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Configuring a Redundant Hybrid Cloud Connection on Equinix Metal using Fabric Service Tokens

Learn how to configure your network for hybrid cloud connectivity

Configuring a Redundant Hybrid Cloud Connection on Equinix Metal using Fabric Service Tokens

Configuring a Redundant Hybrid Cloud Connection on Equinix Metal using Fabric Service Tokens

One of the great things about Equinix Metal is the amazing Equinix network and internet exchange it's built on top of. Leveraging both the self-serve nature of Equinix Metal and the powerful connections built into Equinix Fabric, this guide will walk through connecting Metal Layer 2 networks with an AWS Virtual Interface and establishing a BGP peering relationship.

This guide assumes you have:

  • An Equinix Metal Account with the ability to create devices, VLANs, and Interconnections
  • An Equinix Metal Project with Some Device setup to do network routing
  • An Equinix Fabric Account with the ability to create connections
  • An AWS account with the ability to make changes to VPCs and Direct Connect

Due to the myriad ways ones Metal and Amazon systems could be designed and architected, connecting virtual gateways into VPCs on Amazon and configuring inter-system networking on Metal are left as an exercise for the reader.

For further reading on connecting services with AWS Direct Connect see the AWS Direct Connect User Guide.

For further reading on Metal's Layer 2 Networking, start with our Layer 2 Overview in the Metal documentation.

Equinix Metal Environment Preparation

Since the network connection into Equinix Metal will ultimately be on Layer 2, you'll need to establish all of the following in a project where either you already have a routing device setup or you will need to configure one to two devices to do routing of remote traffic (depending on desired level of redundancy).

The interconnections we'll be making end up connecting into a particular metro on a specific VLAN (or two for redundant connections) so you'll want to make sure you have this setup to begin with. This can be accomplished through the console under Networking > Layer 2 VLAN > + Add VLAN or using the metal cli tool:

$ metal vlan create -m <metro> -d "Metal-AWS" --vxlan 1049 
|                  ID                  | DESCRIPTION | VXLAN | METRO |       CREATED        |
| 34105cf9-1594-47a2-8c68-2f2e170bb3f1 | Metal-AWS   | 1049  | ch    | 2022-09-30T18:07:53Z |

You'll want to repeat this a second time to create the redundant connection VLAN.

metal vlan create -m <same-metro> -d "Metal-AWS-Secondary" --vxlan 1050

In a few minutes you should have 2 layer 2 VLANs setup in the same metro as a baremetal server now ready to connect up using our interconnection service tokens.

Create Fabric Interconnections

For these next steps we'll need to use the Equinix Metal and Fabric consoles. We'll start first in the Metal Console, currently we cannot create interconnections through the CLI.

  1. After logging into the metal console, ensure you are in the correct organization and project used for creating the device and VLANs during the Environment Preparation.
  2. In the left-hand navigation, select Interconnections.
    Metal Interconnections in the Project Menu
  3. On the Interconnections page, click on the blue button marked Request New Connection.
    Metal New Interconnection Button
  4. Set the type of connection to Fabric VC and select Metal Billed from the dropdown. This will generate tokens to connect from Equinix Metal into any other service already connected into Equinix Fabric.
    Metal Fabric VC Selection Box
  5. Set the location to the metro you've been using, select a descriptive name for this connection, choose an appropriate speed/bandwidth and link it into the VLANs created during the environment setup steps above. In this example, we're creating a connection called "metal-aws" in the Chicago metro and connecting it to VLANs 1336 and 1337 for primary and secondary respectively. Metal Interconnections Settings Options
  6. Confirm details in the connection summary and select Submit Interconnection Request.
  7. The next page should give you information about setting up your connection and give you the service tokens necessary for the Primary and Secondary connections. Keep this page open for reference and open the Equinix Fabric Console.
  8. Once logged into the Fabric Portal, under Connections select Create Connection.
    Fabric Create Connections Drop-down Menu
  9. Since AWS is a popular service, scrolling down to Frequent Connections, you should find AWS right near the top. Select that service. Fabric AWS Service Tile
  10. Select Create Connection under the AWS Direct Connect service. Note: this is not the option labeled "redundant" as that one does not have presence in North America. We'll end up creating 2 Direct Connections to establish that same redundancy. Fabric Creating Connection to AWS Direct Connect
  11. Ensure you have your Amazon Account ID handy, and select Create a Connection to AWS Direct Connect.
  12. Under the connection Origin, select Service Token and paste in your Primary Connection Service Token provided in the Equinix Metal console. Once the site checks the token, you should see your Metal connection information reflected below. In this example, we created the connections in Chicago and that is confirmed. Connecting Using a Fabric Service Token
  13. Select the AWS destination for the Destination. Since our service tokens don't allow for remote connection, this is going to be in the same region as your Metal Metro. In this case, us-east-2 also in Chicago. You may also notice that a local connection provides the fastest round trip time with a latency <1ms. Once confirmed, select Next on the bottom right. Choosing the Destination Location in Fabric
  14. The next screen will ask you to name the connection something meaningful (like aws-metal-primary or aws-metal-secondary), enter your Amazon Account ID, optional purchase order number for internal tracking, and select the bandwidth further down the page. The bandwidth will be limited by your choices made in the Metal portal, in this example, 50 mbps. Once all required fields are complete, select Next. Filling in the Fabric Connection Details
  15. Confirm the connection details and notifications email on the last page and Submit Order.
  16. Soon this connection will be created and we'll need to accept it on the AWS side of things.

AWS Configuration

Once the connections have been initiated from the Equinix side, you'll need to accept these connections in the AWS console and connect it all into your existing cloud for traffic to flow through a virtual interface.

Accepting the Connections

  1. In the AWS console, bring up the Direct Connect service and click Connections. You should see the pending Equinix connections here in "ordering" status.
  2. Click the ID of the connection to bring up the details and click the Accept button in the top right.

Alternately, to accept the connection via aws-cli, use:

$ aws directconnect confirm-connection --connection-id $YourConnectionID

Connecting to your AWS infrastructure

Once the connections move from "Ordering" to "Available", they're ready to be wired up to your existing AWS infrastructure. As mentioned above how you want to connect this will depend on your particular needs and AWS architecture. For more information on how you can configure your Direct Connection on AWS, see the AWS Direct Connect User Guide. But regardless of whether you want a Public, Private, or Transit connection, the Virtual Interfaces should be able to use BGP to peer with a Metal device and advertise the networks between each other.

Interconnections and Routing

At time of writing, in order to get traffic to flow between your Equinix architecture and AWS, you'll need a device (virtual or physical) in the appropriate metro, connected to the appropriate layer 2 networks (VLANs), that is able to be configured as a router. There are a multitude of ways of accomplishing this and all could vary based on your particular architecture so as an example, let's consider setting up a new physical device using an open source router image from VyOS in the Chicago metro.

Metal CLI:

metal device create -m ch -P c3.medium.x86 -O custom_ipxe -I "\?uid\=742e1f49-e756-4743-a293-5df768728a58\&variant\=vyos_packet" -H ch.router.01

The guide will assume you've completed the basic installation and setup of the router, connected the VLANs, and established a BGP peering session with an AWS Virtual Interface. If you're looking for an example of setting up and configuring a VyOS router on Equinix Metal, consider our Equinix Labs Github repository for deploying and edge router with IPSec VPN.

For this guide, we want to separate which physical port on the router is sending traffic to the internet and which is sending to AWS and other VLANs. So first, we'll configure Bond0 to use Hybrid Unbonded networking. For more information on different network types see the metal documentation on Layer 2 Networking.

  1. Navigate to the Networking tab under the Server Management page accessible by clicking on the appropriate hostname on the Manage Servers page of the Equinix Metal Portal.
  2. Click + Convert to other network type and select Hybrid and Unbonded from the listed options. This will present a warning about redundancy as it will remove the eth1 device from bond0, but that's OK for our purposes, so click Convert to Hybrid.
    Converting to Hybrid Unbonded Mode in Metal
  3. Once back on the networking tab, scroll down to the Layer 2 section and select + Add New VLAN
  4. Select the layer 2 interface to which you'd like to connect the layer 2 VLANS and the appropriate VLANs from the drop down and select Add. In this example we're connecting a Default VLAN that might be used to connect to other Metal devices in a private network and the Metal-AWS VLAN where we'll be setting up peering.
    Adding VLANs to an Interface in Metal

Traffic tagged for these VLANs is now being sent to the eth1 port on our VyOS router, but we still need to configure the router's 802.1q settings to receive that traffic, and provide IP addresses and network information. In this example we're using the default IP address for the metal-aws vlan provided by the BGP Peering information in the AWS Virtual Interface. You can find this information in the Management Console or with the aws directconnect describe-virtual-interfaces command. See: View Virtual Interface Details for information.

Information like which ASN, password, and IP addresses to use are largely arbitrary, but have to match both what you configured in AWS when creating the Virtual Interface and on the router. Our example uses the auto-assigned 169.254.x.x address, but this is considered poor practice for a production environment.

  1. Configure the eth1 interface and sub-interfaces with appropriate IP settings. In VyOS that would look similar to:
    set interface ethernet eth1 vif 1336 address
    set interface ethernet eth1 vif 1336 description "local-net"
    set interface ethernet eth1 vif 2020 address
    set interface ethernet eth1 vif 2020 description "metal-aws-primary"
  2. Optionally, test your current connection by pinging the AWS endpoint on the IP address provided in the BGP details:
    vyos@vyos# ping
    PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=1.66 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=1.72 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=1.63 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=64 time=1.72 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=64 time=1.67 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=64 time=4.37 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=7 ttl=64 time=1.64 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=8 ttl=64 time=1.62 ms
    --- ping statistics ---
    8 packets transmitted, 8 received, 0% packet loss, time 18ms
    rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 1.623/2.002/4.366/0.895 ms
  3. Configure BGP peering to share your local network route(s) with the AWS Virtual Interface. In VyOS that would look similar to this:
    set protocol bgp 65000 neighbor remote as 64512
    set protocol bgp 65000 neighbor password 'y0urs3cur3p4ssw0rd'
    set protocol bgp 65000 address-family ipv4-unicast network
    set protocol bgp 65000 redistribute connected
  4. Once configured you can confirm that the peers are communicating in the AWS interface showing the BGP connection as active and if you have your Virtual Interface connected to a VPC, you should now be able to communicate between devices in that private network and the private network on Metal. BGP Status Showing as Up in AWS


While it's impossible to cover every interconnection scenario you should now have an understanding of the basics of what's required to establish such a connection between Equinix Metal and AWS or your cloud provider of choice. This basic building block is a great starting point for transferring data right to where you need it using Equinix Metal as a connections broker. You could, for instance, connect devices in your colocation environment in an Equinix data center to Equinix Metal, and then again from Metal into GCP and AWS allowing you to use the best service for whatever your needs are.

For more information on Equinix Metal Interconnections, checkout our product documentation and our API docs.

If you don't already have an account you can get started with Equinix Metal here.

Last updated

03 June, 2024



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