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Unlocking the Potential of Cisco Virtual Stacking for Simplified Network Management

Unlocking the Potential of Cisco Virtual Stacking for Simplified Network Management

Managing enterprise networks is not an easy task.

But, what if it could be?

That might be an overstatement, but what if there was a tool that enables you to scale your networks with less overall time and energy put into design and management?

That tool does exist, and it’s known as virtual stacking. Today, we’re going to specifically look at Cisco’s take on virtual stacking to show you what might be possible.

What Is Cisco Virtual Stacking?

Before we can get into the strengths and applications of virtual stacking, it’s important to cover what that actually means. Cisco offers a couple of different takes on virtual stacking, from Catalyst StackWise to Meraki cloud management, but they all boil down to a simple idea.

A Cisco virtual stack allows you to connect switches into a logical stack without the need for direct, physical connections. The stacks do have to be connected at some point, but you can virtually stack switches together that are not in the same room or even in the same building. That’s a powerful tool.

At the same time, virtual stacking allows you to create and manage virtual switches. These are networking nodes that don’t have a physical location in your network. This unlocks a lot of networking options that you will see in later sections.

How Do You Make the Most of Virtual Stacking?

Virtual stacking is an interesting concept at the least. In reality, it’s one of the most powerful tools in modern networking. Let’s explore what that power actually looks like.

Creating and Managing Virtual Switches

Much of the power of virtual stacking is found in your ability to control network topology without physically redeploying all of your networking nodes. You can create virtual switches where you need them to govern the flow of traffic and insert and remove nodes as needed. Virtual stacking allows you to combine physical switches into a single virtual unit, reducing nodes when that makes sense for your topology.

Efficient topology is usually your governing factor. You can create virtual segmentation as needed — especially for security purposes. Ultimately, you’re trying to minimize disruptions to the flow of traffic and maximize efficiency to make everything faster.

This allows you to simplify the overall network configuration, as efficient topologies are usually simpler topologies. Simplified configurations can make network administration easier, cutting costs in that area and freeing up resources for other aspects of networking — such as planning for the future or deploying new projects.

Centralized Control

The other extremely powerful advantage of virtual stacking comes from centralized control. Meraki virtual stacking serves as a perfect example. This is a cloud-based virtual stacking environment. With it, you can control up to 10,000 ports from a single portal.

Note that the switches don’t have to be anywhere near each other or directly connected in a physical stack. They just need access to the cloud, and you can do everything else virtually.

This centralized control makes configuration and management much faster and far more powerful. You can configure 10,000 ports in a single management interaction. It’s difficult to stress just how much time that can save.

Naturally, this type of cloud management enhances scalability. You can add ports to the network wherever you need them and still manage them virtually from the cloud. Potentially, you can save massively on cables and hardware, by simply deploying switches ad hoc in the most cost-effective manner possible. Doing so, you are still utilizing your Cisco virtual switch stack to precisely control the greater network, directing resources exactly as you need them.

In addition to network scalability, you also get maximum agility, and for the same reasons. The ability to stack switches regardless of their location changes the entire game for network design and management, and you can redistribute networking resources from a single location across even the largest enterprise networks.

Ultimately, virtual stacking Cisco tools encompass a massive concept with many applications, and it’s too much to cover everything in a single discussion like this. But as you explore virtual stacking, the possibilities will become clear.

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