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Understanding EX Series Virtual Chassis

 

This topic introduces EX Series Virtual Chassis. An EX Series Virtual Chassis is a supported combination of interconnected EX2200, EX2300, EX3300, EX3400, EX4200, EX4500, EX4550, EX4300, or EX4600 switches operating as one logical device and managed as a single chassis. Switches in a Virtual Chassis are called member switches.

For information on EX8200 Virtual Chassis, see Virtual Chassis Feature Guide for EX8200 Switches.

Virtual Chassis Support on EX Series Switches

In an EX Series Virtual Chassis, you can interconnect standalone switches in the following combinations into one logical device, and manage the logical device as a single chassis:

  • EX2200 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to four EX2200 switches.

  • EX2300 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to four EX2300 switches or up to four EX2300 multigigabit model switches (EX2300-24MP, EX2300-48MP). Starting in Junos OS Release 18.4R1, EX2300 multigigabit model switches can also be combined with other EX2300 switches in the same Virtual Chassis, which operates as a non-mixed Virtual Chassis.

  • EX3300 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten EX3300 switches.

  • EX3400 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten EX3400 switches.

  • EX4200 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten EX4200 switches.

  • EX4300 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten EX4300 switches, including multigigabit models (EX4300-48MP). An EX4300 Virtual Chassis operates as a non-mixed Virtual Chassis if it is composed of only EX4300 multigigabit model switches, or composed of any combination of any other EX4300 switches excluding the multigigabit models. An EX4300 Virtual Chassis operates as a mixed EX4300 Virtual Chassis if it is composed of EX4300 multigigabit model (EX4300-48MP) switches mixed with any other EX4300 model switches.

  • EX4500 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten EX4500 switches

  • EX4550 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten EX4550 switches

  • EX4600 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten EX4600 switches.

  • Mixed EX4200 and EX4500 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten total EX4200 and EX4500 switches

  • Mixed EX4200 and EX4550 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten total EX4200 and EX4550 switches

  • Mixed EX4200, EX4500, and EX4550 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten total EX4200, EX4500, and EX4550 switches

  • Mixed EX4300 and EX4600 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten total EX4300 (excluding multigigabit models) and EX4600 switches. The member switches in the master and backup Routing Engine roles must be EX4600 switches.

  • Mixed EX4500 and EX4550 Virtual Chassis, composed of up to ten total EX4500 and EX4550 switches

Table 1 lists the initial Junos OS release that supports each EX Series Virtual Chassis combination. “N/A” indicates the combination is not supported. Switches must be running the same version of Junos OS software to join a Virtual Chassis, although the images might be different on different types of switches when mixed hardware models are supported together in a Virtual Chassis.

Table 1: Minimum Junos OS Release by Virtual Chassis Connection Type

Switch

EX2200 Switch

EX2300 Switch

EX3300 Switch

EX3400 Switch

EX4200 Switch

EX4300 Switch

EX4500 Switch

EX4550 Switch

EX4600 Switch

EX2200

12.2R1

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

EX2300

N/A

15.1X53-

D50, 18.1R2

(MP

models), 18.4R1 (MP and other models)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

EX3300

N/A

N/A

11.3R1

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

EX3400

N/A

N/A

N/A

15.1X53-

D50

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

EX4200

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

9.0R1

N/A

11.1R1

12.2R1

N/A

EX4300

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

13.2X50-

D10, or 18.2R1

for MP

models

N/A

N/A

13.2X51-

D25, excludes EX4300 MP models

EX4500

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

11.1R1

N/A

11.1R1

12.2R1

N/A

EX4550

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12.2R1

N/A

12.2R1

12.2R1

N/A

EX4600

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

13.2X51-

D25, excludes EX4300 MP models

N/A

N/A

13.2X51-

D25

Basic Configuration of EX Series Virtual Chassis

Some EX Series switches can only form a Virtual Chassis with the same type of switches, while some can be interconnected with other types of switches into a mixed-mode Virtual Chassis. See Understanding Mixed EX Series and QFX Series Virtual Chassis for details on the different types of switches that can be mixed in a Virtual Chassis.

You set up an EX Series Virtual Chassis by configuring Virtual Chassis ports (VCPs) on the member switches, and interconnecting the switches using the VCPs. VCPs are responsible for passing all data and control traffic between member switches in the Virtual Chassis. EX Series switches have one or more the following VCP options:

  • Network or uplink ports that can be configured into VCPs.

  • Default-configured VCPs, which are configured as VCPs in the default factory configuration, but can alternatively be converted into network or uplink ports if desired and reconverted back into VCPs if needed.

  • Dedicated VCPs, which can only be used as VCPs.

See Virtual Chassis Port Options for details on which ports on different EX Series switches can be VCPs.

You can increase the VCP bandwidth between any two member switches by connecting multiple VCP links between the switches. When multiple VCP links interconnect the same two member switches, a Link Aggregation Group (LAG) bundle is formed if the links have the same speeds. For example, if you have four 40-Gbps links configured as VCPs between two member switches, a LAG with four member links at 160 Gbps of bandwidth is formed. Similarly, connecting two 10-Gbps links configured as VCPs between two member switches forms a LAG with 2 member links at 20 Gbps total bandwidth. However, 10-Gbps and 40-Gbps links configured as VCPs between two Virtual Chassis member switches cannot be member links of the same VCP LAG.

Within a single wiring closet, you can add a new member switch to a Virtual Chassis by cabling the member switch into the Virtual Chassis using supported VCP links. You can also easily expand a Virtual Chassis configuration beyond a single wiring closet or over a longer distance by connecting member switches together using uplink ports that are supported as VCPs.

You can set up a Virtual Chassis using either a nonprovisioned or a preprovisioned configuration. If you want to deterministically control the role and member ID assigned to each member switch, use a preprovisioned configuration. Virtual Chassis member switches can be configured into and operate in one of three roles: master Routing Engine, backup Routing Engine, or linecard role. In some combinations of switches in a Virtual Chassis, certain switches are recommended or required to be in the Routing Engine roles. See Understanding Virtual Chassis Components for more information about Virtual Chassis roles.

You can simplify adding switches to a preprovisioned configuration by using the automatic VCP conversion feature (see Automatic Virtual Chassis Port (VCP) Conversion), which automatically converts uplink ports into VCPs on the member switches on both sides of the new VCP links as they are cabled. This Virtual Chassis expansion method is also referred to as autoprovisioning.

EX2200 Switches in a Virtual Chassis

Up to four EX2200 and EX2200-C switches can be interconnected into an EX2200 Virtual Chassis, and cannot be mixed with any other type of switches in a Virtual Chassis.

You can configure and use any EX2200 1-Gbps optical interfaces as VCPs. All RJ-45 interfaces, including built-in network ports with 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet connectors and 1000BASE-T RJ-45 transceivers, can also be configured into VCPs. You can configure up to eight 1-Gpbs interfaces configured as VCPs into a single Link Aggregation Group (LAG) bundle, so in an EX2200 Virtual Chassis, you can have a VCP LAG with a bandwidth of up to 8 Gbps.

EX2200 Virtual Chassis do not support other high availability features such as Graceful Routing Engine switchover (GRES), Nonstop bridging (NSB), Nonstop active routing (NSR), fast failover, and Nonstop software upgrade (NSSU).

An EX2200 Virtual Chassis is configured and managed similarly to other EX Series Virtual Chassis. See the following for details on configuring a Virtual Chassis with EX2200 switches:

EX2300 Switches in a Virtual Chassis

You can connect up to four EX2300 switches into a Virtual Chassis. EX2300 switches cannot be combined into a mixed Virtual Chassis with other EX Series or QFX Series switches, but can be interconnected into a non-mixed Virtual Chassis as follows:

  • Any combination of up to four EX2300 and EX2300-C switches.

  • Any combination of up to four EX2300 multigigabit model (EX2300-24MP and EX2300-48MP) switches.

  • (Starting in Junos OS Release 18.4R1) Any combination of up to four EX2300 multigigabit model switches and other EX2300 or EX2300-C model switches. You do not need to set mixed mode.

Note

In Junos OS releases prior to 18.4R1, you cannot mix EX2300 multigigabit model switches with other EX2300 or EX2300-C model switches in an EX2300 Virtual Chassis.

EX2300 switches do not have default or dedicated VCP ports, but you can configure the 10-Gbps Ethernet uplink ports as VCPs, and use those to interconnect the switches into a Virtual Chassis.

Interconnect EX2300 switches or EX2300 multigigabit switches into an EX2300 Virtual Chassis by configuring uplink ports as VCPs and using SFP+ transceivers. The uplink ports on EX2300 switches also support SFP transceivers, but you cannot use SFP transceivers on uplink ports to form an EX2300 Virtual Chassis.

In all EX2300 Virtual Chassis, any EX2300 switch model can be configured into any member switch role (master Routing Engine, backup Routing Engine, or linecard).

An EX2300 Virtual Chassis is configured and managed similarly to other EX Series and QFX Series Virtual Chassis. See the following for details on configuring or expanding an EX2300 Virtual Chassis:

EX3300 Switches in a Virtual Chassis

Up to ten EX3300 switches can be interconnected into a Virtual Chassis and cannot be mixed with any other type of switches.

Uplink ports 2 and 3 on EX3300 switches are configured as VCPs by default and can be used to interconnect member switches. You can change this default configuration or configure any of the other uplink ports as VCPs.

An EX3300 Virtual Chassis is configured and managed similarly to other EX Series Virtual Chassis. See the following for details on configuring or expanding a Virtual Chassis with EX3300 switches:

EX3400 Switches in a Virtual Chassis

You can connect up to ten of any models of EX3400 switches into a Virtual Chassis. EX3400 switches cannot be interconnected into a Virtual Chassis with any other EX Series or QFX Series switches.

By default, the QFSP+ uplink ports on EX3400 switches are configured as VCPs, or you can configure any SFP+ uplink module ports on EX3400 switches as VCPs. Uplink ports with SFP tranceivers cannot be used as VCPs to interconnect EX3400 switches into a Virtual Chassis.

An EX3400 Virtual Chassis is configured and managed similarly to other EX Series and QFX Series Virtual Chassis. See the following for details on configuring or expanding an EX3400 Virtual Chassis:

EX4200, EX4500, and EX4550 Switches in a Virtual Chassis

Up to ten EX4200, EX4500, and EX4550 switches can be interconnected into a Virtual Chassis. You must set the Virtual Chassis to mixed mode if it is composed of EX4200 switches with EX4500 or EX4550 switches, but a Virtual Chassis with only one type of these switches or with only EX4500 and Ex4550 switches operates as a non-mixed Virtual Chassis.

EX4200 switches have two built-in dedicated VCPs. EX4500 or EX4550 switches have dedicated VCPs on the Virtual Chassis module, and the EX4500 or EX4550 switch must have the PIC mode set to Virtual Chassis mode to interconnect them into a Virtual Chassis. Any SFP, SFP+, and XFP uplink ports on all of these switches can also be configured into VCPs. You can use the dedicated VCPs when the switches are close together, such as in the same wiring closet. Use uplink ports configured as VCPs for switches that located farther away, such as in different wiring closets.

An EX4200, EX4500, or EX4550 Virtual Chassis is configured and managed similarly to other EX Series Virtual Chassis. See the following for details on configuring a Virtual Chassis with these switches:

For procedures on adding a new switch to a Virtual Chassis composed of any of these switcheds in a wiring closet, see:

EX4300 Switches in a Virtual Chassis

Up to ten EX4300 switches can be connected together to form an EX4300 Virtual Chassis. EX4300 switches can form a Virtual Chassis composed entirely of EX4300 switches (not multigigabit models) or entirely of EX4300 multigigabit model (EX4300-48MP) switches as a non-mixed Virtual Chassis.

EX4300 multigigabit model switches and other EX4300 model switches can also be connected together into an EX4300 Virtual Chassis if the member switches are configured into mixed mode. In this case, the EX4300 member switches that are not multigigabit models must also be configured with a special option (ieee-clause-82) when setting mixed mode. The member switches in the Routing Engine role must be multitigabit model switches, and EX4300 switches that are not multigigabit models can only be configured into linecard role. Multigigabit model EX4300 switches cannot interoperate in a mixed Virtual Chassis with any other types of switches.

EX4300 switches that are not multigigabit models can be included in the linecard role in a mixed Virtual Chassis with EX4600 switches or QFX5100 switches. For more details on EX4300 member switches in a mixed Virtual Chassis, see Understanding Mixed EX Series and QFX Series Virtual Chassis.

EX4300 switches (excluding multigigabit models) can also be included as leaf nodes in a Virtual Chassis Fabric (VCF). For information on EX4300 switches in a VCF, see Virtual Chassis Fabric Overview.

On EX4300 switches excluding the multitigabit models, all 40-Gbps QSFP+ optical ports are configured as VCPs by default, and any 10-Gbps uplink module ports can also be configured into VCPs as needed. As a result, an EX4300 Virtual Chassis can have either 40-Gbps or 10-Gbps VCP links, or a combination of both. You can easily add new switches to a Virtual Chassis whether the switch is installed in the same building or at a different site because the ports available to be used as VCPs are long-distance optical ports.

On EX4300 multigigabit models, the four 40-Gbps QSFP+ ports on the rear panel are dedicated VCPs. These are the only ports on EX4300 multigigabit model switches that can be used as VCPs, so any EX4300 Virtual Chassis that contains EX4300 multigigabit model switches can have only have VCP links that are 40 Gbps.

An EX4300 Virtual Chassis is configured and managed similarly to other EX Series and QFX Series Virtual Chassis. See the following for details on configuring and expanding an EX4300 Virtual Chassis:

EX4600 Switches in a Virtual Chassis

EX4600 switches can act as member switches in a non-mixed Virtual Chassis—a Virtual Chassis composed entirely of EX4600 switches—and also operate in a mixed Virtual Chassis with EX4300 switches. Any EX4300 switches except multigigabit models (EX4300-48MP) can be interconnected with EX4600 switches as a mixed EX4600 Virtual Chassis.

You can interconnect up to ten EX4600 switches or a combination of up to ten EX4600 and EX4300 switches into an EX4600 Virtual Chassis. However, in a mixed Virtual Chassis with EX4600 and EX4300 switches, EX4600 switches must be in the master and backup Routing Engine roles; EX4300 member switches cannot be configured into the Routing Engine role. As a result, at least two of the member switches in a mixed EX4600 Virtual Chassis must be EX4600 switches in the master and backup Routing Engine roles. See Understanding Virtual Chassis Components for more information about Virtual Chassis member roles.

EX4600 switches do not have any ports that are configured into VCPs by default, but all 40-Gbps QSFP+ and 10-Gbps SFP+ optical ports on an EX4600 switch can be configured into VCPs. Because EX4300 switches support similar VCP options, both non-mixed and mixed EX4600 Virtual Chassis can have 40-Gbps VCP links, 10-Gbps VCP links, or a combination of both.

An EX4600 Virtual Chassis is configured, monitored, and maintained similarly to other EX and QFX Series Virtual Chassis. See the following for more details on configuring and expanding an EX4600 Virtual Chassis, including a mixed EX4600 Virtual Chassis with EX4300 switches:

Release History Table
Release
Description
Starting in Junos OS Release 18.4R1, EX2300 multigigabit model switches can also be combined with other EX2300 switches in the same Virtual Chassis, which operates as a non-mixed Virtual Chassis.