Rackable Systems has launched a leasing programme for data centre equipment for those companies not wishing to spend a great deal of money upfront in order to obtain brand new kit.

Rackable's traditional business is as a supplier of servers and storage products for large-scale data centres. The option of leasing Rackable equipment had previously only been available via third-party distributors.

But now the company it is touting its Rackable Equipment Leasing (REL) programme as an affordable way for companies to "stay ahead of the technology implementation curve by acquiring new technology and timely infrastructure assets."

Rackable says that the REL includes full maintenance, plus customer service support and equipment financing from a single source.

But to be fair this is nothing new, as a number of large server suppliers such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM are already offering leasing options for their own kit. This is because leasing, instead of buying outright, is becoming an increasingly popular option in this tough economic period, as a way for customers to acquire new kit without huge upfront outlays.

"Through 2010, IT organisations will increasingly rely on leasing and financing programs to close the funding gap for necessary acquisitions," said Joe Pucciarelli, IDC Program Director, Technology Financing and Executive Strategies.

"IDC research projects that more than 15 percent of IT equipment delivered in the US during 2008 will be leased or financed, with that percentage growing in 2009 and 2010."

In order to offer this leasing option, Rackable has teamed up with Australian financial services firm Macquarie Group. However, it is reported that the REL programme will only be available for orders of more than $100,000 (£64,800). It may also include an equipment buy-back option (an inducement often used to persuade users to upgrade their equipment before the lease is up).

That said, the leasing terms do seem to be fairly flexible, as the customer acquiring equipment via the REL program can lease the equipment on a project basis. They can also extend their lease in case of project overuns, and 100 percent financing options should be available.

Rackable says that it is also offering services for data destruction, scheduled technology refreshes and asset disposal.

"During this turbulent economic period, companies are looking for alternative ways to maximise their IT expenditures and reduce their initial buying costs," said Tony Carrozza, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Rackable Systems.

"Our new Rackable Equipment Leasing program allows companies to better manage their cash flow, operate with the latest technology, eliminate overhead, and reduce ownership tax and benefit from a flexible ownership agreement."

The company did not respond to an interview request at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, Rackable has also announced the immediate availability of MobiRack, a new class of data centre enclosures. MobiRack is a rugged, light weight plastic case that will protect Rackable Systems half-depth servers "in the most challenging environments."