Stacking Dell PowerConnect M8024-k 10Gb Switches

Dell PowerConnect m8024-kI am currently building out a Dell m1000e blade chassis for a new datacenter build and ran across a problem that was far more difficult than necessary due to a lack of decent documentation.  One of the fabrics in the blade enclosure contains Dell M8024-k 10Gb/s PowerConnect switches.  These switches had a recent firmware release that enabled stacking functionality similar to what is capable with Cisco 3750 switches, but instead of using a special stacking cable, these switches will stack with any number of standard 10Gb/s ethernet connections.  This was ideal for our situation as the upstream equipment we are connecting to is a pair of Nexus 5548s and we were particularly interested in using vPC for the connectivity to the chassis.  After multiple failed attempts, and several conversations with Dell engineers, I have found the correct process for configuring these switches for stacking.

 

  1. Start with both switch blades out of the enclosure
  2. Insert the primary switch and connect to the console port for configuration
  3. Enter configuration mode
  4. Type the following command to enable stack mode:  console(config)#stack
  5. You should now see the following prompt:  console(config-stack)#
  6. Type the following commands for each port you want to use for stacking:  console(config-stack)#stack-port tengigabitethernet 1/0/19 stack (replacing 1/0/19 with the correct port number you are using to stack the switches)
  7. Restart the primary switch by issuing the reload command
  8. Once the primary switch has completely reloaded, insert the secondary switch and connect to the console port.  Do not connect the stacking cables at this point.
  9. Repeat steps 3-6 on the secondary switch
  10. Connect all stacking ports with appropriate 10Gb/s cabling
  11. Restart the secondary switch by issuing the reload command
  12. Go get a cup of coffee or stronger beverage if you have been at this for a while.  The secondary switch will renumber all of it’s interfaces as well as some other automated configuration changes.  This boot will take a while.  If you are connected to the console it will look as if the process has frozen…it has not.  In stacked mode you are only able to manage the single management point from the console of the primary switch.

 

That’s it…unfortunately the admin/config guide doesn’t state anything about the reloads that need to occur to make this happen or the order the commands need to be entered.  This process is in no way something that can be done online so if you are modifying a system that is production ensure that you have an appropriate maintenance window.

1 comment

  1. Hi Jordan, I am deploying 2 x 6348s (LAN) and 4 x M8024-k (Storage). I have been advised to create 2 stacks with the 4 x M8024-k, but B1 and C1 stacked together (2 Ports) and B2 and C2 stacked together (2 ports) – OR should it be B1 and C2 and C1 and B2, this allows firmware upgrades to take place without losing connectivity to the SAN. I am also looking to create a LAG between the 4 x 8024-k switches on the other ports? what are your thoughts? Also if i stack do i still follow your process?

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