Use VSF to create high-availability clusters
Hewlett-Packard has come out with a way to use inexpensive 5400R switches to create a high-availability core. Their new clustering utility is called VSF, or Virtual Switch Fabric.
You can connect two 5400R switches together with a gigabit or 10 gigabit ‘heartbeat’ link, configure VSF, and let fly. What does this get you? The ability to create a fully redundant two-switch cluster at Layer 2 that’s a lot simpler than OSPF and a lot more efficient than VRRP. Both switches assume the same IP address, and look to downstream switches as a single virtual switch. Connect one uplink from a downstream switch to each of the two switches in the VRF cluster, and set up LACP trunking. If any 5400R switch goes down the other switch gets all the downstream switch traffic.
You can also set up links to other places–for example, with two links to a local storage system–and load-balance traffic into that system. The two 5400R switches also look to that storage system like a single upstream switch on the other side.
Think of building VSF clusters at any place of your network that needs a high-availability cluster, built at a low cost and with low complexity. (BOB)