Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming

Contributor(s): Ryann Burnett
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Microsoft Ignite 2017 conference coverage

Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming is the process of grouping multiple virtual network interface cards (NICs) across different physical NICs to increase bandwidth and provide redundancy. This feature was first introduced in Hyper-V 3.0.

Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming uses different algorithms to distribute traffic among physical and virtual NICs. Standard properties of an NIC team include the team name, member adapters, teaming mode, load-balancing mode and standby adapter. The primary team interface and virtual LAN number are optional properties.

Specific usage requirements for Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming include Windows Server 2012 or later operating systems, at least two physical NICs, at least two virtual network adapters configured for teaming and connected to separate external Hyper-V virtual switches, and VMs configured to work with the teamed adapter.

A virtualization administrator typically performs the initial configuration for Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming, and must anticipate and address potential issues, such as NIC failures and traffic bottlenecks, that occur during the configuration process and day-to-day operations.

An organization with large virtual environments benefits most from Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming, because the feature helps overcome challenges, such as resource contention. Virtual NICs that are grouped together across different physical NICs offer a collective bandwidth, which is greater than that of a single physical NIC. By provisioning the team with an extra virtual NIC, an administrator ensures the NIC team will keep working in the event of a virtual NIC failure. Distributing a NIC team across multiple physical NICs enables it to protect the system against a hardware failure. Load balancing and failover are additional configuration options for Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming that help ease virtual environment management.

This was last updated in April 2017

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