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I have Windows Server 2008 running on Dell PowerEdge 1425 SC. The unit has two NICs and I want to use them in a clustered mode for maximum efficiency (throughput) to avoid bottlenecks.

Do I need to use third party tools or does windows have any built-in tools to achieve this?

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4 Answers 4

If your switch and NICs support it, you can do bonding. What make/model is the switch and the NICs? If it's server-class hardware, most of those can do it, using their drivers. Read the documentation for the server NICs and your switch that it plugs into.

Have you performed any testing on your environment to determine if LAN throughput actually is at risk of being a bottleneck?

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The key point here being, the switch must support this form of bonding. Otherwise, you can't do it off a single IP. As an aside, it's reasonably uncommon to bond NICs for throughput. It's usually done for redundancy. The throughput benefit isn't NIC speed * number of NICs, becuase individual TCP connections still route through only a single NIC. –  Chris Thorpe Feb 5 '10 at 1:01
    
@ChrisThorpe That's false, ALB (Adaptive Load Balancing) doesn't require any special hardware. The downside is that ALB is assymetric (ie, only the outbound transfer rate is doubled). 802.3ad, Static Teaming, and LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) require hardware support so the ports can be grouped on the switch as an EtherChannel, but the load balancing is symmetrical. –  Evan Plaice Jun 26 at 22:10
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The important question here is: Does a bottleneck exist as a result of the current configuration? If not, then why are you trying to implement a solution for a problem that doesn't exist?

I'm not going to buy hurricane insurance if I live in Iowa.

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I am testing it out. Just to keep the tool handy for the road. :) –  Santosh Chandavaram Feb 5 '10 at 17:17
    
Gotcha. Thanks for clarifying. –  joeqwerty Feb 5 '10 at 19:51
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Here are the docs for Broadcom NICs: link text

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You might want to review this article on "Using the multiple NICs of your File Server running Windows Server 2008 (and 2008 R2)" at http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2010/09/03/using-the-multiple-nics-of-your-file-server-running-windows-server-2008-and-2008-r2.aspx

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