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Clustering two L2 switch's with 4 ESXi 4.1

Last Modified: 2012-05-11

I am going to be setting this up with ESXi 4.1 U1 running on a host with 4 physical nics. I'm trying to be tight budget wise and am looking at using 2 x  TP-Link TL-SG5426's(switches) and a Watchguard X550e as the router for this setup.

I want to connect all the above equipment in a way so that any of our VLAN's can be configured on any vNIC in ESXi. I want it so that if a single port or entire switch fails communication continues.

I think I pretty much have my head round VLAN's and port trunking when using one switch. I just can't seem to figure out which technology/protocol should be used so that the switches are load balanced and I guess communicate with each other.

I realise the method used to achieve what I want is very dependent on the brand of switch. Is there a standand technology used to cluster ethernet switches?

It would be great if someone could help me understand how pNIC's, vNIC's, VLAN's, switches, IEEE 802.1s Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol, LACP are used to cluster two switches in regards to my scenario. Everything I google is very model specific and I can't find anything to push me in the right direction for further research in the user guide for the TP-Link switches.
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