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Thank you for asking this question in the support community. First, let me state that you started in the right place by referencing the ActivChassis In AOS Configuration Guide. Also, I would like to note that, currently, you will need to use "AC" firmware, as it is the only firmware version that supports ActivChassis (Please, use the AOS Feature Matrix to determine which products and firmware support ActivChassis).
I will attempt to answer your questions as best as I can below:
Q1. ActivChassis appears to only allow membership through Stacking XIMs or SFP+ ports. Am I reading this correctly that LAGs cannot be used to bring the West switches into the virtual chassis as linecards?
- ActivChassis capability is provided by the ports in the module slots on the AOS device. In a stacking XIM module, dual mode ports can be individually set as 16Gbyte ActivChassis ports or standard 10 G Ethernet mode switchports. In a NetVanta Dual SFP+ XIM module, dual mode ports can be individually set as 10 G ActivChassis ports or as standard 10 G Ethernet mode switchports. Front panel ports are not ActivChassis compatible. (ActivChassis is supported on SFP+ XIM modules, but not SFP XIM modules)
- When multiple stacking cables/ports are connected to the master, these ports will be aggregated, and can be configured as linecards, as long as they are in ActivChassis mode.
Q2. Whether LAGs or SFP+s, would the following work:
East1 (Master) -> Stacking XIM to -> East2 (Linecard) -> Stacking XIM to -> East3 (Backup) -> LAG/SFP+ to -> West2 (Linecard) -> Stacking XIM (dual cables) to -> West1 (Linecard) -> LAG/SFP+ to -> East1 (Master)?
East to West distance is about 150 ft.
- If I follow the above logical flow, that design should work.
I hope that makes sense, but please do not hesitate to reply with any questions or additional information. I will be happy to help in any way I can.
Thanks Levi, you confirmed what I suspected about not being able to use the front ports. The only reason I asked is a reseller had led me to believe that LAGs could be used for the ActivChassis connection. Obviously this would be cheaper than running fiber between the two locations and buying the SFP+ ports. I suppose an interim option would be to have two ActiveChassis configurations (East and West) and LAG them together. Then I would only be managing two virtual switches instead of five physical ones. I know even five doesn't sound like a big deal, but we are a custom software development shop and our switching/VLAN requirements are pretty fluid, and there's not a lot of me to go around .
I marked your answer as helpful because I still need your thoughts about additional documentation/site locations and the approach on the "forklift" upgrade. Is there any reason not to update all the switches to the AC firmware but leave AC turned off? I'm assuming that AC is 10.x at heart and would continue to function unchanged until we started turning AC on. And how many people (roughly) are using AC on 1638s?
Thanks again for your help.
Currently, the ActivChassis document linked above is the only documentation we have on this technology. If you have the physical hardware in place, then I'm not sure it would be considered a "forklift" upgrade, because it would be similar to any other feature upgrade, which only requires newer firmware. Depending on when you plan to implement ActivChassis, you can upgrade to an AC version of firmware, and then enable ActiveChassis, when the time comes. Or you can remain on the current R10.x.x firmware, and upgrade to ActivChassis firmware when needed. Eventually, the ActivChassis firmware will be merged into the R10.x.x branch, but that merge date is yet to be determined.
Unfortunately, I do not have a way to estimate how many users have implemented ActivChassis on NV1638s.
Let me know what other questions you have.
Thanks again Levi. I appreciate your time and help.
I just wanted to add to this post that ADTRAN, in response to the request for more documentation on ActivChassis, has released a new document to coincide with our main configuration guide Configuring ActivChassis in AOS. This guide is called ActivChassis Setup/Design/Maintenance Tips and Best Practices.
This guide catalogs the main information from the Configuration Guide and supplements it with some ActivChassis tips for network design, maintenance, and best practices. It is designed to be a document that you can keep referring back to instead of the lengthy Configuration Guide.
Check it out and comment on the document to let us know if it helps!
Thanks Evan, good stuff. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.