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High Availability for the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches

Multilayer Switch Feature Card (MSFC)
Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series multilayer
Cisco IOS® Software redundancy
switches have become an essential component
features—Dual Router Mode (DRM),
of a sound network design in today’s enterprise
and service provider environments. Having
(config-sync), and Single Router
such a critical role, the Cisco Catalyst 6500
Mode (SRM).
Series must provide a reliable switching
This paper is based on the hybrid software
platform, and offer high performance and
model for the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series
intelligent network services. The high
(Cisco Catalyst OS on the supervisor engine,
availability of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series
Cisco IOS Software on the MSFC) and not on
even has the capability to maintain an IP phone
the Cisco IOS Software model (native Cisco
call during supervisor engine failover. This
IOS Software). All feature set references will
paper discusses how the Cisco Catalyst 6500
be specifically described as a Cisco Catalyst
Series provides high system availability
OS feature on a supervisor engine or a Cisco
through hardware and software redundancy
IOS Software feature on an MSFC. The Cisco
features, and focuses specifically on the
Catalyst OS High Availability feature was first
following three areas:
introduced in the Cisco Catalyst OS 5.4 release
Fabric redundancy of the Switch Fabric
and is available for both Cisco Catalyst
Module (SFM)
Supervisor Engine 1A and Catalyst Supervisor
Engine 2. Support for DRM began in Cisco
Supervisor engine redundancy with the Cisco
IOS Software Release 12.0(7)XE1. The MSFC
Catalyst Operating System (Catalyst OS), High
config-sync redundancy feature for DRM is
Availability feature, which includes the stateful
supported in Cisco IOS Software Release
protocol redundancy and image versioning
12.1(3a)E4 for both the MSFC and MSFC2.
The MSFC SRM feature was first supported
with Cisco Catalyst OS 6.3.1 and Cisco IOS
Software Release 12.1(8)E2 for the MSFC2.
Figure 1
This paper is the second version of the original
The Cisco Catalyst 6500
that was written in September 2000. This
Series WS-6503,
version includes some updated sections for
WS-C6506, WS-C6509,
WS-C6509-NEBS, and
more precise understanding and a discussion of
Although component-level redundancy is very
important, a high-availability network design
relies on the proper combination of individual
system redundancy and overall network
Cisco Systems, Inc.
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