device supports simultaneous, parallel connections between Layer 2 Ethernet segments. Switched connections between Ethernet segments last only for the duration of the packet. New connections can be made between different segments for the next packet.
solves congestion problems caused by high-bandwidth devices and a large number of users by assigning each device (for example, a server) to its own 10-, 100-, 1000-Mbps, or 10-Gigabit collision domain. Because each LAN port connects to a separate Ethernet collision domain, servers in a switched environment achieve full access to the bandwidth.
Because collisions cause significant congestion in Ethernet networks, an effective solution is full-duplex communication. Typically, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet operates in half-duplex mode, which means that stations can either receive or transmit. In full-duplex mode, which is configurable on these interfaces, two stations can transmit and receive at the same time. When packets can flow in both directions simultaneously, the effective Ethernet bandwidth doubles. 1/10-Gigabit Ethernet operates in full duplex only.
A VLAN is a switched network
that is logically segmented by function, project team, or application, without
regard to the physical locations of the users. VLANs have the same attributes
as physical LANs, but you can group end stations even if they are not
physically located on the same LAN segment.
Any switch port can belong to
a VLAN, and unicast, broadcast, and multicast packets are forwarded and flooded
only to end stations in that VLAN. Each VLAN is considered as a logical
network, and packets destined for stations that do not belong to the VLAN must
be forwarded through a bridge or a router.
All ports, including the
management port, are assigned to the default VLAN (VLAN1) when the device first
comes up. A VLAN interface, or switched virtual interface (SVI), is a Layer 3
interface that is created to provide communication between VLANs.
The devices support 4094 VLANs
in accordance with the IEEE 802.1Q standard. These VLANs are organized into
several ranges, and you use each range slightly differently. Some of these
VLANs are reserved for internal use by the device and are not available for
Inter-Switch Link (ISL)
trunking is not supported on the Cisco NX-OS.
Private VLANs provide traffic separation and security at the Layer 2 level.
A private VLAN is one or more pairs of a primary VLAN and a secondary VLAN, all with the same primary VLAN. The two types of secondary VLANs are isolated and community VLANs. Hosts on isolated VLANs communicate only with hosts in the primary VLAN. Hosts in a community VLAN can communicate only among themselves and with hosts in the primary VLAN but not with hosts in isolated VLANs or in other community VLANs.
Regardless of the combination of isolated and community secondary VLANs, all interfaces within the primary VLAN comprise one Layer 2 domain, and therefore, require only one IP subnet.
This section discusses the implementation of the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) on the software. Spanning tree is used to refer to IEEE 802.1w and IEEE 802.1s. When the IEEE 802.1D Spanning Tree Protocol is referred to in the publication, 802.1D is stated specifically.
STP provides a loop-free
network at the Layer 2 level. Layer 2 LAN ports send and receive STP frames,
which are called Bridge Protocol Data Units (BPDUs), at regular intervals.
Network devices do not forward these frames but use the frames to construct a
802.1D is the original
standard for STP, and many improvements have enhanced the basic loop-free STP.
You can create a separate loop-free path for each VLAN, which is named Per VLAN
Spanning Tree (PVST+). Additionally, the entire standard was reworked to make
the loop-free convergence process faster to keep up with the faster equipment.
This STP standard with faster convergence is the 802.1w standard, which is
known as Rapid Spanning Tree (RSTP). Now, these faster convergence times are
available as you create STP for each VLAN, which is known as Per VLAN Rapid
Spanning Tree (Rapid PVST+).
Finally, the 802.1s standard,
Multiple Spanning Tree (MST), allows you to map multiple VLANs into a single
spanning tree instance. Each instance runs an independent spanning tree
Although the software can
interoperate with legacy 802.1D systems, the system runs Rapid PVST+ and MST.
You can use either Rapid PVST+ or MST in a given VDC; you cannot mix both in
one VDC. Rapid PVST+ is the default STP protocol for Cisco NX-OS devices.
Cisco NX-OS uses the extended system ID and MAC address reduction; you
cannot disable these features.
In addition, Cisco has created
some proprietary features to enhance the spanning tree activities.
Rapid PVST+ is the default spanning tree mode for the software
and is enabled by default on the default VLAN and all newly created VLANs.
A single instance, or topology, of RSTP runs on each configured VLAN, and each Rapid PVST+ instance on a VLAN has a single root device. You can enable and disable STP on a per-VLAN basis when you are running Rapid PVST+.
software also supports MST. The multiple independent spanning tree topologies enabled by MST provide multiple forwarding paths for data traffic, enable load balancing, and reduce the number of STP instances required to support a large number of VLANs.
MST incorporates RSTP, so it also allows rapid convergence. MST improves the fault tolerance of the network because a failure in one instance (forwarding path) does not affect other instances (forwarding paths).
Changing the spanning tree mode disrupts the traffic because all spanning tree instances are stopped for the previous mode and started for the new mode.
You can force specified interfaces to send prestandard, rather than standard, MST messages using the command-line interface.
software supports the following Cisco proprietary features:
Spanning tree port types—The default spanning tree port type is normal. You can configure interfaces connected to Layer 2 hosts as edge ports and interfaces connected to Layer 2 switches or bridges as network ports.
Bridge Assurance—Once you configure a port as a network port, Bridge Assurance sends BPDUs on all ports and moves a port into the blocking state if it no longer receives BPDUs. This enhancement is available only when you are running Rapid PVST+ or MST.
BPDU Guard—BPDU Guard shuts down the port if that port receives a BPDU.
BPDU Filter—BPDU Filter suppresses sending and receiving BPDUs on the port.
Loop Guard—Loop Guard prevents the nondesignated ports from transitioning to the STP forwarding state, which prevents loops in the network.
Root Guard—Root Guard prevents the port from becoming the root in an STP topology.
Cisco NX-OS devices introduce support for multiple virtual device contexts (VDCs)
on a single switching device. Each VDC is treated as a standalone device with
specific resources, such as physical interfaces, allocated to each VDC by the
network admin role. An administrator is assigned to each VDC and that
administrator has a limited view of the system within that specific VDC.
Faults are also isolated to within the specific VDC.
This VDC concept applies to
all features on Cisco NX-OS, including all Layer 2 switching features.
Figure 1. VDCs with Layer 2 Services. All processes work independently in each
VDC. You can reuse the process identification numbers in different VDCs. This
figure shows how to reuse the VLAN 100 identifier in each separate VDC.
Each VDC acts as a standalone
device with Layer 2 services available. VDCs allow you to share a physical
device among several logical functions. You can provision and assign entirely
separate Layer 2 resources to individual VDCs.
You can configure several
VDCs, and each VDC is a group of physical device resources. You assign
resources and user roles for each VDC. VDCs allows flexible resources as well
as enhanced fault isolation.
VDCs allow the separation of
processes and management environments, providing well-defined fault and
administrative boundaries between logical devices. Each VDC can be considered
as a separate device with its own configuration, resources, users, and
VDCs define different
administrator levels, or roles, that can access and administer each VDC.
Commands outside the scope of a given user role are either hidden from that
user’s view or can return an error if the command is entered. This feature
limits the number of users who can access the entire physical device and
introduce traffic-disrupting misconfigurations.
The following documents are related to the Layer 2 switching features:
Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS Layer 2 Switching Command Reference
Cisco DCNM Layer 2 Switching Configuration Guide
Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS Interfaces Configuration Guide
Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS Security Configuration Guide
Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS Virtual Device Context Configuration Guide
Cisco NX-OS Licensing Guide
Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS High Availability and Redundancy Guide
Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS System Management Configuration Guide