Stackable Switches?

Unanswered Question
Apr 26th, 2012

Does Cisco have an 1G Data center class switches that are stackable?

I have this problem too.
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darren.g Thu, 04/26/2012 - 19:55

ex-engineer wrote:

Does Cisco have an 1G Data center class switches that are stackable?

Absolutely. The 3750X series. Stacks up to 4 x 48 port switches into one virtual chassis.

Cheers.

Leo Laohoo Thu, 04/26/2012 - 20:10
Stacks up to 4 x 48 port switches into one virtual chassis. 

Only 4???  I am sure you can stack up to 9 for a 3750X (not recommendable).

The Cisco Catalyst 3750-X Series stacks up to nine switches as a single logical unit for a total of 432 Ethernet 10/100/1000 ports with 18 10GbE ports. Individual 10/100/1000 units can be joined in any combination to evolve with network needs.

2960S can stack up to 4.

darren.g Thu, 04/26/2012 - 21:04

leolaohoo wrote:

Stacks up to 4 x 48 port switches into one virtual chassis.

Only 4???  I am sure you can stack up to 9 for a 3750X (not recommendable).

Hmmm, you could be right (the data sheet for these is not real flash!) - although I wouldn't do it! With the stack backplane only being 64 Gb/s, I wouldn't want to be running 400-odd ports through it!

Leo Laohoo Thu, 04/26/2012 - 21:14

It's gotta be a type-o, right Darren?

Nah.  With 3750-series family, I will always stick to the magic number of five (5) 3750 in a stack regardless of the number or ports. 

jan.ifkovitz Fri, 04/27/2012 - 01:42

i think you have to decide what you get on the ports.... for data center i think you will have more servers then clients... think about virtuell machines and other data center machines like loadbalancer etc... they have very  diffrent traffic.... other points are the port asic mapping and the queuing...

greatz

JosephDoherty Fri, 04/27/2012 - 03:33

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Posting

I too consider what's on the ports and device features important.

Perhaps a little off point to OP's original question, but since discussion has touched upon number of 3750 units in a stack, thought I mention the following . . .

Years ago, we redesigned our campus and datacenter to use 3750s at the edge.  In closets, stacked up to 9 3750Gs (or 7 G's with two 3750Es [for 10 gig uplinks]).  In the datacenter we stacked 3750Es for server edge.

In closets, we stacked to whatever depth was needed to provide the number of end user ports.  (Did have one case where a stack of 9 wasn't enough, so had two stacks in closet.  2nd smaller stack was connected to 1st nine member stack.

In datacenter, if we wanted to improve bandwidth to distribution, either we would add more uplinks or break stack into multiple stacks.  Maximum performance server edge unit was single 3750E with dual 10 gig uplinks.  Didn't need too deep a 48 gig port 3750E stack (max 4?) to support a server row.

(NB: distribution/core platforms were 6506/9s with dual sup720s and 6748 and/or 6704 line cards.)

Those closet switches which were all 3750G, in lieu of dual 10 gig uplinks, we used dual (up to) 8 x gig Etherchannels.

Leo has noted in other posts, issues with large stacks of 3750s, but don't recall we saw similar issues.

One major difference between choice of the 3750G vs. 3750E, the former doesn't have, per switch, non-blocking fabric or wire-speed PPS.  Additionally, although ring bandwidth is listed as 32 Gbps for the "G" and 64 Gbps for the "E", the former is Stackwise, the latter Stackwise+.  Stackwise and Stackwise+ are very, very different in how they use their rings (at least for unicast).

At the time (and even now), many will recommend a 6500 for the edge (and the 6500 is fine too).  But consider edge device traffic is often just "North-South", especially in user edge closets.  If you're using 6500 with classic bus cards (like where I'm at now and we have 6509s with sup32 and 7 48 gig port line cards or 7 96 port FastE line cards), how much does the that bus differ from Stackwise or Stackwise+?  It's somewhat better than Stackwise and sort of comparable to Stackwise+ if many cards/members.  Stackwise+, in a dual or 3 member stack, about on par with 6504 with cef256 DFC line cards and sup720.

PS:

BTW, the 3750X is the 3750E with power stacking; the latter limited to 4 (?) units sharing power.

kishore.chennupati Fri, 04/27/2012 - 06:30

Nice post Joe. 5+ for that.

One thing what i noticed with the stacks is when you make some changes like say use want to make changes to a range of ports or say write mem etc. The switches sort of "freeze" for a while giving u a heart attack. I manage stacks of 7 and i dread making changes to that.

I am sure cisco would have done some testing on these stacks etc but then not sure if al scenarios are covered.

To the OP, as other experts have suggested definelty go for 3750X. they offer stuff like stack power, stackwise plus, PoE+ etc. Good DC switches

HTH

Ksihore

Leo Laohoo Fri, 04/27/2012 - 22:57

I agree with Kishore. Early IOS can give you a near fatal stroke when you have a stack of more than 7.

Besides, if I may be allowed to add to the OP, this I have to say: Know your options. For example, we had a situation where we costed a full stack of 3750X. We found that if you need three (3) or more switches in a stack, it's cheaper to get. 4510R+E with Sup7E and line cards. If you want up to two (2) then 3750X is a better financial option.

Sent from Cisco Technical Support iPad App

JosephDoherty Sat, 04/28/2012 - 04:55

Disclaimer

The  Author of this posting offers the information contained within this  posting without consideration and with the reader's understanding that  there's no implied or expressed suitability or fitness for any purpose.  Information provided is for informational purposes only and should not  be construed as rendering professional advice of any kind. Usage of this  posting's information is solely at reader's own risk.

Liability Disclaimer

In  no event shall Author be liable for any damages whatsoever (including,  without limitation, damages for loss of use, data or profit) arising out  of the use or inability to use the posting's information even if Author  has been advised of the possibility of such damage.

Posting

On the issue of having "near fatal stroke" (laugh) when managing a stack of more than 7, our concern is whether it works correctly and doesn't interrupt live traffic.  I've found range commands on some 6500s slower than I would like, and lots of CLI commands on CRS-1s are also surprisingly sluggish.

On the issue of using a 4500 chassis - agreed - although "back then" you didn't have the E chassis so you were limited to 6 GB per slot.  Also, don't believe you had the option of 36 gig uplink ports on dual sups and might not have had the option of 10 gig then either.

Another reason why we chose the 3750G for closets, at the time, "free" lifetime warranty and "free" software upgrades; i.e. zero maintenance OPEX costs.  Also with the 3750Gs we could "then" legally run a whole stack full L3 on just one member's non IP base image (or two for redundancy).

But then was then and now is now - I'm not suggesting a stack would be your best option now.

Today, 4500 chassis will be less expensive than a 3750X pass some number of stacking members.  Actual number is usually between 3 to 5 stack members.  Actual value depends on actual hardware being compared. R chassis adds to cost as does 2nd sup.  Chassis also takes up more rack space.

So as Leo also says "Know your options."

darren.g Sun, 04/29/2012 - 21:18

leolaohoo wrote:

It's gotta be a type-o, right Darren?

Nah.  With 3750-series family, I will always stick to the magic number of five (5) 3750 in a stack regardless of the number or ports. 

Perhaps it comes under the heading of "optimistic marketing", Leo. :-)

Personally, I stick to 4 as a maximum for a stack - any stack, be it Cisco or the other mob. :-)

Cheers

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Posted April 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM
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