We have a two-node Windows Server 2008 R2 fail-over cluster that's hosting about a dozen instances of SQL Server. The nodes each have four network adapters in them (a pair of dual-port Broadcom gigabit cards).

The heartbeat network is handled by a crossover cable, but for the three remaining adapters on each server, should these ports be teamed? I would like the traffic to be balanced across these adapters instead of overloading one primary port, but not if teaming them will cause other problems. I can find plenty of advice that you should never team the heartbeat adapter, but there seems to be nothing definitive about teaming the public adapters.

Thanks for your help!


The official word from Microsoft is that on 2008/2008R2 clusters, teaming is completely supported (even for the heartbeat adapter). It used to be that teaming was not supported on the heartbeat network, and a lot of people seem to be carrying that bit of wisdom over to 2008. It is still highly recommended that before going production with any nic teaming, you test nic failures to ensure that it doesn't cause problems with your SQL cluster.


  • +1 Official recommendations are to use to teams, one for management/heartbeat and another for data. But many simply team all of them together. Make sure you check documentation for both the NICs and the Switches to be sure you have the correct configuration and test test test. – Chris S Dec 3 '10 at 20:37

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