Image Number 4 for United States Patent #8018891.
In general, techniques are described in which a plurality of network switches automatically configure themselves to operate as a single virtual network switch. A virtual switch is a collection of individual switch devices that operate like as single network switch. As described herein, network switches in a network that are capable of participating in a virtual switch may automatically discover one another. The participating network switches may then elect one of the participating switches as a master switch. The master switch may generate forwarding information and store the forwarding information in the participating switches, including the master switch. The forwarding information causes the participating switches to act like a single network switch.