In this video, Russ talks about two of the virtual switching solutions utilized on Cisco switches. Learn how to leverage StackWise and virtual switching systems in your environment to lower management overhead.
- [Instructor] Logical Switching Architectures provide administrators with a way of lowering the amount of management or work we end up putting into large environments. Now, with the configuring and managing of Spanning Tree Protocol, and multiple switches, VLANs and deployments, in the end, our investment for total time and energy to perfect that Layer 2 topology, can be pretty extensive. By allowing an administrator to have the ability to have multiple switches act as a single switch, we may be able to cut down on some of that administrative overhead.
And trust me, in a large environment, every little bit could help us. And save us days in the overall deployment of a network. So let's talk about some of the options we have. First, let's introduce Stackwise. Now, Stackwise allows us to take multiple switches in our environment and connect them through a special connection located on the back of the switch. Now, this is a Cisco proprietary implementation. Exclusive to the Stackwise feature.
These connections, up to nine in total, work at speeds that can reach up to 480 gigabits per second. This is a bidirectional path and is used for the dedicated communication path between switches to create a single logical switch. A master switch will be determined and will handle all management plane traffic. Now, as you might imagine, this isn't the highest level of implementation. This is actually a lower-end implementation of local switching architectures.
This is utilized on our catalyst series 2000 and 3000. Now on the other end of the spectrum, we have Virtual Switch Systems, or VSS. And it behaves a little bit differently. Now, it does consist of multiple switches that are connected together to act as one. But, VSS is connected through a 10 gigabit EtherChannel bundle. Every link is a 10 gigabit link. And as we saw before, they will all act as a single unit, because the chassis are synced.
As you have probably guessed from the link speeds, this is usually an implementation saved for the beefier switches in your environment. We're talking the 4500s and the 6500 chassis. So here are a few details about the Stackwise technology. First, that proprietary connection we talked about is called the backplane. And it is a closed loop. It also runs in a bidirectional manner. So if there's a failure of a link in the backplane, the traffic will just go in the opposite direction.
As we stated earlier, we will have a single logical or virtual switch that we will deal with. This is represented by the master, but all changes made to the master will be sent down to the other switches in the stack. A huge benefit of this technology is that all ports participating in Stackwise are treated as though we're on the same switch. So, if you take a look at the topology on the right hand side, you can see we have a redundant topology.
We have two switches that are each connected to the distribution layer switches. But because these switches are participating in the Stackwaise stack, we can actually bundle the two ports together. And when bundle these two ports together, they're traded as though they are a single link. So we don't have any STP calculations taking place at the bottom of your screen. And if I no longer have STP at the bottom of my screen, that means I don't have to design VLAN flow or how the traffic moves in my layer two environment.
That's just saved me quite a bit of time. Now please also note that we don't lose redundancy here. We have EtherChannel bundles, and if any of those links inside the bundles fail, the other link automatically takes over. And just as importantly, we have multiple witches in the stack. If either switch fails in the stack, the other switch will take over for moving traffic. This is a pretty nifty little technology.
And when you look at it from a design perspective, me being a somewhat lazy admin, I really enjoy the efficiency gains here. Virtual Switch Systems, like we said earlier, are a bit more advanced. Now these aren't incredibly important for your studies. But I would like you to be aware of it's existence. For the most part, this is meant for large environments. And for the time being, may be outside of your pay grade.
But to review what we said earlier: There is no backplane here. This implementation requires 10 gigabit links in an EtherChannel bundle. This creates a Virtual Switch Link that is used to synchronize the chassis. And then, once the synchronization takes place, it'll act as a single switch. Now remember this implementation is basically done on the 4500 chassis and the 6500 chassis.
And not the 2000 chassis and the 3000 chassis the catalyst switches, like Stackwise.
- VLAN basics
- Voice VLANs
- VLAN Trunking Protocol
- Spanning Tree Protocol
- How STP modes work
- STP configuration demo
- Logical switching architecture
- Security management