I wanted to increase throughput to our file server based on Windows Server 2012, as it was getting hit pretty hard at peak hours. Of course, that’s much easier now when Microsoft finally implemented built-in support for NIC teaming so I was very exited to try it out.
On the server side, everything can be done with few simple steps through GUI.
Just go to Server Manager and click on link beside NIC Teaming option or run LbfoAdmin.exe.
That will open up a NIC Teaming window, where you’ll see currently set up NIC teams and their statuses as well as adapters available for teaming.
Select available adapters, right click your selection and choose Add to New Team.
On the next screen, enter arbitrary name for the NIC team, select/deselect wanted adapters and open up Additional properties to fine tune your NIC team.
For Teaming mode, choose LACP, and for Load balancing method chooseAddress hash. Load balancing based on address hash seemed most reasonable for machine that was serving multiple users simultaneously.
Note that, although Switch Independent NIC teaming sounds cool because it can be used on any switch, even those cheap consumer grade, it has its limitations. It will load balance only server outbound traffic, all inbound traffic will come through one server interface. That may even be useful in some scenarios where you have a lot of outbound traffic like web servers.
On the Cisco switch, in our case Catalyst 3750G, set:
Load balancing mode based on address in global configuration mode:
port-channel load-balance src-dst-ip
Create an interface for you port channel group:
Add physical interfaces to port channel group in interface configuration mode with:
channel-group 1 mode active
and set channel protocol for them: