You can use NIC teaming to increase the network bandwidth available in a network path, and to provide the redundancy that supports higher availability.

NIC teaming helps avoid a single point of failure and provides options for load balancing of traffic. To further reduce the risk of a single point of failure, build NIC teams by using ports from multiple NIC and motherboard interfaces.

Create a single virtual switch with teamed NICs across separate physical switches.

This VMware Validated Design uses an active-active configuration using the route that is based on physical NIC load algorithm for teaming. In this configuration, idle network cards do not wait for a failure to occur, and they aggregate bandwidth.

Benefits and Overview

NIC teaming helps avoid a single point of failure and provides options for load balancing of traffic. To further reduce the risk of a single point of failure, build NIC teams by using ports from multiple NIC and motherboard interfaces.

Create a single virtual switch with teamed NICs across separate physical switches.

This VMware Validated Design uses an active-active configuration using the route that is based on physical NIC load algorithm for teaming. In this configuration, idle network cards do not wait for a failure to occur, and they aggregate bandwidth.

NIC Teaming Design Background

For a predictable level of performance, use multiple network adapters in one of the following configurations.

  • An active-passive configuration that uses explicit failover when connected to two separate switches.

  • An active-active configuration in which two or more physical NICs in the server are assigned the active role.

This validated design uses an active-active configuration.

Table 1. NIC Teaming and Policy

Design Quality

Active-Active

Active-Passive

Comments

Availability

Using teaming regardless of the option increases the availability of the environment.

Manageability

o

o

Neither design option impacts manageability.

Performance

o

An active-active configuration can send traffic across either NIC, thereby increasing the available bandwidth. This configuration provides a benefit if the NICs are being shared among traffic types and Network I/O Control is used.

Recoverability

o

o

Neither design option impacts recoverability.

Security

o

o

Neither design option impacts security.

Legend: ↑ = positive impact on quality; ↓ = negative impact on quality; o = no impact on quality.

Table 2. NIC Teaming Design Decision

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication

SDDC-VI-Net-004

Use the Route based on physical NIC load teaming algorithm for all port groups except for ECMP uplinks and ones that carry VXLAN traffic.

ECMP uplink port groups use Route based on originating virtual port.

VTEP kernel ports and VXLAN traffic use Route based on SRC-ID.

Reduce complexity of the network design and increase resiliency and performance.

Because NSX does not support Route based on physical NIC load different algorithms are necessary.