What is hardware stacking?

JasonTsai Posts: 104  Zyxel Employee
First Anniversary ZCNE Nebula Level 1 Certification - 2019 Friend Collector First Comment
edited July 2022 in Network Reliability
Hardware stacking is directly connecting Switches to form a larger system that behaves as a single Switch or a virtual chassis with increased port density. (As Figure 1)
Usually, the last two ports of your Switch are dedicated for Switch stacking. (Please also check the user guide for details)

Figure 1 Switch Stacking Concept

You can manage each Switch in the stack from a master Switch using its web configuration or console. Each Switch supports up to two stacking channels. Use the master Switch to assign a "slot ID" for each "linecard" non-master Switch in the "virtual chassis" stack.

The main benefit of hardware stacking is to provide high availability and load balancing for servers.
For example, if we stack two XGS4600 series Switches and use link aggregation to connect the two separate Switches to a server with dual NIC, service interruption can be avoided when one of the XGS4600 switches goes offline.

Figure 2 Stacked System