How To: Enable and Configure NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2012 R2

When Microsoft released Windows Server 2012, they decided to include a NIC Teaming feature built right into the operating system. Previously, you needed to rely on third party tools to team your network adapters, but now we can configure everything directly within Windows.

This guide will show you how to create a team within Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2.

Naming the Network Adapters (Optional)

This step is completely optional, however I find it very convenient to know the names of the network adapters that belong to a team, especially if the server is remotely located or belongs to a customer where you may be troubleshooting issues while not on site.

You can pick a scheme that works best for you, and each server may be different. In this example, I am using a HP DL 380G5 server that has a four port server network card installed, along with two on board network adapters for a total of 6. I always label my adapters using the onboard NICs first, then moving to the add-in card. The onboard adapters are normally labeled, and I use their labels. I then label the add-in card from left to right, 1 – 4.

    Tip: Standing in front of the server, unplug all network cables with the Network Connections window open. Plug one adapter in at a time and name the adapters as you go. This way you know which adapter corresponds with which adapter within Windows. Remember, it’s rare that Windows names the network adapters in any type of order.

Server NICs Labeled
Network Adapters on the back of my HP DL 380 G5
Named Network Adapters
Named Network Adapters

 

Creating Teamed Adapters

Depending on the purpose of your server and how you would like it to be configured, this section may be different. I will be building two teams in my example because I will be using this server as a Hyper-V Host server. One teamed adapter will be used for management, while the second will be used for virtual machine communication.

1. Open the Server Manager Console Server Manager Icon

2. Click on Local Server on the left hand side and locate the Properties box (the very top box on this screen)

3. Locate NIC Teaming and click the word Disabled

NICTeaming Disabled

4. In the Adapters and Interfaces section, press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard, then click the adapters you wish to add to a team.

Adapters and Interface

5. Click the TASKS button in the top right of the Adapters and Interfaces section, then choose Add to New Team

AddtoNewTeam

6. In the NIC Teaming window, add a name for the team you are creating and select any adapters that you may have missed, then click OK

 Note: If you are configuring the server remotely, you may lose connectivity to the server after the team is created. This would happen if you are connected through an adapter that is being added to the team. Once the team is created, a teamed adapter will be given an address through DHCP and will need to be reconfigured with a static IP address if you had one assigned to it.

NicTeamingNaming


Now if you open the Network Connections window, you will see your teamed network adapter. You can configure it with an IP address if necessary.

Now the teamed network adapter "Management Team" is in Network Connections and can be used.
Now the teamed network adapter “Management Team” is in Network Connections and can be used.

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