How to create a Stack on a Dell Networking Force10 MXL Blade Switch

How to create a Stack on a Dell Networking Force10 MXL Blade Switch

This article explains how to Stack a Dell Networking Force10 MXL Blade Switch with one or more MXL Blade switches.


  1. Stacking Prerequisites
  2. Configuring a Stack
  3. Cabling
  4. Commands to Configure Stack Ports
  5. Verify Stack Configuration

Stacking Prerequisites

Before you cable and configure a stack please review the following:

  • All MXL switches in the stack must be powered up with the initial or startup configuration before you attach the cables.
  • All stacked MXL switches must run the same Dell Networking OS version. The minimum required version is
  • Stacking is supported only with other MXL switches. A maximum of six MXL switches is supported in a single stack.
  • A maximum of four stack groups (40gb ports) is supported on a stacked MXL switch.
  • When you create stack ports on the MXL Switch, all ports must be fixed or on the expansion module. Mixing fixed and expansion module ports in order to stack is not supported.

Configuring a Stack

To configure and bring up a switch stack, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the switches to be stacked with 40g direct attach or QSFP fiber cables.
  2. Configure the stacking ports on each switch.
  3. All switches must be booted together.


  • Only daisy-chain or ring topologies are supported.
  • Stacking is supported only on 40gb links by connecting 40gb port on the base module or a 2 port QSFP+ module. Stacking is not supported on 10gb ports or 4x10gb ports.
  • Use only QSFP transceivers and QSFP or direct attach cables to connect stacking ports.
  • Connect the unites in a stack with two or more stacking cables to avoid a stacking port or cable failure. Removing one of the stacked cables between two stacked units does not trigger a reset.

Steps to physically cable:

  1. Connect a 40gb port on the first switch to a 40gb port on the second switch.
  2. Connect another 40gb port on the second switch to a 40gb port on the first switch.
  3. If connecting three or more continue cascading the cables down the stack and connect the last switch to the first switch.

Commands to Configure Stack Ports

The external 40gb ports on the MXL are split into 6 different Stack-Groups. See below for the proper labeling. Stack groups 0 and 1 are hard set ports on the switch. Stack groups 2-5 are optional add in modules that require additional purchase.

Here are the commands needed to configure a switch into a stack. The same commands will need to be performed on all switches that are to be in the stack.

When cabling in a ring topology a second port would also need to be configured for stacking.



FTOS# configure

Enter configuration mode.

FTOS(conf)# stack-unit 0 stack-group 0

Set switch (stack-unit) and specific ports (stack-group) in stack mode. See above picture for stack group numbering sequence.

FTOS(conf)# exit

Exit / Leave configuration mode.

FTOS# write memory

Save running configuration to the start up configuration.

FTOS# reload

Reboot / Restart the switch.

Verify Stack Configuration

Dell# show system stack-ports

Topology: Ring

Interface Connection Link Speed Admin Status Link Status Trunk Group

0/33 1/37 40 up up

0/37 1/33 40 up up

1/33 0/37 40 up up

1/37 0/33 40 up up

Dell# show system brief

-- Stack Info --

Unit UnitType Status ReqTyp CurTyp Version Ports


0 Management online MXL-10/40GbE MXL-10/40GbE 9-1-0-853 56

1 Standby online MLX-10/40GbE MXL-10/40GbE 9-1-0-853 56

Article ID: HOW10544

Last Date Modified: 06/02/2016 09:59 AM

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