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I would like to ask you guys for help/hint/recommendation regarding 4-port NIC configuration prior to installing Hyper-V role on my HP DL380 server.

I have 2 boxes on the network:

  1. DC: Server 2012 Standard (AD,DNS,DHCP)
  2. Hyper-V host Server 2012 Standard (DL380), joined to the domain.

This Hyper-V host has 4-port NIC. My goal is to host 2 virtual machines: another domain controller and Exchange 2013 Standard for 40 users. All files related to virtual machines will be stored on RAID5 local drive, there is no iSCSI SAN nor DAS, therefore I believe I don't need to use NICs for iSCSI. I'm also not sure of using NIC for Live Migration etc. as this should remain standalone Hyper-V server (no cluster).

What is your recommendation for using 4 NICs (4x1 Gb ports) with Hyper-V STANDALONE server (not cluster) ?

Should I take in consideration NIC Teaming? (better performance?)

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Is your SWITCH capable of handling a performance teaming? THere are tradoffs in both directions... – TomTom Aug 19 '13 at 13:47
The idea is about Windows 2012 NIC teaming - switch independend. – Bororo Aug 19 '13 at 13:52
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Usually on a Hyper-V server extra NICs are used for:

  • Live migration (often gets its own LAN, since it will have extremely heavy traffic when migrating)
  • Cluster communications (again, own LAN so nothing else interferres or causes high latency)
  • Storage network, if using iSCSI
  • Management network, if you have a seperate management network
  • The host system
  • Dedicated to specific VMs

Since you don't intend to run a cluster, I would setup

  • One port dedicated to the host OS, so anything that breaks in the VMs shouldn't interfere with you accessing the host
  • Two ports in a team for the VMs, either load balancing or active/standby, depending on card and switch support. Active/standby doesn't help increase capacity, but saves you if a port on the NIC or switch dies, or a cable breaks. It may also let you have redundant switches
  • One port left unused. If one of your VMs turns out to need more network performance, you have the option of dedicating this port to that VM later on.
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Thank you for recommendations. It looks reasonable, even I don't like the idea left one port unused. Can I used that unused port for teaming with Host NIC or it's better to make this port dedicated to Exchange 2013 virtual machine? – Bororo Aug 19 '13 at 13:57
I wouldn't recommend teaming the host NIC - you want that left as simple as possible so if teaming breaks altogether you can still get in and fix it. You could dedicate it to exchange, or add it to the VM team, but I would still leave it unused - it gives you the ability to add something later without the downtime of reconfiguring the NICs. You may need that if you want to add some iSCSI storage, or to setup a test VM connected to a different LAN. – Grant Aug 19 '13 at 14:03
Just because the NIC has four ports doesn't mean that you have to use all four ports. Don't "invent" a use for all four ports. Use one port for the host and another port for the virtual machines. If you don't need to use the other two ports then don't use them. Your architecture may change in the future and you may need those two ports down the road. – joeqwerty Aug 19 '13 at 14:11
As joeqerty said don't add complexity for no reason. Personally I'd use 2 NICs for the VM's and one for the host (managment). Eventually you may want the 4th NIC for iSCSI connection etc. – TheFiddlerWins Aug 19 '13 at 14:16

I Would probably just set up a team. As simple as it is - use NIC teaming. You don't really have that much of a performance issue - before the network gets a problem.

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