Windows Server 2019 – NIC Teaming

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Moving on to another network topic that is becoming more and more popular on server hardware, let’s walk through the steps to create NIC Teaming. The ability to team NICs together essentially consists of binding two or more physical network interfaces together, so that they behave as if they were a single network interface within Windows. This allows you to plug in two physical cables to two different switch ports, all using the same settings. That way, if one NIC port or switch port or patch cable goes bad, the server continues working and communicating without hesitation, because the teaming allows the NIC that is still working to handle the network traffic.

NIC Teaming itself is nothing new, it has been around for 10 years or more inside the Windows Server operating system. However, early versions were problematic, and in the field, I find that Server 2016 is the earliest server operating system most IT personnel consider to be stable enough to use NIC Teaming in production. So based on that, it is still relatively new to the wild.

To begin teaming together your NICs, you need to make sure that you have multiple network cards on your server. I currently have four NIC ports on this machine. I have plans to create two teams: my first and second NICs will bind together to become an Internal Network Team, and my third and fourth NICs will become a DMZ Network Team. This way, I have network card redundancy on both sides of my network flow on this server.

The first thing I want to do is clear out any IP addressing settings that might exist on my NICs. You see, once you tie together multiple NICs into a team, you will configure IP addressing settings on the teamyou will no longer dive into individual NIC properties in order to assign IP addresses. So open up the properties of each NIC, and make sure they are clear of static IP information, like so:

Now open up Server Manager, and click on Local Server. Looking inside the Properties information for your server, you will see listings for each of your NICs, as well as an option called NIC Teaming, which is currently set to Disabled:

Go ahead and click on the word Disabled, and now look for a section entitled Teams. Click on the Tasks button, and choose to create a New Team.

Give your new team an appropriate name, and select the NICs that you want to be part of this team. Once finished, you can walk through the same steps as many times as you need in order to create additional teams with your remaining NICs:

Once finished, you will see your teams listed inside Server Manager, and if you open up the Network Connections screen inside Windows, you can see that, in addition to the four physical NICs, I now have two new entries listed here, which are the configuration locations for our new teams. From here I can right-click on each of my network teams, and configure IP addressing information just like I would have done on a single NIC. IPs input into the team properties will be in effect on all NICs that are part of the team:

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