Summary

Network Teaming is one of important part in infrastructure when we need High Availability in networking. NIC Teaming allows you to group between 1 to 32 physical Ethernet network adapters into one or more software-based virtual network adapters. These virtual network adapters provide fast performance and fault tolerance in the event of a network adapter failure. NIC Team member network adapters must all be installed in the same physical host computer to be placed in a team. In Cisco language its called Port-Channel, in Linux language its called Network Bonding and in Microsoft language we call it NIC Teaming.

Most of the administrator face the issue in configuring NIC Teaming at the other side which is Cisco switch. In this article, we will address both side configuration involved in setting up NIC Teaming.

Steps

First, we need to have a look at the NIC of the VM or a physical server if it is a physical Server.

We have two NICs on Windows Server 2016. You can rename them as you like.

Go to Server Manager and click Local Server, and click Disabled. By default NIC Teaming is disabled when you install your operating system.

Click TASKS and click New Team

Here we need to provide any Name of the Team as per your environment and select both NIC cards.

The Teaming mode will be LACP because we will configure LACP at Cisco Switch side as well, so both sides should have the same Teaming mode.

LACP Mode

LACP stands for Link Aggregation Control Protocol and essentially it is the more dynamic version of switch dependent teaming means that with if you configure the switch rather than individual ports. Once the switch is configured it becomes aware about your network team and handles dynamic negotiation of the ports. Also called dynamic teaming and based on IEEE 802.1ax, this mode is supported by most enterprise-class switches and allows automatic creation of a team using the Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP), which dynamically identifies links between the server and a specific switch. To use this mode, you generally need to enable LACP manually on the port of the switch.

Address Hash Mode

It uses attributes of network traffic (IP address, port and MAC address) to determine to which specific NIC traffic should be sent.

You can see the status of NIC Team up and running, for this configuration we have both NIC in active/active mode. You can add more NIC to the Team as per your need and requirement of the scenario.

We can analyze NIC Team statistics sent/received packets.

In network properties, we can see the NIC Team icon and its speed showing as 2.0 Gbps, as we have combined both NIC having 1 GB each through NIC Teaming.

Cisco Switch Port-Channel  Configuration

At this point we have complete the configuration involved in NIC Teaming, this is time to configure the Cisco Switch side so that both sides can be synchronized. If you have Switch access, you should know about the connected ports of your Server so that you can configure the same LACP port-channel in switch side.

This Server NIC 0 is connected with Switch port 1/0/18 and NIC 1 is connected with Switch port 2/0/18, In this environment, we have two switches configured as a stack so we have to use one port from each switch to make a port channel. This design will also provide us Switch level redundancy.

After login into the Switch simply paste these commands in a switch and save the configuration. You can check the status after a while at Server side it will be synchronized.

Core-SW#conf t 
Core-SW(config)#interface port-channel 18
Core-SW(config)#interface gigabitEthernet 1/0/18 
Core-SW(config-if)#channel-group 18 mode passive
Core-SW(config)#interface gigabitEthernet 2/0/18
Core-SW(config-if)#channel-group 18 mode passive

Save the configuration and exit.

Conclusion

As we have configured NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2016 and other side switch configuration required for the port-channel. We have aggregated the ports as both ports active, you can configure active/standby as well you want failover between the ports. 

References