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Planning your first cloud adjacent workload

This article discusses the why and when of using Interconnections for your cloud adjacent workloads.

Planning your first cloud adjacent workload

When it comes to bare metal servers, Equinix Metal is one of the quickest and easiest platforms to get started with. Equinix Metal is way more than bare metal servers. Thanks to the power of Platform Equinix. Equinix’s rich history in the networking and data center world allows Equinix to do things that other platforms simply cannot.

In this guide, we are going to examine Interconnections within the Equinix Metal platform, what they are and when you can leverage them.

What is an Interconnection?

Let’s begin with the basics. An Interconnection is the ability to connect your Equinix Metal environment to something external with high speed low latency connection instead of using the public Internet.

Depending on how you Metal environment is currently deployed, you may not need this ability. However, Interconnections bring a significant number of potential advantages to your setup, so it is worth knowing about.

Equinix has a number of models available to allow your Equinix Metal infrastructure to connect to resources like public cloud providers, network service providers, or Equinix colocation cages.

In this design guide, we are going to dive a bit deeper into why this is useful and what options we have when it comes to deploying Interconnections.

Interconnections and Equinix Metal

Now that we know the basics, let’s get into more details of why we would use Interconnections with Equinix Metal.

Interconnections are available in all Equinix Metal Metros, and for a good reason. Interconnections come with a number of benefits over using public Internet connections. What are some typical reasons Equinix customers leverage interconnections?

  • Data Sovereignty and Privacy: Interconnections make it easy to leverage additional resources like the public cloud, while ensuring your data stays exactly where it needs to for compliance reasons.

  • Security: The Internet is not always the best place, especially if we are talking about our sensitive data. With a direct connection, we can simply bypass transferring data over the internet and connect to our favorite cloud provider.

  • Predictability: We can choose the speed of our connection so we know exactly how it will perform and will also reduce the latency by leverage these connections.

  • Cost: By leveraging Equinix interconnections, you gain all of these benefits with cost control built in, you will only pay for what you use, and pay lower data egress charges too.

Types of Interconnections

There are three options when it comes to Interconnections, and each one has a slightly different use case. Interconnections pair well with the Equinix Metal platform, allowing you to design the perfect solution to meet your requirements.

The three types of interconnections are:

  • Metal Billed
  • Fabric Billed
  • Dedicated Port

Let’s take a closer look at where we can use each type of interconnection.

Metal Billed

Metal Billed Fabric Virtual Connections are one of the most commonly used type of interconnections and for a good reason. In fact, many bring their workloads to Equinix Metal with this interconnection type in mind.

This is a Layer 2 connection from Equinix Metal to a Cloud Service Provider within the same Metro, which is a key design point to keep in mind. If you want to connect your Equinix Metal environment to a Cloud Service Provider in a different metro, you will need to use a Fabric Billed connection which we will take a closer look at soon.

With Metal Billed Interconnections, Equinix Metal devices are connected directly to the Cloud Service Provider of your choice (you can find a list in the Fabric Docs), and no additional devices (like an edge router) are needed.

From a billing perspective, you’ll see this connection billed on your Metal invoice. The connection speed available will be determined by the CSP you are connecting to, and just like with Equinix Metal, the cost is predictable. You can find more on pricing, on the product page.

Another key design factor is a single versus a redundant connection, which is something that is easy to lose sight of, especially if you are used to a cloud environment. If high availability is a concern for your use case, deploying redundant connections is important.

When it comes to configuration of these connections, you will spend most of your time configuring them in the Equinix Metal platform, although there are additional configuration components in Equinix Fabric and the CSP’s platform. This Interconnection is quick and easy to get started with.

Taking the example of AWS Direct Connect, leveraging a Metal Billed Interconnection will allow the Equinix Metal environment to connect directly to public AWS services with a secure, fast, low latency connection, truly enabling hybrid cloud infrastructure in a very unique way.

Workloads like AI/ML and databases that require stable, fast, low latency connections. These are some of the workloads that often get “left behind” because they simply do not perform as needed over the Internet.

Another great use case is disaster recovery, and ensuring our data is secure in the public cloud to give us recovery options when we need them.

You can see a great configuration example of redundant connections, read the guide that explains how to create a connection from Equinix Metal to AWS..

Metal Billed Fabric Virtual Connection can be used to connect your Equinix Metal environment to a CSP in the same Metro. You will be up and running in no time at all.

Fabric Billed

Fabric Billed Virtual Connections have a slightly different use case. Fabric Billed Interconnections focus on assuring performance for devices across multiple Metros, whether it is your Equinix Metal environments across Metros or CSPs across metros.

The key differentiator here is the use of a Network Edge device as a router. Network Edge devices are created and managed through the Equinix Fabric portal, and Equinix supports many devices from top virtual services vendors.

Once again, you have a choice of either a single connection or redundant connections, so be sure to choose wisely based on your requirements and use case.

In the case of this type of Interconnection, usage, Network Edge, and virtual device charges will appear on your Equinix Fabric account.

Fabric Billed Virtual Connections are used with Network Edge devices, or when connectivity across Metros is required.

Dedicated Port

Dedicated Port Connections are another type of Interconnection available on Equinix Metal and may be the simplest since they are exactly what they sound like.

With this type of Interconnection, you own and manage the physical Equinix Fabric port. This model is chosen by organizations that want to act as a CSP, and allow other connections from other Equinix customers into their environment. These connections are also used to connect Equinix Metal to your colocated infrastructure at Equinix. If you are looking to leverage Equinix Cross-Connect you will also choose this model.

Which Interconnection Do I Use?

Which interconnection you use ties back to your business requirements, and the overall purpose of your deployment. The best part of Equinix Metal is how flexible it is. For some customers, this means a simple Metal deployment of a few servers will meet their needs. For others, it may be a wider scale deployment that brings in virtual networking devices for additional functionality.

Here are a few quick guidelines to help you pick your interconnection type.

  • For simple single mero deployments, connecting to a cloud service provider in the same metro, choose Metal Billed Fabric Virtual Connections.

  • For more complex deployments that involve multiple metros, or Network Edge devices in either a single metro or multiple metros, choose Fabric Billed Fabric Virtual Connections.

  • If you want to be a Cloud Service Provider on Equinix Fabric, you are connecting Equinix Metal to your colocated infrastructure at Equinix, or setting up connections through Cross-Connect, choose Dedicated Ports.

Many organizations use Metal Billed Fabric Virtual Connections or Fabric Billed Virtual Connections to connect their Equinix Metal environment to the CSP of their choice.

No matter what interconnection type you choose, you will get the ease of use, and predictable cost you are used to from the Equinix Metal platform. Check out the pricing of the Interconnection models on the product page

Getting Stared With Interconnections in Equinix Metal

Now that we have covered what Interconnections are and when to use them, each type of Interconnection has some common configuration steps on the Equinix Metal platform.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are getting ready to deploy your first Interconnection:

  • There is configuration in Equinix Metal for all Interconnection types
  • You will need VLANs (Equinix Metal will let you create VLANs when you create your Interconnection if you do not already have them)
  • You will need IP addresses (from Equinix or you can Bring Your Own)

Here are the basic configuration steps you should be familiar with before you get started.

Log into the Equinix Metal console, and select Interconnections from the left navigation pane.

left nav

Click the blue button that says Request New Interconnection

interconnections overview

You will now be able to request a new interconnection. You can see there are a few configuration options in this screen:

overview of new interconnection options

These options are:

  • Interconnection Type
  • Interconnection Settings
  • Primary and Secondary VLAN (Note, that if you do not have them configured, you can also create them from this screen.)

After you configure the Interconnection on Equinix Metal, you will see a pending request in the Interconnections screen.

interconnection created, but pending

At this point, you will need to continue the configuration in Equinix Fabric, and on the cloud provider platform of your choice.

Here are a few guides that show how to do this in more detail:

The last step to remember is to make sure your Equinix Metal server is connected to your new Interconnection! Remember, Interconnections are a Layer 2 Connection so you will need to reconfigure the networking on your Metal servers to reflect this. You can do this from the Network tab in the Manage Servers pane.

Based on your use case, you would select either Layer 2 or Hybrid for your Network type. Be sure to select the VLAN you added to the Interconnection.

choosing a network for your bare metal server


Metal Billed and Fabric Billed connections are the most popular types of Interconnections and used by many Equinix customers to truly get the best hybrid cloud experience, and connect directly to a cloud provider.

These high speed low latency connections allow workloads to move to the cloud that often got left behind due to latency and reliability concerns, since they simply did not work correctly over the public Internet. These connections are also not only cost effective as they have a predictable cost.

If you want to connect your Equinix Metal environment to your cloud provider, here’s a quick summary of which connection to use.

  • If you are connecting to your CSP in the same metro as your Equinix Metal environment, use a Metal Billed Fabric Virtual Connection
  • If you are using a Network Edge Device, and require cross Metro connectivity to more of your Equinix Metal Infrastructure or a CSP in a different Metro, use a Fabric Billed Fabric Virtual Connection.

No matter which connection type suits your needs, they are quick and easy to set up, and will have you leveraging cloud services in a fast, secure, low latency, and cost effective manner in no time at all.

Last updated

15 May, 2024



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