Enabling and adding NIC teaming to a virtual machine

This article will walk through the details to enable NIC teaming and will explain the various options as well.

Note: By default, Windows Server NIC teaming supports up to 32 network adapters in a single team. However, Hyper-V supports only two network adapters in teaming to be assigned to a virtual machine.

There are three modes for NIC teaming. The default one is switch independent and switch dependent. The switch dependent mode includes static teaming and link aggregation control protocol (LACP).

  • Switch Independent — With Switch Independent mode, the switch or switches to which the NIC Team members are connected are unaware of the presence of the NIC team and do not determine how to distribute network traffic to NIC Team members - instead, the NIC Team distributes inbound network traffic across the NIC Team members.
  • Switch Dependent — With Switch Dependent modes, the switch to which the NIC Team members are connected determines how to distribute the inbound network traffic among the NIC Team members. The switch has complete independence to determine how to distribute the network traffic across the NIC Team members.
    Static Teaming Requires you to manually configure both the switch and the host to identify which links form the team. Because this is a statically configured solution, there is no additional protocol to assist the switch and the host to identify incorrectly plugged cables or other errors that could cause the team to fail to perform. This mode is typically supported by server-class switches.
    Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) Unlike Static Teaming, LACP Teaming mode dynamically identifies links that are connected between the host and the switch. This dynamic connection enables the automatic creation of a team and, in theory but rarely in practice, the expansion and reduction of a team simply by the transmission or receipt of LACP packets from the peer entity. All server-class switches support LACP, and all require the network operator to administratively enable LACP on the switch port. When you configure a Teaming mode of LACP, NIC Teaming always operates in LACP's Active mode with a short timer. No option is presently available to modify the timer or change the LACP mode.

The following steps show how to create, configure, and add NIC teaming to a virtual machine.

  1. Open Server Manager, click on All Servers or Hyper-V in the pane on the left-hand side, right-click on the server for which you want to enable NIC teaming and click on Configure Network Adapter Teaming, as shown in the following screenshot: Configure Network Adapter Teaming
  2. In the NIC Teaming window, click on TASKS and New Team, as shown in the following screenshot: New Team TASKS
  3. In the New team window, specify the team name at the top and select the network adapter that you want to add to the NIC teaming.
  4. Under Additional properties, select the Teaming mode, the Load distribution mode, and the Primary team interface. Click on OK, as shown in the following screenshot: Primary team interface properties
  5. Now, when you open the network settings on your Windows server, you will see the new NIC teaming and you can start setting up the network configuration, IP settings, and so on, as with any other normal network adapter.
  6. To add the new NIC team to a virtual machine, open PowerShell and run the following command specifying the virtual machine name under <VMName>:
    Get-VM  | Set-VMNetworkAdapter —AllowTeaming On
  7. Open the virtual machine settings for which you have enabled teaming, select External network and select NIC teaming from the drop-down list.
  8. Click on OK and the network adapter in teaming will be available to be used in the virtual machine.

Note: Although this is possible, it's important to mention that NIC teams can only be formed between homogenous NICs. For instance, there can be two 1 GB or two 10 GB NICs in a team, but there cannot be a 1 GB and a 10 GB in the same team.