Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Renumbering a Cisco 3750 Stack

For those of you familiar with the Cisco 3750 switches, their killer feature is their ability to "stack". Stacking sets one switch as the "master" and utilizing stack cables out of the back of the switch, each switch in the stack appears as one. This allows for expandability, and ease of management.

Anywho, one annoyance of stacking 3750s is that an engineer building or adding to a stack can often install switches "out of order" meaning their stack ID does not match their order as-racked. Basically, most English(or any other Western language) speaking peoples. would assume that a group of 5 switches in a rack would be numbered 1-5, top to bottom. If this isnt the case, ASSumptions can lead to some mistakes and mistakes lead to fussy customers. Yes, this can be checked by pressing the mode button on the front of any stack member, but isnt it better to not worry with that and have it right from the beginning?

Anyway, as a best practice, I always set the order as racked to match the stack order. Its not as simple as issuing the renumber subcommand as it won't move your switch port configurations with the move, you have to do some trickery to move the configurations(it even warns you of this when you hit the commands). If you want to renumber switches in a stack, here is a little HOWTO, since Cisco really doesn't go over this scenario, and I've done it a few times.

Stack of 2 switches in a rack, Switch 2 is on top, switch 1 is on the bottom.

Step 1: Prime the switches by setting their new stack numbers
We want 2 to become 1 and 2 to become 2, right?

In config mode:
switch 1 renumber 2
switch 2 renumber 1

Then write your config...simple enough.

Step 2:
Copy the startup config to your favorite text editor via screen scrape or file transfer. Do a find replace on all 2/0/ and replace with X/0/ and then find replace 1/0/ with 2/0/, and finally X/0/ with 1/0/. Basically you have flip-flopped all the port configs between the two switches using the power of find/replace.

Step 3:
Upload the file you edited above and have it overwrite the startup config of the stack. Reload the stack

Step 4:
Test. (of course).


  1. Thanks for the post, this has been a lifesaver for me!

  2. Stack renumbering comment. I am off to do one right now so that is why I am visiting the site. Renumber? Yes good thing to do so there is a predictive failover etc. But moving the config? I do't think so. Why move the config just renumber the ports and be done with it. If I have devices plugged in they stay plugged in and they are now just on 1/0/1 instead of 2/0/1. right? Great site by the way :)

  3. Let's say you have a stack and want to renumber the members, however the 2 members in mind have ports labeled/etc. Do these names follow the rename? In other words gi3/0/4 is labeled "Server1", I renumber this switch to 2, will gi2/0/4 inherit the name "Server1" after it reloads? More importantly, I'm concerned with VLAN memberships, speed, duplex, etc.