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Planning your first bare metal server deployment

A comprehensive overview for deploying your first Equinix Metal server, outlining pre-deployment considerations, hardware requirements, operating system choices, and networking designs to ensure a smooth and efficient setup

Planning your first bare metal server deployment

In this guide, we are going to take a look at everything you need to know in order to quickly and easily deploy a single Equinix Metal server. Equinix Metal is one of the simplest ways to get your hands on bare metal hardware, no matter what your use case is. There are many types of hardware available to meet your requirements, even for the most high performing workloads.

Let’s take a look at a few simple things you can think about ahead of time to make your first Equinix Metal deployment go as smoothly as possible.

Before You Deploy

When it comes to Equinix Metal, the possibilities are endless. At the end of the day, it comes down to solving problems and meeting requirements.

In some cases, you may need a single bare metal server to test something quickly, especially when troubleshooting something that may not be working properly in a cloud or virtualized environment. In other cases, you may be looking to leverage the power of bare metal without the hassle of having to worry about pesky things like data centers, power, cooling, racking, and stacking.

Whatever the case, Equinix metal has you covered.

Before you deploy your first Equinix Metal server there are a few things to keep in mind to make your deployment as quick and smooth as possible.

  1. Create a plan.
  2. Know your hardware requirements.
  3. Know what operating system you will use.
  4. Know your networking design.
  5. Leverage cloud-init.
  6. Add an SSH key to your account so you can access your server after deployment.

Create a Plan

Like any successful deployment project, a little up-front planning can go a long way. When it comes to getting started with Equinix Metal, having a plan in place will ensure you are up and running in no time at all.

In this guide, we walk you through everything you should think of ahead of time, so you can plan accordingly.

Hardware Requirements

Equinix Metal offers a wide variety of bare metal server types. The types of available servers will depend on which metro location you choose to deploy in.

You can see hardware profiles of the bare metal servers available here so you can determine which one works best for your workload.

The next step is to check the Equinix Metal capacity dashboard for availability to help guide you on which metro location to deploy in. You can sort by both server type and metro location. This data can even be pulled via the Equinix Metal API.

Operating Systems

The next step is to know what operating system you are going to use.

Equinix Metal supports many operating systems. If you need something different than what is on the list, you can also use your own OS image using Custom iPXE. This is a good idea to check before you deploy so you can have your OS images ready at deployment time.

Fun fact about Equinix Metal; Alpine Linux, Debian Linux, Rocky Linux, and Ubuntu Linux can all be deployed in 60 seconds!

Networking Design

One of the best things about Equinix Metal is how flexible the network design is. By default, all Equinix Metal servers are deployed with a Layer 3 bonded network configuration. After deployment, you can easily change your network configuration to any of the following:

  • Hybrid Bonded mode – Layer 3 and Layer 2 support on the bonded interface and the ability to attach VLANS.
  • Hybrid Unbonded mode – One interface is removed from the bond and put into Layer 2 mode. The remaining interface continues to have Layer 3 connectivity to be accessed via public IP.
  • Layer 2 Bonded mode – This converts the bond to a strictly Layer 2 bond, losing public Internet connectivity. VLANs are attached to the bonded interface.
  • Layer 2 Unbonded mode – Two network interfaces are available for VLANs, and VLANs can be attached to either interface.

In either of the Layer 2 modes, since public internet connectivity is lost the host can be reached by the Serial Over SSH (SOS) console or by deploying an Equinix Metal Gateway. After your server is deployed you can change the networking mode from the Manage Server pane.

For more details on available networking configurations be sure to check out the Layer 2 Networking Guide.


A simple, yet powerful technique that you can use when deploying servers is to include commands that will be run when the machine is booted up. You can specify instructions in the User data pane before deploying your server. This technique is referred to as Cloud-init.

Screenshot of cloud config

Users most commonly use this technique to update packages on a system, or other system level tasks, but truthfully, you can leverage this technique to do any number of tasks. There are many examples of cloud-init publicly available, and included in our documentation.

SSH Keys

You will need an SSH key to authenticate to your server. During the deployment process, you will be able to select which SSH key to use and your server will be configured appropriately so you can access it immediately after deployment.

To add an SSH key, select Project Settings in the Equinix Metal interface, and click on SSH Keys. Then click Add New Key.

Screenshot of SSH Keys Tab in the Portal

You will need to give your key a name and enter the public key. Then click Add SSH key in the bottom left corner.

Screenshot of Adding SSH Keys Options in the Portal

Need help creating an SSH key? Click View our guide on adding SSH keys in the Equinix Metal interface, or you can find the guide right here.

Spending a few minutes up front thinking about these things will make sure that you are up and running on Equinix Metal in no time!

Deploying an Equinix Metal Server On Demand

Now you are ready to deploy your first Equinix Metal server! It won’t take very long at all. To start, expand your project in the left navigation pane, and select the type of server you would like to deploy. Equinix Metal offers flexible options, such as servers on demand, or reserved hardware with a set reservation length and price. Whichever option you choose, Equinix Metal pricing is very simple, and it is easy to predict exactly what your bill will look like every month.

Getting started with Equinix Metal couldn’t be easier, especially when you take a few moments to decide how you will deploy up front. If you are looking for a more detailed walkthrough for your first deployment, be sure to check out this article.

But let's jump ahead to where we have already deployed a server.

Screenshot of a Deploying Server

You can also see your public IPV4 address in this screen. Once the status has changed to Running from Deploying, you can now access your server. Simply SSH to the IPV4 Address in the Manage Server pane to access your server.

SSHing into Your Server

If you are planning on using a networking configuration other than the default, you can easily change this by clicking on your server name from the Manage Server screen, and selecting Network. Here you will be able to convert to another network type by clicking the Convert to other network type button.

Network Options in the Console

Key Take-aways

It couldn’t be easier to get started with Equinix Metal. In this guide, we outlined a few simple steps to make sure everything runs as smoothly.

  1. Create a plan.
  2. Know your hardware requirements.
  3. Know what operating system you will use.
  4. Know your networking design.
  5. Leverage cloud config.
  6. Add an SSH key to your account so you can access your server after deployment.

Once you have a plan in place, it is simple to get everything up and running quickly.

Last updated

15 May, 2024



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