I am planning a switch cluster with 2 Cisco 2960G switches for the following scenario:

I have a Layer-2 connection between two branch offices terminated on a switch on each side. My goal is to get a high availability on our HQ side. That means if one of these 2 switches fails, the second switch in the cluster should take over the control and forward the traffic. In a server environement you create a heartbeat link between the cluster-member-servers to check the availability of these cluster-members but how do I realize that with Cisco switches?

I read these articel from Cisco: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/lan/catalyst2960/software/release/12-2_55_se/configuration/guide/scg_2960/swethchl.html

But I donot understand how to realize the cluster with these informations, can someone help me please?

  • Did any answer help you? if so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


Cisco has developed two ways to manage a group of access switches in a somewhat consolidated fashion.

The first on the scene was switch clustering. This provided the means to manage a group of switches utilizing only one management IP address. It did not provide any sort of fault tolerance or centralized configuration (you had to "hop" from the master switch to the others and still configure them individually). Most network engineers felt the benefits of this approach did not out weigh the negatives and it was seldom deployed outside environments where CiscoWorks/LMS was also deployed.

The second approach was switch stacking. This required that the switches provided the ability to be connected utilizing a "stacking cable" that provided a shared control and possibly data plane. It provides centralized management of all switches (i.e. you can configure them all from one switch) as well was fault tolerance as any stack member is a potential master and can take over if the master fails.

Since you mention 2960G switches, AFAIK none of them had the option to utilize switch stacking so you are only left with clustering. I would recommend not clustering them unless you really have a need and the ability to properly manage them. It probably won't provide you any real benefit.

The link you provide doesn't cover either of these two technologies, so not sure how that comes into play at all.

Just to note it in case anyone comes across it and is confused by the terminology, Cisco did also produce a product called a GigaStack. This GBIC solution really has nothing to do with stacking or clustering, but really only provides interconnectivity between switches.

  • Ah giga-stack. I've not seen those "firewire" GBICs in ages. (but I use a bunch of those cables for firewire stacking.)
    – Ricky
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 21:19

I am not sure if clustering is the correct term for your scenario...Plus you did not give much detail regarding what you try to accomplish really.

With the link you included, it shows how to do etherchannel. With etherchannel, you could potentially failover from on link to another between the 2 switches. But you wont be able to manage the 2 switches with one management IP (which is clustering for).

On Cisco switch, run "show interface portgroup (etherchannel group #)" and "show etherchannel (etherchannel group #) detail/summary" will show you the state of the links.

If you are just looking for managing 2 switches with one management IP address, then you need stacking however 2960G can not do that.

  • I expanded my question, if you need more informations please let me know.
    – Maede
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 10:02

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