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What features does Hyper-V NIC teaming support?

NIC support for a VMQ and HNV are just a couple features that further improve performance and reliability. Learn more about these technologies so you can use them effectively.

Hyper-V NIC teaming supports several other advanced technologies that administrators can use to improve network...

performance and reliability.

One example is network interface card support for a VM queue (VMQ), which provides hardware virtualization to enhance the transfer of network traffic to a virtualized host. Typical traffic types can include TCP/IP, iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet. The VMQ-compliant NIC is able to use direct-memory access to send incoming traffic directly to receive buffers -- rather than a receive queue -- in a VM's shared memory. VMQ can also scale to use multiple processors to handle different VMs on different processors -- allowing for faster handling of incoming network traffic for NIC team members. In actual practice, VMQ -- if available -- should be enabled whenever Hyper-V is enabled. The NIC team will then present the VMQ features to the Hyper-V switch.

To apply Hyper-V NIC teaming in a VM, the virtual network adapters allocated to the VM must be connected only to external Hyper-V switches, and every team member must be connected to a different external Hyper-V switch. This requires the NIC team to be configured in switch independent mode and to use address hash load balancing. Windows Server 2016 can support VM NIC teams with two members -- more members can be configured but aren't supported.

A second feature is Hyper-V network virtualization (HNV), which effectively creates virtual networks for VMs. HNV basically provides the hypervisor that abstracts the physical network infrastructure, eliminating the limitations of virtual LAN and IP address management in VM provisioning. NIC teaming works well with HNV, allowing the NIC teaming drivers to distribute traffic in a manner that is best suited for the HNV environment. Thus, NIC teaming and HNV can work together to manage complex infrastructures and facilitate integration and workload migrations with outside infrastructure-as-a-service providers.

It's also worth noting that Hyper-V NIC teaming is fully compatible with live migration technologies. NIC teaming provides the same benefits: greater bandwidth for faster migrations -- or more simultaneous migrations -- with network resilience to help prevent disruptions in the server/NIC or greater network. The use of NIC teaming -- or not -- has no impact on the way that live migration is set up or applied to VMs.

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This was last published in June 2017

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