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IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

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lac85
Occasional Visitor

IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

Brand new to configuring HP switches - familiar with Cisco products.

I'm attempting to IRF stack 4 switches together (542A / 543A / 543A / 312). I've had minimal training and from what I've looked up everything says they have to be "like" models to be IRF compatible. How "like" do they have to be - the first 3 labelled switches are HP 5500 series while the last is A5500. My feeling is that the last switch won't be able to stack with the others.

Just wondering if it's even possible using the SFP+ ports in the front (1/0/53 - 54 & 2/0/29 - 30) - Thanks!

6 REPLIES
parnassus
Honored Contributor

Re: IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

Wait, just a question: is the latest one you have on the group a JG312A or what?

If so (the Switch is a JG312A) then all these models:

  • HPE 5500-24G-4SFP HI Switch with 2 Interface Slots (JG311A)
  • HPE 5500-48G-4SFP HI Switch with 2 Interface Slots (JG312A)
  • HPE 5500-24G-PoE+-4SFP HI Switch with 2 Interface Slots (JG541A)
  • HPE 5500-48G-PoE+-4SFP HI Switch with 2 Interface Slots (JG542A)
  • HPE 5500-24G-SFP HI Switch with 2 Interface Slots (JG543A)

belong to the same HPE 5500 HI Switch series or Hardware platform (references on QuickSpecs here and Datasheet here) and so using/mixing them (JG312A, JG542A and JG543A) in a IRF Stack (up to nine units) should be supported provided that you, in deploying/planning that stack, will:

  • follow the HPE 5500 HI Switch series IRF Configuration Guide for requirements/restrictions/best practices (just as example read this): the guide can be found here <-- it's not exactly up-to-date with regard to the actual Release 55xx software release but it should be good enough to start with (also consider to read the HPE 5500 HI Switch series Installation Guide here).
  • ensure that all units partecipating to the IRF Stack use the same exact updated Comware 5.20 software version (actually, as of today, it is Comware 5.20 Release 5501 P27, see here).

Usage of SFP+ ports (present on front panel/provided by expansion slots' modules) or 10GE ports (provided by expansion slots' modules) is not only supported but a requirement (see binding restrictions/IRF configuration guidelines on the IRF Configuration Guide on what "Physical SFP+ Port <--> Logical IRF Port" binding combinations are really supported by those type of Switches especially when you start considering [*] IRF Link Aggregation with IRF Ring Topology or with IRF Daisy Chain Topology).

[*] I mean...when you consider to deploy IRF Link Aggregation instead of using just a single physical port for each Logical IRF Port (up to three physical SFP+/10GE ports can be aggregated together to form each Logical IRF Port on each involved Switch) concurrently with IRF Ring Topology (IRF Port 1 and 2 on each Switch, IRF Port 1 of Switch 1 to IRF Port 2 of Switch 2, IRF Port 1 of Switch 2 to IRF Port 2 of Switch 3, IRF Port 1 of Switch 3 to IRF Port 2 of Switch 4...and so on...until you close the loop into IRF Port 2 of the Switch 1) or concurrently with IRF Daisy Chain Topology (as above without closing the loop).

Edit: eventually, HPE Knowledge Articles like this one explain when IRF Stack can't be formed due different HPE Switch series: HPE 5500 HI versus HPE 5510 HI.

lac85
Occasional Visitor
Solution

Re: IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

Thanks, everything ended up working out - for some reason they didn't reboot when the stacking cables were connected - so once I booted them in the proper order, everything worked. And yes, 312A.

Thanks!

VoIP-Buddy
Trusted Contributor

Re: IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

Hi Parnassus!

Just an fyi... you can only stack up to 9 at the moment on some Comware 7 products.  On Comware 5 it depends on the switch but the usual max is 4.  Some may be a little higher.  There are lots of things that the master has to remember and that takes CPU power which may not be available for high count IRF stacks.

Regards,

David

parnassus
Honored Contributor

Re: IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

Thanks @VoIP-Buddy: I wrote "up to nine units" because that is what I found into HPE 5500 HI Switch Series datasheet (mainly)...would be great to have a detailed matrix with that limit declared (function of Switch Series/Models, Switch Software - Comware 5.20/7.10 with their Rxxxx Branches too - and other possible discriminator factors) to look at...does it exist?

I wasn't able to find that information (it's my fault, probably)...so I wrote "up to nine units" [*] without being able to verify that limit more deeply before (HPE 5500 HI Switch Series Release Notes - where IRF2 is cited - QuickSpecs and IRF Configuration Guide don't report anything about it, only Datasheet reports 9 units as maximum IRF Stack member limit...so I blindly trusted that).

[*] Edit: found it, see below (right or wrong...it's up to HPE now to confirm or to correct):

HPE_5500_HI_Switch_Series_IRF_fabric_size.png

You can find that reference on the HPE 5500 HI Switch Series Installation Guide (not on the IRF Configuration Guide! the expected place...).

Cheers, Davide.

VoIP-Buddy
Trusted Contributor

Re: IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

Hi Parnassus!

Ok... 5500-HI running Comware 7.  I would believe that.  Comware 5, I think up to 4ish depending on the chassis. 

I would agree... someone needed to test that to be sure it works.

Regards,

David

parnassus
Honored Contributor

Re: IRF Stacking - Front 10Gb ports

Hi David!

I'm not sure [*] I follow you (the HPE 5500 HI is Comware 5.20 based but the IRF Fabric size's documented limit is 9 so that must have been - sort of - validated by HPE: isn't it?): what I would say - in general - is that HPE should provide a Comware Software Feature Support Matrix (and, specifically for IRF technology, a detailed limits/restrictions support matrix) exactly like he does with the continuously updated publishing of the ArubaOS-Switch Software Feature Matrix document. That's would be great.

[*] Are you saying that Comware 7 admits IRF Fabric size equals to 9 while Comware 5 admits only up to 4? and so, since HPE 5500 HI is Comware 5 based, the IRF Fabric size limit is actually 4 and not 9 as documented? I mean, I don't believe HPE 5500 HI can run Comware 7 to overcome the supposed IRF Fabric limit of 4.