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SOS - Serial Over SSH

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SOS - Serial Over SSH

There are times when a server becomes unreachable over SSH due to broken networking, a bad install, misconfiguration, a kernel upgrade, bad firewall rules, etc. Equinix Metal™ offers an out-of-band console that we call "SOS" - which stands for Serial Over SSH.

Requirements

In order to use SOS you will need your server's root password and valid a SSH key. If you do not have the root password or a valid SSH key, you should leverage our Rescue Mode.

Using SOS

First, if you have access to the Equinix Metal web console, you can find the SSH command on the server's Overview page, by clicking on >_ OUT-OF-BAND CONSOLE.

Out-of-band Console on the Overview page

So to access SOS, copy the provided command.

SOS console SSH command

Open up a terminal on your local machine and paste the provided the command.

If you are not just copy/pasting, the SSH command has the structure:

ssh {server-uuid}@sos.{facility-code}.platformequinix.com

You can find the server-uuid and the facility-code in the Instance Details section of the server's Overview.

Server's Instance Details

Note that the facility code is the second part of the Location field, after the hyphen. For example, if the location is SV - SJC1, then the facility-code is sjc1.

If you have multiple keys locally, use the -i flag to specifically choose the correct key.

ssh {server-uuid}@sos.{facility-code}.platformequinix.com
-i </path/to/correct/key>

Once you have connected to the SOS console, you should be able to log in to the server.

[SOS Session Ready. Use ~? for help.]
[Note: You may need to press RETURN or Ctrl+L to get a prompt.]

sos-testing login: root
Password:

We don’t keep a persistent connection to the serial console on every server, so when you connect there won’t be any previous output. You will likely need to press enter/return before it asks for username and password.

Using SOS with Windows

You can use the SOS console to access a server running Windows, but you have to enable Emergency Management Services (EMS) in Windows first. While on the Windows machine, run the bcdedit command as an Administrator.

bcdedit /ems ON

You may have to restart Windows Server for the configuration to take affect.

Enabling EMS is what allows the SOS console to access Windows when something goes wrong. When you open the channel, Windows defaults to an SAC shell, and you can create a command prompt channel using the cmd command. If you want to use CMD instead of the default SAC shell, it will ask you for login credentials. Your username is "Admin." The capital "A" is important. When it asks for a domain, you can leave that field blank.

Limitations

  • This method allows only one connection at a time because servers only have a single serial console.
  • If you try to connect to the console while the server is still provisioning, it will place you in a read-only mode for up to 30 seconds after the server has finished provisioning.
  • If you don't see any output after connecting to the console, (common when using a custom image, operating system, or iPXE) please ensure that you have your console settings setup correctly. For x86 servers, use ttyS1,115200n8. For aarch64 servers, use ttyAMA0,115200.
  • If you're connecting with PuTTY, use the SOS host as the hostname/IP in your PuTTY Session. For example, if your server is in provisioned in SV - SJC1, your SOS host is sos.sjc1.console.equinix.com. When prompted for the username, enter the server-uuid.

Disconnecting from SOS

First logout of the server.

root@sos-testing:~# exit
> logout

Then, in order to disconnect from the SOS console you need to enter ~. (tilde followed by period). SSH only accepts the escape character after a new line, so you may need to press enter/return first, followed by ~..

sos-testing login: ~.
> Connection to sos.<facility-code>.platformequinix.com closed.

This method of disconnection is built into SSH, not part of our console service. If you disconnected previously without logging out, it may automatically log you in on subsequent reconnects.

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