"Remote Hands" vs "Smart Hands" Services: What's the Difference?

8 Jun 2023 by Datacenters.com Colocation

The COVID-19 pandemic forcing alternative remote work arrangements made companies realize the importance of reliable data center infrastructure. Most of this infrastructure is managed in colocation facilities, many of which are either not allowing customers or vendors in – outside of emergencies – or severely restricting access to prevent having the virus brought inside their facilities. However, data center providers have long since offered services for clients who may not be close to their physical infrastructure. 

What are “Remote Hands” Services?

Remote hands services include tasks such as securing cabling, checking port numbers, observing or reporting indicators on equipment, rudimentary observation of the environment, and server reboots. These tasks are accomplished remotely without the client having to be present at the colocation facility. These services are usually offered as part of the agreement with the chosen colocation facility.

Why are Remote Hands Services Vital?

IT managers usually consider remote hands services when they are leasing space from far away from their physical location. This allows them to manage their data center without having to send technical staff to the colocation facility. 

Remote hands services also allow you to handle IT operations that go down in the middle of the night or during holidays. Support issues tend to happen when we least expect them. Remote Hands services can be deployed round the clock, even when no one from your IT department is available.

Remote Hands Services

Typically, Remote Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that remote hands services traditionally cover:

  • Moving or securing network cables
  • Network router and switch configuration
  • Server refreshes and reboots
  • Hardware and software replacement or installation
  • Power cycling
  • Inventory management and labeling
  • Handling shipping and receiving requests
  • Reporting on equipment performance
  • Audits

What are “Smart Hands” Services?

Smart Hands services include more complex tasks that need someone physically present in the colocation facility to deal with it. Some examples include setting up a firewall, managing data center equipment, media and supply management, complex cable configurations, equipment testing, and general troubleshooting.

Due to the additional expertise required, smart services typically aren’t included in the colocation providers’ fees. Instead, Smart Hands services get billed by the hour. It is essential that organizations coordinate with colocation providers to clarify the services that are not covered.

Why are Smart Hands Services Vital?

There will always come a time when there are too many things on your IT department’s plate. It’s not ideal for any growing company to have an IT team that manually handles all operations within the datacenter. That would require maintaining a larger IT staff as well as providing comprehensive training, two things that significantly reduce your profit margin.

Freeing your IT department from having to deal with infrastructure issues allows them to focus more on value-adding projects. Smart Hands Services strengthen the data infrastructure of companies without compromising their productivity. They offer immediate responses to various data center problems to reduce liability issues and potential data breaches.

Smart Hands Services

Typically, Smart Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that smart hands services usually cover:

  • Configuration of the firewall
  • Complex cable configurations
  • Placement device management
  • Test devices and fix errors
  • Rack and stacking services
  • Shipping and receiving
  • Automated maintenance
  • Setting up and Maintaining Backups
  • Pack and unpack
  • Inventory
  • Detect and respond to threats
  • Moving equipment
  • Operating system and server installation
  • Power cycle
  • On-site and off-site technical support and troubleshooting
  • Remote server restarts
  • Cloud cross-connect

Remote Hands VS. Smart Hands

As previously mentioned, different colocation facilities offer different services. They may offer most, if not all, of the data center support services mentioned above. In terms of services, remote hands and smart hands differ significantly from one another.

Remote Hands services often include initial support services of colocation providers. These involve remote IT support usually kept at a minimum. Simple tasks like cycling a server's power, checking the status of an indicator light, and reporting the status back to the customer are performed depending on the organization’s needs.

In contrast, smart hands services offer IT services beyond what is initially provided by colocation facilities. Smart Hands service covers complex tasks like receiving hardware shipments or performing hardware deployment at an added cost. Organizations can also deploy a technician to the data center to repair equipment such as hard drives and power supply units.


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