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Colocation data center options offer organizations significant cost-savings and optimization benefits, but they often overlook one of the most important benefits: remote hands support services.
These services can improve the data center experience and multiply cost-savings for organizations. Remote hands teams have a knowledge of the data center facility that helps them manage a customer's deployment more efficiently and effectively. A remote hands support team can help an organization maintain control of any colocated technology assets without the need for constant on-site visits.
Organizations that use their own resources at a colocated facility should consider the switch to remote hands data center support. IT managers can enjoy less downtime and faster incident troubleshooting and resolution, and they can reassign their internal teams to higher-value projects that directly affect business objectives.
Traditional colocation vs. a remote hands data center
In a regular colocated data center, organizations rent space for network hardware and often share the building, cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security of the facility with other customers. Maintenance and troubleshooting of problems with owned equipment is an admin's responsibility and is handled by the organization's off-site IT team.
Remote hands support is a service where customers can delegate IT management and maintenance to the data center's on-site technicians. They look after customer hardware and equipment, perform monitoring, troubleshooting and maintenance activities as part of the service contract.
Key components of remote hands offerings
Most colocation data center providers, such as Digital Realty, Equinix and 365 Data Centers, offer remote hands data center support around the clock and year-round. The exact services an organization can expect from a remote hands service provider can vary, but most cover:
- Moving or securing network cables
- Network router and switch configuration
- Server refreshes and reboots
- Inventory management and labeling
- Handling shipping and receiving requests for hardware and equipment
- Reporting on equipment performance
Pricing for remote hands services depends on the colocation provider. Some bill in 15- or 20-minute increments, some allow customers to pay for a specific number of hours per month, while others include the fee in their monthly colocation invoices. Admins should confirm the pricing structure for a remote hands data center setup as a part of contract negotiation to avoid any surprise fees.
Five benefits to remote hands support for colocation
If an organization considers switching to a remote hands data center, there are a few main benefits to look for, and potentially include, in a service contract.
1. Smoother installations
An in-house team is familiar with its organization's inner workings and network requirements, but once the hardware gets placed in a colocated data center, it's all new territory. Admins must get familiar with the new facility, its systems and operations, and access protocols. This requirement can potentially cause delays during equipment installation and establishing facility access. Having experienced employees familiar with the facility's layout and skilled at setting up a variety of network infrastructure makes any implementation go smoothly.
2. On-site maintenance
With their firsthand understanding of the colocated data center, remote hands data center support teams can perform maintenance on a team's hardware with minimal service disruption. That includes regular infrastructure monitoring and facilities upkeep, so they can quickly identify problems and immediately address them. There's no delay or service lag of waiting for an organization's team to arrive at the facility; they're already there.
3. Less downtime
With a remote hands team on-site, organizations can rely on a highly available personnel network. They'll enjoy fewer downtime instances as the on-site team regularly monitors the infrastructure, so they can anticipate any issues that may occur. Most remote hands teams do regular tests and drills to keep themselves alert and ready to address uptime challenges, even outside of regular business hours. Given the significant costs to a customer's finances and reputation during an outage, they make sure that they're ready for any type of outage.
4. Faster incident resolution
No matter why or how an organization's network is affected, if an organization experiences downtime or poor performance, IT teams just need it fixed. Depending on the service-level agreement with customers, a remote hands data center team provides 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting support for any infrastructure and related network issues.
Combining intelligent monitoring tools with remote hands support teams is an effective way to keep an eye on colocated equipment. The teams can visually inspect any equipment, while the monitoring software can alert them -- and key IT stakeholders -- to issues before downtime occurs.
5. Maximize internal IT talent
Constant firefighting and reactive troubleshooting can leave IT teams little time to improve their organization's products and services. Using remote hands services can free them from their support burdens. The remote hands teams can take over the task of tracking and monitoring any colocated infrastructure so an organization's teams can contribute to business objectives in a more meaningful way and work on projects that support long-term initiatives.