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I didn't think that etherchannel was different from link aggregation, just that aggregation required a different etherchannel mode ('lacp' mode instead of the standard mode).
But yes, I think SunTrunking and traditional etherchannel were a de-facto standard of sorts from Cisco, while link aggregation/802.3ad is the newer industry standard and they're not equivalent at the network layer. (apologies, and I hope someone corrects me if I've misstated that).
Link aggregation supports any GLD3 driver while Sun Trunking supports a particular set of interfaces. There may be some overlap, but yes, the support levels are not the same.
SunTrunking compatible interfaces are spelled out explicitly in the SunTrunking documentation. I haven't looked at it in a while, but I don't recall those two being supported. They should be GLD3 drivers, though.
I hope you can convice your network folks that 802.3ad is the "way of the future" or something like that. Good luck!
That's correct. They both split traffic over multiple links.
How about documentation?
mentions that link aggregation uses the IEEE 802.3ad standard. If your switch conforms to that it should work. If it doesn't, it probably won't.
Cisco docs on 802.3ad
I don't know any cisco term referring to "pure" etherchannel, so I don't know how to answer that. Both LACP and PAgP are link management protocols that cisco can use. I'm supposing that you're asking if the cards will work with PAgP management, but I'm not sure.
suggests that I've been incorrect about 802.3ad being a "new" thing and that SunTrunking 1.3 also uses it.
The SunTrunking 1.3 docs here:
in chapter 1 (Overview) list six cards. I don't think yours are any of them, so SunTrunking is out.
Because LACP "only" manages the link configuration rather than driving the data, it seems to me that both the link-aggregation and cisco sides could work without LACP being present, but the management of the links might be wonky.
So without LACP, the links have to be configured manually, but I don't yet see anything that states that the two sides will not communicate if that is done.
Further, the 'dladm' man page says that one valid lacp mode on the Solaris is "off", so it must have some functionality without LACP. I would imagine that will required some sort of manual link configuration on the cisco side. (The solaris side is not going to do PAgP).
When the www.opensolaris.org boards come back up, I would recommend posting this question in the "networking" discussion group.
Firstly, PAGP is Cisco proprietary so Solaris will not support it. Whilst LACP mode off is valid, it does as it says on teh tin, i.e. that interface won't become a member of the aggregation. You will 4eed to set one end at least to active. I know of an instance with 8 channels between a Cisco 6509 and Solaris using nxge and bge interfaces.