The system builder division of a major North American distributor has branched into storage solutions.

Avnet Applied Computing Solutions (AACC), a unit of Avnet Inc., has added a storage configurator to its online FastBuild ordering system, initially offering direct attached rack mount and pedestal

RAID systems.

Solution providers can also configure NAS and SAN gateway servers based on Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003.

However, customers are limited to ordering subsystems with hard drives from Seagate Technology LLC, and have to pay in American dollars.

“”Right now in the mid-to-high end there’s a few large name brand manufacturers, but there’s not many white box solutions,”” said Michael Romano, AACC’s director of technical sales and engineering.

“”A lot of our customers wanted that, or the ability to tweak their solutions specific to their applications”” on storage devices.

“”One of the biggest challenges in the white box space is compatibility of components,”” he said. “”We have done all that for the Canadian customer base.

“”Hopefully what this does is give them the ability to make really good margin by selling a white box, or they could brand these boxes as their own solution.””

Initially, four solutions are available, with another six incorporating FibreChannel and SCSI connectivity to be released in the next two weeks, he said.

Prices range from US$5,000 to US$40,000 depending on the number of drives and type of connectivity, with shipment promised within 72 hours.

AACC’s other FastBuild configurator is for Intel-based desktops and servers. (There’s also a QuickSource configurator for AMD-based products).

FastBuild is used not only by system integrators but original equipment manufacturers such as medical companies, who add software or specialized hardware to the subsystems, said Romano.

There are Canadian companies who use FastBuild, despite the requirement to bill in U.S. currency, he said, although he didn’t have numbers.

When FastBuild was opened AACC’s Canadian customers were surveyed and said the currency problem wouldn’t be an issue, he said.

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