I've been acquiring some parts over the past 6 months to a year and have always wanted to setup link aggregation so just started playing with it the other night. My components are as follows:
Thecus N4200Eco NAS (4 x 3 TB WD Reds in RAID 10)
PC with an Asus P8Z68 Deluxe Motherboard (1 x Intel 82579 GbE, 1 x Realtek 8111E GbE), SSD primary drive (C:), 7200 RPM WD Black secondary (D:)
Now in doing a bunch of reading, I know what the limitations of 802.3ad are (or what I think they should be). You can't get a 2 Gb pipe for a single stream but 2 x 1 Gb for 2 or more streams should be doable. One thing I can't confirm is whether or not these streams have to be opposite to each other or if they can be in the same direction, and this is pretty much my main reason for this post.
Here are a couple of photos of my NAS/switch config pages:
My desktop was not on when I took that screenshot, hence why it says link down under LAG state. I installed version 17.4 of the Intel Network Adapter Driver for Windows 7 and configured the two NIC's as a team. They're both showing as Active in the settings, with a 2 Gb link. Originally, I had the GS724T configured with the LAG types as Static instead of LACP, and one of the adapters would show as Standby, but putting them to LACP (as you're supposed to) fixed that and they both became Active. Don't have any pictures right now but I can post some later if someone wants.
So I did some file transfer tests, nothing overly scientific but I think it demonstrated my point. The N4200Eco is a pretty powerful little machine with those drives in RAID 10 but I doubt it could actually service both ports at their full capacity. I think I was careful not to bottleneck any hardware in the tests though. My laptop also has GbE so that helped:
Large file copy from laptop->desktop(D:), desktop(C:)->NAS
laptop->desktop: ~70 MB/s
desktop->NAS: ~85 MB/s
Large file copy from NAS->laptop, NAS->desktop
NAS->laptop: ~60 MB/s
NAS->desktop: ~75 MB/s
Large file copy from laptop->desktop(C:), NAS->desktop(D:)
laptop->desktop: ~60 MB/s
NAS->desktop: ~60 MB/s
In Test 1, Task Manager was showing about 75% network utilization. The MB/s values I have above may have been average values, but it was definitely using both gigabit links (one in, one out) for these transfers.
In Test 2, because I was using diverse computers, it was hard to check network utilization through Task Manager. But I checked the packet numbers of the switch and could see packets coming out on both links, so it looks like the NAS was sending out on both GbE's at a decent rate to the two PC's. I discovered just now that the NAS has a nice page on the web interface showing real time traffic over each of the LAN ports, so I'll have to check that out next time.
In Test 3, Task Manager on my desktop showed the network utilization not going above 50%, highest I think it went was about 47%. The switch's web interface showed me that packets were only coming through on one of the desktop's links.
Based on the above short tests, I think my NAS is working well, with both links transmitting in either direction at any time. I think my PC is only allowing one link to send and one to receive, which I don't think should be right. There definitely shouldn't have been any hardware bottlenecks in Test 3. Is this a limitation of 802.3ad, or Intel ANS, or Multi-Vendor Teaming, or do my settings need to be tweaked? I know there's a lot of config yet that can be done with the NIC's on the PC.
If anyone has any ideas let me know, but if I find anything else out I'll report back here.