Unleashing the Power of Switch Stacking on Nebula

Switch Stacking for building a robust network backbone

Switch Stacking* is an innovative technology that turns multiple physical switch units into a single virtual switch unit. This is achieved by utilizing dedicated switch ports to integrate additional switch units into the switch stack, as shown below.

It presents a viable solution to address the challenges of managing large enterprise networks by providing reliable redundancy to avoid a single point of failure while offering high availability for increased bandwidth and network scalability.

Thus, "Cloud Switch Stacking", or “Cloud Stacking” for short, as the name suggests, is when the configuration and management of Switch Stacking are done on the Cloud. Starting from the 17.10 release, Nebula now supports Switch Stacking on its platform. The Nebula Pro Pack subscription plan is required for the organization to enable this function in Nebula.

Here's a gentle reminder: When building a Cloud Switch Stacking system, it's important for someone to be present to reconnect the cables. Please follow the instructions of the wizard to set up the Stacking system and then reconnect the cables to ensure they are fully set up. Afterward, you can enjoy the convenience of Nebula Cloud management.

Nebula Cloud Switch Stacking

Combing the advantages of Cloud networking, configuring and managing your switch units into a switch stack in Nebula offers the following unique strengths:

  1. The built-in Stacking management wizard allows for easy configuration

    The wizard is a useful tool that guides you through the setup for Cloud Switch Stacking. Whether you are creating a new stack or modifying slots of an existing switch stack, the wizard provides step-by-step guidance to help you complete the configuration easily.

    • Creating a new stack

      The wizard can be accessed through the menu by navigating to Configure > Switches > Stacking management > Create new stack

      The wizard will guide you through step-by-step procedures to create a new stack, as follows. With the help of the wizard, users can easily convert the Cloud-managed switch units into a switch stack. Nebula allows a maximum of 10 stacks in a site.

      The wizard includes the following 4 steps:

      Step 1: Check the requirements before you set up.

      Step 2: Select the Stacking port cable type and the switches for Stacking.

      Step 3: Follow the steps to connect the Stacking ports.

      Step 4: Check the slot status and execute provision to activate the Stacking system.

    • Modifying Slots of a Switch Stack

      To modify the slots, go to Configure > Switches > Stacking management > Select the Stack you want to modify, and the stack units in the stack will be listed on the Slot management page.

      Click on the Swap/Add button, the wizard will prompt you to follow the first step in the procedure. On this page, you can add or replace a slot. Then, follow the remaining steps to complete the process when making the slot modifications.

  2. The centralized platform makes the monitoring and troubleshooting easy

    Cloud Stacking combines the management of your switch hardware under a single pane of glass. Network administrators can access the main switch stack through Nebula to monitor and configure all switch units in that same Switch Stacking effortlessly.

    The Cloud Stacking GUI on Nebula remains relatively the same except for identifying specific switch ports. All port-related settings have been labelled with their respective slot number – “[Slot #] / [Port #]”, as shown below.

    Apart from the aforementioned Switch Stacking and Slot Management pages, Nebula offers the following useful tools that network administrators can utilize when managing and troubleshooting the switch stacks.

    • Switch list

      Combing the Non-Stacking and Stacking switches together, you can see the status and information of all the switches within the site at a glance, making it easy to monitor and troubleshoot.

    • Stack detail page

      The stack detail page displays the in-depth information about the switch stack and shows the port status of each slot in the switch stack.

    • Switch ports page

      The switch ports page displays all the switch ports on the list, including Stacking and Non-Stacking switches. As shown below, the same configurations can be pushed to the selected switch ports in a one-time setting altogether.

    • Clients page

      On the Switch clients page, you can track all the clients connecting to the Stacking and Non-Stacking switches in a single view.

    • Topology

      The stack is also shown in the topology graph, making it easy for you to check the network connection status, as well as rebooting if needed.

Switch Portfolio with Cloud Stacking Support

Zyxel offers a variety of switches with different port speeds and densities to properly scale your switch stack with your network growth.

Series XS3800 XGS2220*(In development)
Port Speed(s) 24 x 10G Ethernet ports
4 x Dedicated Stacking ports
24/48 x 1G Ethernet ports
2 x 10G Ethernet Uplink
4 x Dedicated Stacking ports
Network Position Core Layer Aggregate Layer
Stackable Units 4 4
Support version On-primes Stacking : Supported
Cloud Stacking: ZyNOS v4.80 Patch 2 and later
On-primes Stacking : ZyNOS v4.80 Patch 2 and later
Cloud Stacking: TBD*

*Cloud Stacking support is currently in development.

The concept of Cloud Stacking serves as an extension of on-premises Stacking. Not only does it offer the same advantages, but it also presents more streamlined tools for remote management. If you're keen on delving deeper into the benefits of Stacking, we recommend checking out the video titled "TECHtalk - Switch Stacking: Top 3 Reasons for Stacking”.