Despite the rise of cloud computing, organizations are still maintaining many applications and services on-premises. The term “on-premises” can be a bit misleading, however. It implies that organizations are buying or leasing real estate, designing the data center environment, constructing the infrastructure, and implementing equipment. It also suggests that the data center facility is right there onsite with the corporate IT team.

In many cases, however, the on-premises data center will be anywhere but. A growing number of enterprises are getting out of the data center business, leveraging a combination of cloud services, colocation facilities and other offsite IT infrastructure. As noted in CBRE Group’s recent Data Center Trends Report, these organizations are looking to get out from under the costs, risks and headaches of maintaining their own data centers.

When organizations are building out data centers, they are locating them in geographic areas that are safe and economical. Locations such as Ireland with temperate climates that make it feasible to use outside air to cool data center equipment. Places like Las Vegas that are seismically stable and fairly well isolated from extreme weather events. Edge data centers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets that bring IT services closer to users and offer more cost-efficient space.

So how do IT teams manage the equipment in these far-flung locations? Much of the work can be handled remotely with increasingly sophisticated management tools. But what happens in situations when IT needs to physically access equipment that’s located across the country or on the other side of the globe? Travel to remote data centers is costly, disruptive, and highly inefficient.

Some data center operators offer “remote hands” and “smart hands” services to assist in these situations. Remote hands services cover very basic tasks such as rebooting a server, disconnecting and reconnecting cables, and checking and reporting on indicators. These services are typically covered in the data center contract.

Smart hands services are more complex, and can run the gamut of tasks that an IT team might handle. These services might include the unboxing, setup and configuration of new IT equipment, cabling and cable management, and the testing and troubleshooting of circuits, power distribution units and cooling units. As the name implies, smart hands services require a certain level of IT knowledge, and are usually billed on an hourly basis.

Remote hands and smart hands services are invaluable, not only for distant data centers but when in-house IT teams are overstretched or lack certain skill sets. Thus, it’s important to understand what services are included in your colocation contract, and the hourly rate for those that aren’t, so that you aren’t surprised when you get the bill.

Not all colocation providers offer smart hands services. Even when they do, the range of available skills is naturally limited. Rahi Systems can fill those gaps, ensuring that the right technical and engineering resources are available, anywhere in the world. We also offer a full suite of managed services, enabling organizations to offload non-strategic operational tasks to our experienced team.

The most sophisticated remote management tools won’t help if you need to physically install, move or manage equipment in a distant data center. Remote hands and smart hands services play an important role in today’s IT operations, providing the skills and resources needed to perform tasks that must be handled onsite.

 

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