Cisco UCS B-Series NIC Teaming & Bonding OS Support Matrices

May 17th, 2011

Recently, a couple of Twitter pals of mine, @veverything and @ChrisFendya, discussed VMware KB article 1013094 that stated an unsupported teaming type for the Cisco UCS B200 blade server. Their discussion made me realize that there wasn’t an easy-to-find resource for Cisco UCS customers that needed to know “OS Team Types Supported Per UCS Network Adapter” and “Unsupported Team Types”.

Below you will find both of these resources. I’ve listed a chart per Cisco UCS B-Series Network Adapter that shows the teaming/bonding types that will work per Operating System. Lastly, you’ll find a chart showing the team types that will not work.

Please keep in mind the following:

  1. Just because I say it works, doesn’t mean Cisco, Intel, Broadcom, QLogic, Emulex, Linux, VMware, Microsoft, etc. supports it. I’m listing the teaming/bonding types that will work based on my experience and based on what I know about NIC Teaming and the UCS architecture.
  2. This article isn’t intended to teach you which teaming/bonding type to use and I’m not necessarily making recommendations on the use of specific team types. I’m simply listing team types that should work if you choose to use them. I have another article queued up that discusses NIC Teaming/bonding in detail and helps you decide which one to use within a UCS environment. That’s coming in the near future. In the meantime, if you are really jonesing to learn more about NIC Teaming in general, you are welcome to read through a lengthy whitepaper I wrote in a former life HERE. While it’s specific to HP NIC Teaming, many of the concepts are the same across Intel, Broadcom, etc.
  3. When it comes to NIC Teaming, Hyper-V is a special case. Since network redundancy is left to the NIC Teaming vendor (vs. the VMware model where a vSwitch handles network redundancy), it’s important to use an OEM NIC Team type that is “VM aware”…or a team type that will GratARP the VM’s MAC address after a NIC failover. If a NIC Teaming vendor (e.g. Emulex, QLogic, etc.) doesn’t specifically state that they support this capability in their teaming driver for Windows, I list “no recommendation”. In other words, I can’t recommend their team type under Hyper-V because I don’t know if it will properly handle quick failover of VM MAC addresses.
  4. How to read the charts below: The columns show teaming types/bonding modes per OS. The rows represent the capability that the team type provides. The capabilities (on the right side of the chart) can be “Fault Tolerance” only, Fault Tolerance + Transmit Load Balancing (TX LB), or Fault Tolerance + TX LB + Receive Load Balancing (RX LB).  I list the capabilities like this since the capabilities are additive (e.g. there’s no such think as an RX Load Balancing team that doesn’t provide Fault Tolerance).
  5. Cisco UCS Fabric Failover is hardware-based NIC Teaming and does not require any type of OS driver or awareness. It is one of the many valuable and unique features of the Cisco UCS architecture. For a more in-depth discussion of how it works see this article written by my esteemed colleague, Brad Hedlund.
  6. The supported/unsupported team types are not blade model dependent. While the VMware article mentioned above specifically states the B200, in reality, it applies to all B-Series servers.

Enough of my yakking. On to the purpose of this post…


NIC Teaming For Cisco UCS B-Series Network Adapters


(M81KR Palo)

Cisco UCS M81KR

Sources: Palo Teaming on Windows: TBD; Linux:; VMware:


(M72KR-E Emulex)

Cisco UCS M72KR-E

Sources: Emulex Teaming on Windows:; Linux:; VMware:


(M72KR-Q QLogic)

Cisco UCS M72KR-Q

Sources: QLogic on Windows, Linux and VMware: &; Linux:; VMware:


(M71KR-E and M71KR-Q)

Cisco UCS M71KR-E and M71KR-Q

Sources: Intel Teaming on Windows:; Linux:; VMware:


(82598KR-CI and M61KR-I)

Cisco UCS 82598KR-CI and M61KR-I

Sources: Intel Teaming on Windows:; Linux:; VMware:


(M51KR-B Broadcom)

Cisco UCS M51KR-B

Sources: Broadcom Teaming on Windows:; Linux:; VMware:



* Not supported according to Intel, not Cisco. Team type may be supported on full width servers for ports connected to same Fabric Interconnect.

May 17th, 2011 | Posted in Cisco UCS