a static IP address and Subnet mask of your choice.

Static IP address assigned for Network Team

11. Congrats, Now you have successfully configured the teaming and assigned the IP address :)


Most part of this lengthy article is written by my friend Ramesh Kumar. I added more information and published here. I would like to thank Ramesh for his contribution. If you wish to connect with him, please check his Facebook profile. Thank you for reading :) :)

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Founder and Owner of Tricks Guide. SiRu is a Server Support Specialist, Tech Blogger and a Typical Family Man. If you’d like to connect with him, follow him on Twitter | Facebook | Google+

8 Responses to “Guide: NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2012”

  1. vijay says:

    Very informative.

  2. Sapna Rai says:

    I am grateful for what you have done for us.

  3. Samiuddin says:

    Great Sharing of your knowledge, keep up the good work.

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