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juniper virtual chassis technology

Posted on 2014-11-08
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I am a Cisco guy working on juniper ex4200 switches. So my knowledge on the Juniper is very limited. But I see that they support the virtual chassis technology. Has anyone implemented this technology? Does it work well? Where do you typically implement this type of setup? Thanks
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Question by:leblanc
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by:pergr
pergr earned 1600 total points
ID: 40432015
I believe that 80% of Juniper customers of the EX use virtual chassis.

Use it to implement redundancy, without spanning tree, and still have all links up forwarding traffic. Single management of multiple switches.
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dpk_wal earned 400 total points
ID: 40432068
Juniper EX VC is similar to stacking in many ways but just superior to stacking.
Anywhere we can use stacking we can use VC; additionally VC can help create very interesting and simplified solutions.
VC has been in industry for over 6 years now; is very robust and you should look at implementing VC if not already done so.

In VC we can connect upto 10 physical 1RU switches to form a virtual chassis and following advantages:
1. Use of dedicated VC cable, or use standard fibre cables 1G/10G/40G.
2. As we can use either of dedicated VC cables or standard fibre cables the usual limitation of cable length is eliminated. Fibre can run upto a max 80 KM. So two switches apart by upto 80KM And connected using a fibre cable can be part of VC.
This about a building with different floors, each having a switch and upto 10 switches acting as a single logical switch.
3. Unified management. Single IP for configuration, management, troubleshooting and OS upgrades.
4. Allows a mix of 1G, 10G, 40G switches in a single VC with options of copper/fiber/POE/POE+/non-POE switches in a single VC.
5. Natively supports HA [non-stop routing and non-stop switching].
6. Has concept of master/backup.
7. No single point of failure.

Hope this helps.
If you are interested to know about a specific model or need more details please let us know.

Thank you.
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LVL 17

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by:pergr
pergr earned 1600 total points
ID: 40432188
With the newer EX  (EX3300/EX4300/EX4600) you can typically use DAC cables (10G and 40G) as VC-cables. Very economical...
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by:leblanc
ID: 40432627
I have ex4200 and ex2200. My ex4200 are in on the 1st floor (datacenter) and 2nd floor. I have 3 on each floor. the ex2200 are on the 3rd and 4th floor. Can I use VC and link aggregation between the ex4200 on the 1st and 2nd floor? Thx
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LVL 17

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by:pergr
pergr earned 1600 total points
ID: 40432890
On the EX4200 you can only use the sfp ports for VC, and not the normal copper ports. If you have fiber between the floors then you can configure them for VC.

On the EX2200 you can use also the copper ports as VC ports.
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Author Comment

by:leblanc
ID: 40433301
"On the EX4200 you can only use the sfp ports for VC". Currently, my ex4200s are stack together with the special cables in the back. So is it using VC currently? I have only 1 IP address for each stack of 3 ex4200 switches.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:pergr
ID: 40433368
Yes, then you are using VC already.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:leblanc
ID: 40433401
I see. So now I can connect my ex4200 stack on the 1st to the 2nd floor and form a VC. To do that I will use my SFP fiber connection. I see that I have 2 SFP ports available, should I use link aggregation to bundle the 2 ports to a 2 Gbps? Thx
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LVL 17

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by:pergr
pergr earned 1600 total points
ID: 40433704
The VC ports will "automatically" aggregate without any need to configure that.

Essentially, by just configuring the relevant SFP ports as VC ports, you will automatically get one single VC and the two links between the floors will both be up and forward traffic.

However, you need to be a bit careful when doing that operation. As you know, on each floor you now have two physical switches, but a single logical switch - so a single config file. When you merge all 4 switches into one single logical switch, with one single configuration file... you will essentially loose one of the two config files you have now.

https://www.juniper.net/techpubs/en_US/junos14.1/topics/task/installation/virtual-chassis-ex4200-member-adding-cli.html

https://www.juniper.net/techpubs/en_US/junos14.1/topics/example/virtual-chassis-ex4200-multiple-wiring-closets.html

In short, it is probably best to take a copy of the config on the 2nd floor, and then first reset those switches to factory default, configure the SFP ports on all 4 switches as VC ports, and then connect one switch at a time on the 2nd floor until you have a single VC. Then you take out the old config, and put the ports into the right VLANs.
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