This paper contains information about the stacking feature on a Dell™ PowerConnect™ 6200Series Gigabit Ethernet switch. The stacking feature allows up to 12 switches to operate as asingle unit. A single switch in the stack manages all the units in the stack. The PowerConnect(PC) 6200 Series switches include the PC6224, PC6248, PC6224P, PC6248P, PC6224F, andM6220. (Note: M6220 switches can only be stacked with other M6220 switches.)A stack is created by daisy-chaining stacking links on adjacent units. A stack of units ismanageable as a single entity when the units are connected together. If a unit cannot detect astacking partner on a port enabled for stacking, the unit automatically operates as a standaloneunit. If a stacking partner is detected, the switch always operates in stacking mode. One unit inthe stack is designated as the Master unit. The Master manages all the units in the stack. Asecond switch is designated as the Standby unit, which becomes the Master if the Master unitis unavailable. The Standby unit can either be user-configurable or automatically selected bythe software.
The terms “Master” and “Manager/Management Unit” are often used interchangeablythrough out this document.When units are in a stack, the following activities occur:
All units are checked for software version consistency.
The switch Control Plane is only active on the Master.
The switch Data Plane is active on all units in the stack, including the Master.
The Master and Standby switches keep the running configuration in synchronizationwhile the stack operates.
SYNCHRONIZING THE RUNNING CONFIGURATION BETWEENTHE MASTER AND STANDBY UNITS
The Master unit synchronizes its running configuration with the Standby unit every two minutes(120 seconds) when a standby unit is configured in the stack. This enables the Standby unit totake over the stack operation with minimal interruption if the Master unit becomes unavailable.The running-config synchronization also occurs when the administrator saves the runningconfiguration to the startup configuration on the Master unit and when the administratordesignates a new switch as the Master either by using the Web interface or the
CLI command.If a Master unit failure is detected in the stack, the following activities occur:
The Standby unit initializes the control plane and enables all other stack units withthe current running configuration.
During failover all the ports are brought down and brought up to avoid possibleloops and get new master software applications to a consistent state.
A log entry and a trap are generated when the stack failover is detected.The stack comes up with the default configuration in the following cases:
When the stack is cold started (powered ON).
When the administrator selects a new Master unit and that unit was not previouslyconfigured or automatically selected as the Standby unit.
SELECTING THE MASTER UNIT
If a unit is capable of becoming a Master unit then it examines the list of current non-managementunits in the system and decides whether it should try to become the Master unit. A switch makesthe following checks in order to decide whether to become the stack Master unit:1. This unit has the highest administrative preference level.2. This unit has the highest hardware preference level.3. This unit has the highest base MAC address.