I am looking for some clear instructions (a blog or something similar) on how one would go about setting up a dual network adapter in such a way so that:

  • One network adapter is used for user traffic.
  • Another network adapter is used for SQL Server traffic.

The network adapter brand does not matter. I just want to get a feel of how it is done. This is for a SharePoint farm.


Usually you setup two subnets/networks/vlans. The client and servers will resolve any network addresses used to an IP on the network reserved for that purpose.

  • I understand the concept and the big picture. I am looking more for a walk-through, may be on a blog site. – H A Oct 5 '12 at 18:25
  • I don't understand what part you are confused about. It is basic networking. You come up with a subnet that is different then your primary network, and then you assign IP addresses. If you want you also create a VLAN, but the details on doing that are heavily tied to exactly what switch you are using. – Zoredache Oct 5 '12 at 18:44
  • I was looking for some visual configuration of the NIC, but it is clear to me now. The SQL Server has to be placed in a subset. The users placed in a primary network. Then in the WFE server, in the NIC configuration, set one NIC to the subnet ip the other NIC to the primary network ip. I assume the WFE will automatically determine which NIC to use based on the request and the IP the NIC is assigned to. – H A Oct 5 '12 at 19:09

"Your doing it wrong" or more to the point "You're asking the wrong question".

In SharePoint (2010?) world, I've never seen a case where you need a 2nd NIC on a front-end box. SharePoint is designed to scale out (more virtual machines) when you hit hardware limits (e.g. full NIC).

Assuming you have 1GB NIC's, I've never seen a SharePoint farm peak the NIC before it peaks CPU's and other resources. Maybe you should look at your design and ask "why am I wanting to do dual NIC's?". Is it performance of SharePoint? If so, have you enabled the various levels of cache in SP and IIS? Often I see WFE and SQL disks as being the speed limiter. I've never seen the "only" problem be a WFE NIC.

In order of "most often seen" SharePoint performance issues:

  1. Not enabling caching
  2. SQL disk latency high
  3. FWE disk latency or cpu's too high
  4. Lots of other random issues like "to much content on page"
  5. way way down on list: Network saturation

This answer assumes the "why" you ask your question is performance, but since you didn't give us that vital info, I had to guess :)

  • As you may already know the business requirements and the scale of the SP deployment (mostly the content size) is unique to an organization. I suggest you read the following MS best practices of of using dual NICs and dedicating NICs to user traffic and DB traffic. (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc850692.aspx). – H A Oct 5 '12 at 18:14
  • Also, having enough memory, cpu, gigabit nics, BLOB Caching, using RAID 10, using 15K/SSD drives, having content DB under 200 GB, and so on... are all important. Do not get me wrong. – H A Oct 5 '12 at 18:43
  • Good find in technet. I've never read or seen that design recommendation for front-end. I've built farms for 7k users that didn't need that level of network scaling, so yes your requirements must be quite unique. – Bret Fisher Oct 5 '12 at 22:43

You want to have two NICs to prevent clogging up the NLB. I have seen this happen especially during the search crawl. So one NIC should be used for the WFE to talk to SQL and should be on a separate VLAN that does not go through the NLB. The other NIC goes through the NLB and is how users access the WFE.

  • But this could still be achieved by teaming the NIC cards and using something like VLAN tagging, no need to dedicate a physical port. – Nick Young Jul 15 '16 at 16:29

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