Questions about link aggregation

I have a couple of Dell R730XD w/4 port NIC card. TrueNas wants to handle the RAID on the HDDs. I was wondering which is better for link aggregation: Set it up at the Hardware level? or through TrueNas (v12)?

I have never tested setting it up any other way than via the operating system, so I would go with that option.

I have only used through the OS, didn’t even think about trying to set it up through the NIC. But setting it through the NIC is probably just telling the driver (more software) to handle it, which is probably what the OS is going to do.

I was kinda wondering if the LACP (maybe VLANs) stuff would be “off loaded” the NIC hardware, like hardware RAID did?

Yes and no, pretty sure it is handed off, but in most of the general purpose NICs it is a logical setting and needs some type of software to tell it. I haven’t seen any of these “common” NICs having a software configuration like a RAID card would have, and generally they would need communication between different cards to make it happen. The only server I have set this way has 2 separate cards that are aggregated, no way for them to talk to each other until the BIOS loads and really the processor loads to handle the communication between the PCIe slots. Might be some higher end hardware that can do this, but down in the common stuff I work on, I have not seen this yet.

In the iDRAC system of the Dell R730XD, there are options for setting up LAGG and VLANs, so I was just wondering if it would be better to do it at the “BIOS” level instead of the TrueNas OS level.

Now that you mention it, you are correct, I have seen that setting in the iDrac but never looked into it with my test lab.