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New Member

Load balancing and fault tolerance with Intel NICs and Cisco switches

Is it possible to load balance and provide fault tolerance using two Cisco switches and Intel NICs?

Example: Two 3550 switches and a Windows 2000 server with a dual 1000BaseT NIC and Intel software installed. One port on Intel NIC connected to 1st 3550 and one port on Intel NIC connected to 2nd 3550.

4 REPLIES
Purple

Re: Load balancing and fault tolerance with Intel NICs and Cisco

Should be able to , isn't this microsoft load balancing . Sometimes this can be a pain to get to work right though . We have found that you had to turn off teaming in the nics to get it to work correctly .

New Member

Re: Load balancing and fault tolerance with Intel NICs and Cisco

No, I believe you have to make a decision either way - load balancing (to the same switch) *OR* fault tolerance (two switches). Read everything at http://support.intel.com/support/network/adapter/1000/guides/server/teamopts.htm if interested.

New Member

Re: Load balancing and fault tolerance with Intel NICs and Cisco

Thanks, we were able to accomplish load balancing and fault tolerance using the ALB feature because ALB does both. Also, even though the doc referenced seems to indicate you have to plug the team into the same switch, this is not the case. ALB works when plugged into two different switches.

New Member

Re: Load balancing and fault tolerance with Intel NICs and Cisco

Is this behaviour explicit and documented by Intel? I would be careful to use a solution in practice that "seems to work" but is in the style of good old "illegal op-codes" when hacking a processor's assembly language. The documentation specifically says this: Adaptive Load Balancing (ALB) uses software to balance routable traffic among a team of two to eight adapters (must include at least one server adapter) connected to the same switch. On computers running Windows NT 4.0, 2000, and XP, ALB balances routable transmit traffic. With Receive Load Balancing (RLB) enabled, it balances IP receive traffic. The software analyzes the send and transmit loading on each adapter and balances the rate across the adapters based on destination address. Adapter teams configured for ALB also provide the benefits of fault tolerance. So, it says "connected to the same switch" as well as "balances routable transmit or receive traffic" - ALB is not MAC address-based like FEC/GEC. How will the switches handle the traffic? What's the processor load if there's layer 3 processing in software going on? Just curious...

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