When do benefits of NIC teaming occur?

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Aaron Ledger's picture
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Joined: 6 Aug 2010
When do benefits of NIC teaming occur?

I am building my WHS2011 up and have a spare Intel NIC in the closet I could team with my Intel DH67BL. If I am nowhere close to saturating Gigabit, is there any benefit to be gained in responsiveness (or anything else) by teaming?

I suppose I should also ask, what are the drawbacks to teaming, if any?

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mikinho's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2007

Depends on what type of teaming you do.  I don't recommend link aggregation (teaming) cards unless they are the same chipset though.  You can go for reliability or performance.  With teaming you'll have less overhead (CPU) per card and more throughput.

See http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/network/9195p/en/Intel_nic_teaming_10.pdf for a good whitepaper on teaming.  It is old but the core concepts are still valid.  It includes a table on performance.

I only have network cards team on my routers, file server and dev box.  On my HTPCs I don't and don't see the need for it.

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Joined: 6 Jul 2011

Benefits are only reflected when you have multiple simultaneous conversations with the server.  It doesn't increase the bandwidth for a single conversation, unless the single client has multiple NICs.

Note:  The router/switch has to be able to support the protocol as well.

Benefit:

• Does not change packet format
– No added headers or sequence numbers
– Type/Length interpretation unchanged
• Does not require added buffers
– No fragmentation or reassembly
• Does not re-order or mis-order packets
• Does not add significant latency
• Achieves high utilization (the more network connections, the better)

 

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Joined: 6 Jul 2011

I use it the same way.

mikinho's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2007

I just re-read your post.  Be weary w/ teaming on WHS.  WHS v1 and WHS 2011 both have issues with teamed adapters.  I haven't tested since first week of RTM but at the time teaming killed performance.  During RC it would BSOD it.  I don't know what is different in the network stack compared to 2008 R2 but something is.

Aaron Ledger's picture
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Joined: 6 Aug 2010

Thanks for letting me know that! I will definitely be running without teaming to start with and maybe play around with it once I have established a baseline performance.

Senior Editor | @swoon_

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