Hardware as a Service: Dead On Arrival?

During the Kaseya User Conference here in Las Vegas, several managed service providers mentioned that they have absolutely no plans to embrace hardware as a service (HaaS). But does that mean HaaS is dead? No exactly. Let me explain.



First, some background: In theory, HaaS will allow VARs to generate recurring monthly revenue for desktops, servers, laptops and other network infrastructure. Generally speaking, the VAR acquires the equipment, charges customers a monthly fee for the equipment, and the marked-up fees are enough to ensure customers receive regular hardware refreshes every few years.

Still, the HaaS model has some holes. One solutions provider, located in Florida, noted that the housing market collapse has hurt many of his small business customers. As a result, he isn't willing to "own" hardware that sits within customer sites. After all, if the customer goes bankrupt or closes up shop, the MSP could be on the hook for a bunch of hardware that's sitting behind locked doors in dark offices.

Still, MSPs are finding some creative ways to test the HaaS waters. Instead of buying hardware and then deploying it for a monthly fee, MSPs are working with leasing services -- so that the hardware company or the lease company ultimately takes on the financial risk.

During a panel discussion I moderated, several MSPs mentioned that they continue to sell hardware as a "loss leader," so that they can provide remote management and ongoing services to those desktops, servers and network infrastructure.

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