What is NIC Teaming?
Network Interface Card (NIC) Teaming is a mechanism to increase the thruput and / or reliability of an Ethernet connection by binding 2 or more connections together.
I'm currently building a Virtualisation Platform on some ancient (well 2008) hardware so I need to extract the best performance by all techniques and tweaks possible.
NIC teaming is a step in the right direction.
Installing the Windows 8.1 Driver - Error
From previous times I recall that the Intel ProSet driver is the one providing for detailed control of your Intel chipset Ethernet adapter. The download is here
However I got a rude error message saying my AOC-UG-i4 card was not supported with its Intel Pro 1000 technology.
I consulted this link and found that for Windows 8.1 there are either: In the box drivers i.e. Provided natively with Windows 8.1 OR the Full support, i.e. via the 100MB program I was trying to install.
So Intel is no good for Pro 1000 cards and the native Microsoft In Box driver does not support teaming. Perhaps from the manufacturer? On the Supermicro Website the links only went to Windows 2003.
Further investigation is necessary.
Setting up the Switch
Assuming it would all work out eventually <such optimism!> the first practical step was reconfiguring my Ethernet switch to know about aggregation:
I selected that Trunk 4 contain 4 ports 9,10,11,12 with LACP aggregation.
Back to Windows 8.1
I found that Windows 2012 now has OS level, not vendor support so I sneakily tried the 2012 server commands under Windows Powershell:
Copyright (C) 2013 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
PS C:\Windows\system32> New-NetLbfoTeam NICTeam
cmdlet New-NetLbfoTeam at command pipeline position 1
Supply values for the following parameters:
New-NetLbfoTeam : One of the required software components, 'ms_lbfo' is missing on the system. Please make sure you
are using a Server SKU, and that no OS components have been uninstalled.
At line:1 char:2
+ New-NetLbfoTeam NICTeam
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (MSFT_NetLbfoTeam:root/StandardCimv2/MSFT_NetLbfoTeam) [New-NetLbfoTeam],
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : MiClientApiError_Failed,New-NetLbfoTeam
So I had to ditch the entire Windows 8.1 installation. This was moderately expensive since I had bought, installed and licensed Windows 8.1. Hmmm. [Note when installing Windows 81 you have to enter the key to start installation, and it goes and checks on the Internet, so potentially it could tell you the next time the key is already taken. I could not find any place to tell Microsoft that you were stopping using a license, with the inference that I would wish to use it later on a different system]