Hardware-as-a-service may sound a bit strange at first. What makes it a service? Isn’t that the same as renting something? Not quite.
It’s a new way of looking at hardware that is becoming not only more prevalent but also much more useful for the average business owner.
What does it mean?
Hardware-as-a-service is similar to renting or leasing in a lot of ways and therefore has some of the same benefits.
Just the same as if you were renting, you are just borrowing and using the hardware. Whether it’s short- or long-term, you return the equipment to the owner at some point. Not all agreements entail taking the hardware back to your office, as we’ll explain in a moment.
Mostly this approach is different from rental in the thought process around it: it’s a service model.
So, what you are purchasing is not the hardware itself but rather the service to support the hardware. It’s best to think of HaaS as paying for the utility rather than the hardware, and the benefits are similar.
1. Low upfront costs
This is one of the main benefits for SMBs when renting something like network hardware – you can get the latest hardware up and running faster and cheaper than if you were to specify it, buy it and set it up yourself. Typically, as their first order of business, experts from the company you’re paying for the service will come to install it for you and make sure everything is functioning properly.
Typically you’ll owe the owner a monthly or yearly fee for its use on premises. Sometimes you may see a charge on a per-use basis, but this depends on the type of hardware and how you are using it. Most HaaS operations use a flat monthly fee, making it easy to budget for.
2. You’re not responsible for maintenance
If the machine falters, you can just call the company you’re renting from and they’ll send someone out to look at it. They’ll have someone monitor it periodically and complete proactive maintenance or updates to keep things running securely and smoothly. Either way, you won’t have to pay for repairs – that’s almost always factored into whatever recurring fees you’ve agreed to. Additionally, it’s often possible to swap out the malfunctioning unit instead of having to wait for repairs. That way, you’re at little risk for extended downtime.
3. Obsolescence isn’t a problem
One major way hardware-as-a-service can differ from rental is that the owners can keep your equipment current with the latest technology. When a new version of a particular technology arrives, they’ll be in charge of updating it for you, when necessary, rather than you having to deal with it yourself. You won’t have to worry about investing in technology that might shortly become obsolete because your provider will want you to be running as quickly and efficiently as possible – they’re incentivized to make sure you’ve got the best equipment for your needs and budget.
4. Unique applications
Hardware-as-a-service includes things like cloud solutions or server storage that you rent from another company. You can pay to use their hardware rather than investing in your own infrastructure.
Even the Citi Bike system in New York City is a good example of HaaS. Citi gains and maintains a customer base by making sure you get where you need to go quickly via the hardware they’re providing. Cloud computing and server storage providers are keeping you productive by using the hardware available through them. If you’ve got a great idea but not enough processing power, HaaS companies that specialize in server farms are happy to help you without all the hassle of managing that much computing power and integration yourself.
Their expertise is a key component of the Service part of Hardware-as-a-Service.
The bottom line
Hardware-as-a-Service allows you to operate to your full potential with minimal risk and investment. Luckily for most businesses, this is quickly becoming the norm and will certainly evolve into more productive and creative practices and services as time goes on.
If this makes you curious and you’d like to find out more, don’t hesitate to contact us today and ask any questions that you might have.