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Why is VSX considered stacking

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  • 1.  Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Jan 07, 2023 04:47 AM
    In stacking (at least from my cisco knowledge), there is 1 logical switch and multiple physical.
    But in VSX, 

    Multiple physical switches have different management ip.
    Different switches cannot "see" one another.
    So why is VSX considered stacking?

    VSF is stacking I can argee though.


  • 2.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    EMPLOYEE
    Posted Jan 09, 2023 05:15 PM
    VSX or Virtual Switching Extension is a virtualization technology to create a cluster of two Aruba CX switches from the same model 6400, 8320, 8325, 8360 or 8400.  So it is not called stacking at all.

    for more details check this link to VSX best practices.
    https://asp.arubanetworks.com/downloads/documents/RmlsZTplNzhhMzAxOC0yMmFhLTExZWEtOWYwMy00NzM4YTZiOGJhYWQ%3D

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    Any opinions expressed here are solely my own and not necessarily that of HPE or Aruba.
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  • 3.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    EMPLOYEE
    Posted Jan 10, 2023 07:45 PM
    VSX pairs two switches. Some of the functions of of the pair operate much like you would expect from a traditional stack, however the control plane is distributed which makes the pair more resilient (like a cluster, if you like). 

    Despite the options of reference, VSX is awesome.


  • 4.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Jan 15, 2023 04:47 AM
    In that case what is the advantage of using VSX vs VSF?


  • 5.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    EMPLOYEE
    Posted Jan 15, 2023 05:14 AM
    you should note that VSX is not a stacking feature like VSF.
    VSX is designed to provide HA for deployment of multi-chassis link redundancy while maintaining separate control planes.
    This is in contrast to  VSF,  which is designed to simplify deployment of multiple physical devices by offering a single point of configuration and mgmt that uses shared control plane across the entire stack.

    each of them have their own advantages.

    VSX's ability to have two control plane while using "sync" for configuration of the switches to be the same, is a big plus point. This means that you can upgrade without impacting having to take both switches down, thats why VSX supports live upgrade in which you can upgrade the pair of VSX switches without any down time (Assuming all the other switches/servers are dual connected). This is not possible in a solution where you have one control plane between multiple switches. Then you have a number of related features like Active gateway (just to mention one) that is much better/faster/less complicated that VRRP which further enhances Link and IP default gateways redundancy across two VSX switches.



    ------------------------------
    If my post was useful accept solution and/or give kudos.
    Any opinions expressed here are solely my own and not necessarily that of HPE or Aruba.
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Jan 17, 2023 04:11 AM
    That is what I dont understand about clustering.
    If there are 2 separate ip addresses configured on 2 separate equipment, why dont I use 2 separate switches instead?
    Why use clustering then?

    So aruba switches that can do vsx cannot do vsf, and those that do vsf cannot do vsx?


  • 7.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    EMPLOYEE
    Posted Jan 17, 2023 03:50 PM
    You are using two separate switches...

    But they're paired together so that you can benefit from things like multi-chassis LAG which you cannot do with two distinct switches that do not operate together. You get greater redundancy, this way, without having to use some sort of anti-loop protection (such as Spanning Tree) which would result in the multiple uplinks having one active connection and one blocked or standby connection. With VSX all links can remain active without creating a loop.

    With VSF, one switch is controlling configuration and various functions. If that switch fails, another switch must take over the job. In theory there is  some downtime (short) of functionality during this hand-off. With VSX both switches are fully operational and can even hold unique configuration to one another, but they can also have configuration synchronised. Both switches operate all functions and can simultaneously operate from a virtual MAC address(es) so that protocols like VRRP are not required. It is highly resilient.

    VSX is more suited to scenarios where high resilience downstream/upstream connectivity is required. Such as at the aggregation or core layers of the network. VSF can be suitable in the access layer where downstream devices usually only have a single uplink to a switch.

    Youtube: VSX Technology Overview
    Youtube: Aruba VSF vs VSX & Configuration Guide

    Maybe read through some of early the chapters in this guide:
    Aruba AOS-CX 10.11 Virtual Switching Extension (VSX) Guide
    Benefits of VSX, VSX solution topology overview, and VSF versus VSX might be a good start.


  • 8.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Dec 19, 2023 02:40 PM

    I'm still a little confused.  My boss wants me to stack 2 aruba cx 8320s in our data center.  They're only used as access switches, not core switches.  I started reading about VRF only to realize a bit down the road that the CX 8320s will not do VRF, only VSX.  I started reading the 230 page document on VSX, and I haven't come across the scenario that I'm in and what I'm trying to get accomplished.   It's all being core switches that then connect to the access switches.  Is there any easy way (like VRF was) to accomplish what I'm trying to do, stack 2 8320 into one logical switch?




  • 9.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Dec 20, 2023 03:12 AM

    Hi 8320 does not support VSF so you can't create one logical switch.

    What are you trying to achieve? 



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    Arne Opdal
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  • 10.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Dec 20, 2023 08:55 AM

    I'm trying to keep traffic from any port on one switch from having to go through the router and hit a potential bottleneck of the 1gb connection to the palo alto firewall/virtual router, when 10gb of traffic could flow in theory from port to port if the switches were paired as one logical switch.

     

    Thanks!

     

    Adam

     




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  • 11.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Dec 21, 2023 08:38 AM

    "I'm trying to keep traffic from any port on one switch from having to go through the router and hit a potential bottleneck of the 1gb connection to the palo alto firewall/virtual router, when 10gb of traffic could flow in theory from port to port if the switches were paired as one logical switch."

    Would VLANs not do what you need?  Or do you want to use the switches as your L3 gateway between networks?  If you need L3 gateways, use VRRP.

    I don't understand why you are having difficulties with preventing traffic from flowing to your FW/Router and why stacking would resolve your issue.




  • 12.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    MVP GURU
    Posted Dec 21, 2023 09:05 AM
    "I'm trying to keep traffic from any port on one switch from having to go through the router and hit a potential bottleneck of the 1gb connection to the palo alto firewall/virtual router"

    Keeping the IP Routing enabled at Switch Core level (at VSX level) - and SVI on defined internal VLANs - does exactly that indeed.

    Then you should (a) work with ACL to implement segregation of VLANs and (b) use a Transit VLAN to connect to your Paloalto Firewall(s) and let it to be your Next Hop Gateway for any non interal (directly connected) network.





  • 13.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    Posted Dec 20, 2023 03:23 AM

    No, you're right, VSX will give you nothing



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    Steinar
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  • 14.  RE: Why is VSX considered stacking

    MVP GURU
    Posted Dec 20, 2023 03:52 AM

    Hi!

    "My boss wants me to stack 2 aruba cx 8320s in our data center.  They're only used as access switches, not core switches."

    You can't "stack" two Aruba 8320. You can "cluster" them. See above to understand "stacking" versus "clustering" differences, restrictions and requirements.

    VSX -> Clustering only two Switches (supported only by Aruba Aruba 6400, 8100, 8320, 8325, 8400, 8360, 9300, 10000).

    VSF -> Stacking two or more Switches (supported only by Aruba 6200F, Aruba 6300M, Aruba 6300F)

    VSX was not engineered to be used - as a feature - on the Access Layer, it was engineered to be used - as a feature - on the Core Layer (where Core network services effectively run).

    VSF was engineered to be used - as a feature - on the Access Layer.

    "I started reading about VRF only to realize a bit down the road that the CX 8320s will not do VRF, only VSX.  I started reading the 230 page document on VSX, and I haven't come across the scenario that I'm in and what I'm trying to get accomplished.   It's all being core switches that then connect to the access switches.  Is there any easy way (like VRF was) to accomplish what I'm trying to do, stack 2 8320 into one logical switch?"

    What do you mean with VRF? are you referring to something Cisco related? I ask that because VRF - in Aruba's jargon/dictionary - has a very specific meaning: Virtual Routing and Forwarding and it is a feature provided by ArubaOS-CX operating systems.

    If you mistakenly wrote VRF but it was instead VSF...see above (VSF is not VSX and VSX is not VSF).

    If your boss purchased you two Aruba 8320, those must (or should) be intended to be used and deployed at Core Level, not at Access Level. If then you are forced by your boss to use it on the Access Layer you have to stick with its intended engineered features/requirements/restrictions (you can't be surprised if a Sport Car performs badly when used in a dirty desert track...maybe it runs fast but it will not last longer...I mean: every type of device has its field of use).