Numerous Dell switches include a stacking feature that allows multiple physical switches to operate as a single logical switch, providing a consolidated interface for management. The Dell Force10™ MXL 10/40Gb switch is the latest Dell switch with this feature. Up to six Dell Force10 MXL switches can be connected in a single stack using QSFP+ (40Gb) ports.

A single switch (Master) in the stack controls all switches in the stack thereby allowing the user to manage and configure all member switches and ports using one IP address. This IP address is copied from the Master to the Standby when the Standby is created. If for any reason the Master fails and the Standby takes over as the Master, the IP address of the stack will remain the same, allowing continuous management of the stack.

 

The new Master unit will also continue to use the original Master unit’s MAC address, which helps to reduce disruptions to the network. When a failed Master rejoins the stack, it does so as a member (not a Master) unless a new Master has not had time to be elected.