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Stacking and ESX Clusters architecture question

Frequent Advisor

Stacking and ESX Clusters architecture question


I was one of those early adopters of Virtual Connect 1.0 back in year 2008 or 09 I don't even remember anymore. Point is I've changed jobs and been away from it for a while. I'm in the process of onboarding a couple new enclosures at my new company. We plan to run ESX clusters balanced between the two enclosures. I've been reading the latest cookbooks and stacking guides but am still unsure.


We will have 2 Flexfabric modules in each enclosure. We will be uplinking fiber SFP to Fiber Channel and 10GE HP 7506 switches.


My concern is whether or not to stack from a redundancy standpoint. When stacked in a single VC domain, VC firmware must be updated at the same time possibly introducing an outage across enclosures. I recall the firmware upgrade messes we used to get into and don't want to go there... but maybe my concerns are not warranted?


I'd rather reduce the number of 10GE uplinks by stacking but not if firmware updates and such will cause outages.


Any replies are appreciated.



Trusted Contributor

Re: Stacking and ESX Clusters architecture question

Stacking, if done right, should not cause any additional outage compared to separate domains going through an upgrade.

But the upgrade process does all modules at once and then putting that FW into action is referred to as activation. Using VCSU you can change the activation mode to serial or even manual for more control when upgrading.

Now that being said, I am seeing more and more people move away from stacking as 10Gb switch port prices fall. With Min/Max mode in VC4.01 and Multi NIC vMotion, I don't think stacking is all that necessary anymore.
Frequent Advisor

Re: Stacking and ESX Clusters architecture question

Thanks for the reply. I'm leaning in that direction but am still soliciting information from HP sources.