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Remote support of servers

An enterprise that depends on the stable operation of software and servers must take care of the project uptime. It is necessary not only to prevent possible failures in advance and monitor the server infrastructure around the clock, but also to optimize and accelerate servers.

Remote technical support service provides services for configuration and maintenance of any software for all environments: physical, cloud, hybrid, as well as cooperates with various providers and data centers, using a wide range of technologies. Professional remote server support ensures high availability, high speed data exchange, information security, and minimal downtime in case of technical failure.

Would you like to get free advice from an expert on how to select the right remote technical support service from a European provider? Click here.

Cost of online technical support services

To calculate the cost of services it is necessary to understand how much server hardware (primarily servers, virtual servers, and file storages) should be transferred to remote maintenance. Depending on the volume and complexity of work, a flexible pricing policy is usually applied.

Price range for server support in Europe

  • Working days: 1 hour – €150–175.
  • After 6:00 pm. and weekends, holidays – €225–250(minimum 2 hours).
  • Emergency emergency work – €450 (outside the SLA, urgency).

When it is necessary to outsource servers to IT outsourcing

The need to engage a team of specialists for remote server support instead of a full-time system administrator or system engineer is most often arises when the following occurs:

  • specific tasks that require unique engineering competencies combining knowledge in the areas of administration, development, and operation of server hardware;
  • sudden peak loads on the server;
  • need to develop complex/highly loaded projects.

When the question of subscription-based maintenance of servers and related infrastructure arises, it is most often a task for outsourcing. In this case small and medium-sized businesses acquire competent specialists at a reasonable cost. Large enterprises are more likely to be interested in an audit, as a result of which they receive expert recommendations on eliminating threats, cyber security, advice on optimal infrastructure solutions, reconfiguration, migration or system upgrades, etc.

All technical support staff consists of specialists who regularly undergo training and upgrade their qualifications, have various certificates, and sign NDA agreements on non-disclosure of confidential information. By transferring the issues of server configuration, maintenance and support to a remote service, the freed up resources – time and finances – can be invested in further business development without worrying about the technical side of the IT infrastructure.

Profession remote server support

Remote server support involves the following:

  • use of open source solutions that are easily transferable when migrating to other service providers;
  • providing comprehensive service (availability of on-call operators, system administrators, service and project managers, and specialized professionals);
  • selection of solutions that are favorable and convenient for the client, as well as custom solutions for non-standard tasks.

Remote server support team has a wide range of applicable programming languages (Python, JavaScript, PHP, Java, TypeScript, Go, etc.) and technologies, so it is able to select the most effective tools and solutions to do the following:

  • monitoring (Zabbix, Prometheus stack, GMonit, Grafana) and use of visualization systems (VMWare, Hyper-V, KVM, OpenStack, Xen);
  • administration (Windows/Linux, databases);
  • server applications (Nginx, Linkerd, Apache, HAProxy, Tomcat).

If the client requires any other solutions, the provider is always ready to meet the client’s needs by selecting the optimal tools.

After the initial consultations and signing of the subscription service agreement, the project infrastructure is checked in detail and the documentation is examined. This process can take from a few days to a month, but it is necessary for the most accurate integration of the project into the remote technical support system. If the company uses other monitoring systems, compatibility is ensured so that the client works in a familiar system.

Speaking of error monitoring and tracking services, it is worth noting that the client may have its own version of software installed, while the provider has its own. And this is good, as each software has its own features. In this case, the remote support service can monitor other parameters that are different from those that the client checks. For example, there is no point in monitoring Amazon Cloud, as it monitors itself perfectly well. But the provider can link dedicated connections with Amazon or Google cloud providers via Direct Connect service. In this case, the provider checks the stability of the connection so that everything works smoothly and the client monitors the work of the resource.

Olga Boujanova

A lot of outsourcing companies offer remote server support, but in order to select the most suitable one for your enterprise, you have to find out a lot of factors: for example, what are the terms and conditions of technical support and SLA mode of operation, how responsive the specialists are to the wishes and needs of clients. We have compiled a checklist that will help you find the best solution.

Remote server support services

IT infrastructure outsourcing with maintenance and administration for a fixed package of hours can be used in two ways:

  • by expanding your team;
  • by ordering additional services, such as DevOps specialists. This is due to the fact that software is constantly becoming more complex and its quantity is continuously growing.

Some of the most popular services that are not included in standard online server maintenance packages include the following:

  • Consulting on DevOps methodology, the use of integration and unit tests to reduce incidents when deploying complex, large, high-load projects that go beyond typical tasks (including PostgreSQL monitoring and support, support and two-way integration of tracking systems). Implementation of microservices architecture.
  • Support for continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines (CI/CD pipelines) using Gitlab-CI, Jenkins, Bamboo technologies, etc.). In fact, this is the basis of DevOps methodology for automating the build, customization and deployment of various software. In this case, close collaboration of specialists of different profiles is required, as technological processes are integrated.
  • Deployment of Kubernetes with design of fault-tolerant architecture and security settings (including control of secret variables and encryption of network communication), monitoring of clusters and running services.
  • Load testing to find weaknesses, bottlenecks and to prevent crashes when traffic grows rapidly.
  • Remote database and cluster support and administration (DBA) including database server auditing, backups, troubleshooting bottlenecks and replication issues, and 24/7 monitoring to maximize performance.
  • Assigning a personal manager who knows the client, his problems, peculiarities, and requirements. This simplifies communication, as it is easier for people to address their questions to a familiar specialist.
  • Maintain complete and accurate documentation related to server maintenance with customer access.

Levels of online server support

Different companies have different requirements for technical support. We have distinguished four levels of service provision, differing in the depth of integration of the team of specialists into the client’s business processes. At the same time, the attitude to work, service within the SLA contract, speed of response to incidents remain unchanged, while the number of services provided increases.

  1. The team monitors the project and creates a scheme for its optimization with the possibility of adjustments at the client’s request. It is important for the client to receive notifications of events according to the approved scheme.
  2. Project monitoring with the possibility of adjustment, dynamic change of the project development scheme and instructions received from the client. The client should not only be notified of incidents, but also provided with a solution within the framework of the developed instructions.
  3. At the third level, technical support takes over the analysis of issues and their solution, creates its own instructions for solving incidents. The team conducts monitoring, develops optimization plan and instructions, makes adjustments at the client’s request, and generates full-fledged incident analysis reports.
  4. At the fourth level, technical support interacts with the client’s external contractors: other data centers (e.g. where the client stores configured backups), network infrastructure contractors, and cloud solution providers.

The company’s needs may go beyond the standard ones, so the online technical support service is ready to undertake the implementation of tasks regardless of their complexity.

Benefits of remote server support

Remote server support solves any issue, regardless of the technology stack, ensuring business continuity by finding optimal solutions for any client.

Outsourced server support

Most often remote server support is required for:

  • ERP, B2B, VoIP, CRM systems;
  • team work, backup, antivirus security, spam protection;
  • secure access to corporate networks and resources, IT resource management;
  • highly loaded resources and non-standard projects, the requirements for which are beyond the scope of standard services;
  • mail, game, terminal, file, FTP, VPN, DNS servers;
  • database servers;
  • directory services (LDAP), etc.

Support for different types of servers

Remote support for Windows and Linux servers provided 24/7 is the most popular type of technical support. Basic requirements include server monitoring, IT security, backup and replication system support.

The following are required for Linux servers:

  • package deployment;
  • work with the command line;
  • work with repositories;
  • configuring database software;
  • configuring mail servers;
  • work with non-corporate high-load servers;
  • work with cluster solutions;
  • Kubernetes support;
  • work with DevOps solutions;
  • editing/writing system scripts.

The following are required for Windows servers:

  • corporate systems support;
  • SQL database support;
  • cluster solutions support;
  • enterprise mail solutions (Microsoft Exchange) support;
  • log analysis to detect server software failures;
  • access rights configuration.

Remote support services are also provided for Ubuntu, CentOS, FreeBSD, Debian, Mandriva, and RedHat.

Solving technical audit tasks

  • Audit of server architecture/system settings in order to identify weaknesses, causes of server crashes and unavailability.
  • Description of system functionality and prioritization.
  • Creation of a plan for upgrading, optimizing capacity and performance (it is possible to increase it even without increasing capacity).

Solving security challenges

  • Improvement of security and protection against data leakage and hacker attacks, and preventing unauthorized intrusions.
  • Infrastructure monitoring, constant tracking of server performance to prevent and promptly respond to failures.
  • Round-the-clock, prompt response to incidents within 10-20 minutes with notification of the client about each episode (in case it is impossible to solve the issue quickly, for example, due to errors in the release or code, the work on elimination of such issue is carried out with client representatives and specialized professionals until it is complete resolved).

Solving backup tasks

  • Determining the optimal backup scheme.
  • Creation of backup schedules.
  • Development of recovery scenarios and storing the results of work in external storage.

Solving common tasks

  • Increasing fault tolerance, optimizing settings taking into account possible scaling, and eliminating factors hindering stable operation.
  • Scalability of calculations and data: online server support specialists provide mirroring and distribution of databases, replication (synchronous/asynchronous), balancing of requests, and storage of binary files.
  • Remote administration for VDS/VPS servers.
  • Tracking business metrics (collecting metrics such as order counts/user activity) to improve company performance.

Convenience of communication

  • Constant communications maintained with the client via chat/email/hotline phone.
  • Support staff demonstrates readiness to deal with issues and provide advice.
  • It is optimal when remote support is provided in the main European languages – German, English and Spanish – in a single center. In this case, the client avoids the necessity of forced step-by-step communication with different managers, explaining the problem anew each time.

IT outsourcing of servers. Choosing remote server support.

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IT outsourcing of servers. Choosing remote server support.

Download a checklist with offers from the best European providers.

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To learn more about the benefits and price comparison of remote support provided by different European providers and to select the best solution for you, download our guide.

Article author

Olga Boujanova

Consultant on server hardware and data center organization

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