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?)

  • Is your SWITCH capable of handling a performance teaming? THere are tradoffs in both directions...
    – TomTom
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 13:47
  • The idea is about Windows 2012 NIC teaming - switch independend.
    – Bororo
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


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.
  • 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
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 13:57
  • 1
    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
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 14:03
  • 1
    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
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 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. Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 14:16
  • I do not understand your comments . Is it Microsoft way to not use standard technologies which are in the market since years because you have opinion they are complicated?
    – kakaz
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:26

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.

  • For the server, teaming is the only option. If your platform has a lot of interfaces you should use them, ideally in connection with switch stacking.
    – kakaz
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:29
  • Yes and no. OTOH you loose significant performance IN Hyper-V. In 2017 I wuld say "dump your crapware, get a nice 10G". Especially with high traffic, SRV-IO and hardware queues make a difference. Happily serving 6 gigabit from a virtual machine here.
    – TomTom
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:49
  • Well, if product you use in connection in hardware platform is purely designed and has some issues with handling standard server/network protocol, as a good engineer your duty is to recommend changing of the software platform. Or you may recommend to use hardware platform which is adequate to software tool you recommend: why invest in server platform if hyper-v can effectively only run on desktop model?
    – kakaz
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:55
  • Are you real? On drugs? How is running on an efficient server platform "only un desktop model"? Your statement makes zero sense.
    – TomTom
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 7:21

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