Switch Stack & Switch Cluster

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Aug 17th, 2010
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Hi All,

I'm quite new in switch stack and switch cluster topic, but for my curiosity to know about it i read it for the first time and understood some basics, I might not have understood whole concept at a strech, but i want to know more about this two concept in the sense...

1. Where exactlly we deploy such scenario in practical world and why we require it?

2. What exact benefit we get if we use Switch stack and Switch cluster in our network?

3. Any thing which can build my concept strong on this two topic.

Thanking you all in advance...



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muratg7777 Tue, 08/17/2010 - 04:40
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When you stack switches. They work like a single switch or like chassis.  One management ip adress for all stacking members

3750 SW has 64 GBPS stacking throughput so the benefit is throughput here and you won't use UTP or SFP ports of th SW.

Deployment scenario can be redundant. For example you have servers but you want to redandant SW. You can do it with stacking and also configure for cross stack ether channel for bandwidth.

Lots of scenarios can be written but the main benefits are throughput and management

Nagaraja Thanthry Tue, 08/17/2010 - 05:58
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Switch clusters are built for easier management. Once a switch becomes part

of a cluster, you do not need separate management interface to manage the

switch. You can manage it through the cluster. So, the members of the

cluster can be physically dispersed throughout the organization. As long as

they are physically connected to each other the clustering will work.

Stacks is a different concept where you are increasing the number of ports

in a switch. Physically, the switch could have only 24/48 ports. However,

once you stack with another switch, the port count increases and both

switches act as one for all purposes. Unlike clustering, once you stack two

switches, the slaves in the stack (regular members) loose their identity.

There will not be any management port on the individual switch.

Clustering is supported on pretty much all DSBU switches whereas Stacking is

supported just on select platforms (3750, 2960S etc).

Hope this helps.



shahhardik Thu, 08/19/2010 - 11:34
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Thanks for your help guys..

i understood that stack scenario increases the port density and throughput, so is it same with cluster, though it is also managed by a single IP and also shares the same configuration.

Also, is it possible to have some real example of both scenario so as to dig more on this topic.?



Nagaraja Thanthry Thu, 08/19/2010 - 11:46
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Unlike Stack, cluster cannot be treated as a single switch from the

operation perspective. In cluster, each switch will act independently but

will be managed by one group.

Common uses:

Cluster: When you have a large campus network with many switches, instead of

managing each switch using their IP, you can add them to the cluster and

manage it through the cluster. (Cluster is good from management perspective)

Stack: When you have a switch closet and need more than 48 ports to connect

your clients, Stack is a good solution. Also, if you need to have redundant

links to a specific device (NIC teaming), stack is a good option as it

supports cross-stack etherchannel.

Hope this helps.



shahhardik Fri, 08/20/2010 - 00:37
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Ok got it, so configurations are not same on every switch on cluster; rite? but though we are managing every switch via single IP, so how is it possible to manage configuration of individual switch via single management IP in cluster?

quadium_01 Thu, 02/21/2013 - 21:29
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Cisco only supports clusters on the Catalyst level of switches. What switches do you have? If it's not stackable or clusterable, then you're stuck managing each switch on its own. Most 'smart' switches can take a configuration upload, so if they are all the same configuration you may be able to save some time by uploading a configuration file to each switch. Or if it's a stackable switch, then you can also manage the entire stack as 1 IP if you actually go ahead and configure the stack.

See Cisco Clustering Requirements:


(Before any of you accuse me of digging up old threads, keep in mind that these come up in public searches (aka Google) and may still be relevant to some readers.)


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