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New Member

COMPAQ NIC Teaming with Cisco Switches


I already know that NLB on Servers using MS Clustering has BAD impact on networks...what about Compaq NIC Teaming ???

I'm asking if someone had already had experiences using Compaq NIC Teaming - TLB ??? If yes can you give me some advice about it ???

A customer would like to implement this feature on a server connected to 2 switches running each NIC...

New Member

Re: COMPAQ NIC Teaming with Cisco Switches

There are two ways of "optimising" NLB depending on your installation. Either -

a) use small vlans on a layer 3 switch and leave the default "alias" mac address set to on. In this scenario, all packets will be flooded all ports in the vlan - in this case only the nlb server cards.

b) Set "alias" mac address to off and use hubs. (with uplinks in to a switch port) The servers will both use the same mac address and cam entries on the switch will be OK. To provide resilience in this instance would require STP.

Compaq teaming should be setup in "fail-over" mode and the "smartswitch" option should be enabled. This option acts as a pre-empt just like with HSRP. Under normal operations all traffic is passed to the primary card, on failure of the link the mac/ip address are moved within a couple of seconds to the standby connection. (not using smartswitch causes "flapping" issues when you manually fail back to primary card)

I used the above successfully on both 3550 / 6509 switches.

New Member

Re: COMPAQ NIC Teaming with Cisco Switches

Thanks for the reply...the problem is that we will have 2 VLANS with a /24 masks because of the high number of the server... using an STP topology with two C4K

I've read the COMPAQ White Paper " COMPAQ Network Adapter Teaming Technology" that you can find below


and it seems that there are 3 choices:

- Fault Tolerance (NBT)

- Trasmit Load Balancing (TLB)

- Switch-assisted Load Balancing (SLB)

Seeing that we would connect a 2NIC's server on two switches connected with each other by a Channel... I've supposed to use TLB....but my problems are the following:

- LB is done only from the flow from Server to client....but the switches see the on ARP the same IP Address with 2 different MACs...

- Why you suggest to use Fail-Over ??? Did you have troubles using Load Balancing ???

- What is the smartSwitch Option ???

New Member

Re: COMPAQ NIC Teaming with Cisco Switches

I'm not familiar with the 'default alias mac address' and can't find anything on it. Where is the command and how is it used?


Re: COMPAQ NIC Teaming with Cisco Switches

Could you elaborate on the NLB using clustering and the bad effects on the network , we are currently working a problem that sounds almost like what you are talking about , windows 2000 servers running clustering and complaints of slow response and hangs at times .

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