none
NIC Teaming RRS feed

  • Question

  • To advance the discussion on multiple NICs, Load Balancing, and Teaming.

    My GB NIC died. My decision is to spend $15 to $60 on a replacement GB NIC or shell out $190 for an Intel 4-port GB NIC. Motherboard (P4D, 4GB DDR2, SATA3 HDDs) has a PCI, a PCI-X1, and a PCI-x16 slot available. I have a GB Router that supports jumbo frames and a mix of Cat 6/5e cable. My desire is to increase my internal networks bandwidth.

    Has anyone gotten Teaming to work and noticed any real gain?
    Sunday, February 14, 2010 4:48 PM

Answers

  • I've been using WinHS since it was released. Recently, two Intel EXPI9400PT PCI-E Server NICs were teamed in my home-built machine, in search of faster network transfers. I'm running the fully-updated version of WinHS, and storage is a mix of Western Digital Caviar HDDs with a total capacity of 5.6 tB. Processor is dual-core, RAM = 2 gB.

    Result: Transfer of a large video (24 gB .m2ts) file over the gigabit/Cat 6 network starts out at 90-100 mB/sec! But after about 30 seconds ofbe-still-my-beating-heart, the data rate rapidly drops off to 45 mB/sec and is sustained. Apparently, whatever memory cache resources are in use quickly become saturated. Before adding the teamed NICs, transfers were around 25-30 mB/sec.

    I found this thread while wondering if there might be a solution to the bottleneck.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:46 PM

All replies

  • You may be able to configure teaming; it will depend on drivers etc. and of course it technically will not be "supported". There's a caveat, though. In order to increase overall bandwidth, teaming has to be supported throughout your network. So switches, routers, all clients, etc. have to fully support it. Otherwise, you'll see somewhat greater throughput at the server, but no change elsewhere on your network. Mostly what you will get from teaming in a typical home network is "fault tolerance"; if you lose a network port on your NIC, you have another (or three more, in the case of the card you're considering) to fall back on.

    I consider fault tolerance to be a very poor reason to want to use teaming at home, as you can buy a lot of $15 NICs for the same price and typically you can afford to have the server be down for a few hours (or even days) while you deal with replacing the NIC. :)
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, February 14, 2010 5:13 PM
    Moderator
  • I haven't tried this myself, but my question is will you actually gain that much speed? Wouldn't this be very limited by the maximum buffer-to-disk transfer rate o your drives?
    Sunday, February 14, 2010 5:17 PM
  • I would say the network speed limit is constrained by the HDD once files size exceeds the RAM capacity; for 7200 rpm drives this is about 70MB/s.  Higher speeds from faster drives or RAM-cached transfers could be achieved on PCIe NIC's but not PCI whichh is limited to about 60-70 MB/s.  In any case, 100 MB/s is difficult to sustain and that's within a single gigabit NIC's capability.
    Monday, February 15, 2010 7:13 PM
  • I've been using WinHS since it was released. Recently, two Intel EXPI9400PT PCI-E Server NICs were teamed in my home-built machine, in search of faster network transfers. I'm running the fully-updated version of WinHS, and storage is a mix of Western Digital Caviar HDDs with a total capacity of 5.6 tB. Processor is dual-core, RAM = 2 gB.

    Result: Transfer of a large video (24 gB .m2ts) file over the gigabit/Cat 6 network starts out at 90-100 mB/sec! But after about 30 seconds ofbe-still-my-beating-heart, the data rate rapidly drops off to 45 mB/sec and is sustained. Apparently, whatever memory cache resources are in use quickly become saturated. Before adding the teamed NICs, transfers were around 25-30 mB/sec.

    I found this thread while wondering if there might be a solution to the bottleneck.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:46 PM
  • Thank you.

     

    So you did experience significant improvement with teaming. I wonder if an additional teamed adapter(s) would change the equation? BTW, what version of Intel software/drivers were you using?

     

    To answer your question, my guess would be more system RAM or possibly a faster chipset.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 4:35 PM
  • Going from approximately 30 mB/sec to 45 mB/sec for "large" files is a 50% increase, and fairly significant IMO. However, those NIC cards are almost $100 each; whether it's worth it or not depends on intended use and available resources.

    Adding additional NICs probably wouldn't help in this case, unless your chipset/RAM suggestion could open up the bottleneck.

    NIC drivers used are the newest available from Intel.

    Today I'm going to change the teaming type to SLA from IEEE 802.3ad DLA, because my switches don't fully support the latter. Also, a testbed server running linux-based OpenFiler, which supports NIC bonding, is almost ready and should allow an OpenFiler v. WinHS comparison of sorts. Both machines have similar hardware except for the NICs.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 5:51 PM
  • I am very much interested in your results. Thanks again.
    Thursday, April 15, 2010 6:00 PM