Here's what's been happening in the storage market in the past week.

Arkeia announced the European release of a new plug-in for hot backup of LDAP servers.

Asigra announced Asigra Televaulting for Enterprises, a distributed backup service for remote sites, with capacity-based pricing. Asigta says it results in lower costs than traditional backup using tape drives and software from Legato, Veritas or others.

CNT's new UltraNet Multi-service Director (UMD) combines Fibre Channel director functions, IP SAN extension, logical SANs, up to 512 non-blocking ports running at 4Gbit/s and scalability to 10Gbit/s - FC and Ethernet. Plus mirroring, replication and quality of service levels. It meets and beats capabilities in Brocade's SilkWorm 24000 and Cisco's MDS 9000.

Decru announced its first project in the UK with Sun Microsystems to offer an end-to-end secure storage set-up for patient records in the UK. Decru's storage encryption product seems to pretty much have the market for such appliances to itself.

EMC may be about to enter the system management market by reselling BMC's Patrol software. BMC recently exited storage management software when it sold its product to EMC. As the article notes, EMC has integrated its ControlCenter management app with Patrol and BMC resells ControlCenter. If storage is going to become a utility then it looks as if EMC is intent on supplying every last bit of it.

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Engenio (formerly LSI Logic Storage Systems, Inc.) announced that the VirtualTape Library (VTL) software product from FalconStor has certified. Engenio previously certified FalconStor’s IPStor software, the company’s flagship product, and has now extended this certification to include the FalconStor VTL solution.

FATA was endorsed by the FCIA (Fibre Channel Industry Association). FATA is a new class of hybrid disk drives conceived by HP, Hitachi Global Storage and Seagate. The drives combine a Fibre Channel interface with an ATA disk drive to get Fibre Channel arrays using cheap SATA-type drives as well as costly FC drives. HGST has denied involvement thus far. LSI Logic issued a supporting quote. The FCIA is pleased as punch - Fibre Channel rules, OK!!

Finisar has introduced a new SAN and NAS and SAN/NAS components test suite. Alachritech used it to test an iSCSI ASIC with a TOE (TCP/IP Offload Engine) on board.

Fujitsu is definitely not down and out as a disk drive supplier. It has announced a high-end 80GB version of its HandyDrive Data Edition. Built on "a portable 2.5” Fujitsu hard disk "you get 30GB to 80GB with USB 2.0 connection for £140-200 but it's a raw drive; there's no backup software. Pretty me-too really.

Iomega is not REVving up as it announces a Q2 loss of nearly $20 million. Lower Zip drive and optical product sales were not offset by sufficiently high REV sales. DCT development is going to be stopped; Iomega can't afford it and OEMs aren't queing to take the technology. It's REV or nothing for Iomega. (It also makes NAS products but that's a commodity market whereas REV is in a class by itself.)

The LTO Program announced the availability of licenses for LTO 3. Products based on it are expected in the second half of 2004 or early 2005. Imation has applied for an LTO 3 license. LTO 3 doubles storage capacity over LTO 2, increasing to 800GB compressed from 400GB (assuming a 2:1 compression). Transfer rates improve to 80MB to 160MB per second from LTO 2's 40MB to 80MB per second (2:1 compression).

LTO drives are outshipping Quantum's SDLT 2:1 according to the rather pleased LTO group. This should keep the momentum going and puts Quantum in a quandary. Should it lower prices or work on a post-LTO 4 comeback? It just reported a loss of $10.2 million, due to a fall in both DLT and SDLT tape drive revenue. It is going to look at "developing innovative, next-generation backup, recovery and archive systems".

After Seagate and Western Digital, Maxtor is the third leading disk drive manufacturer to announce poor results and layoffs. It lost $26 million in its second quarter and fired 450 people. Unit prices fell and demand was sluggish. Where is the recovery in the storage market for disk drive manufacturers? Not in server and PC drives, that's for sure. More consolidation amongst the suppliers? Who knows. Still, at least Maxtor isn't suing Cornice.

M-Systems announced an increase of capacity to 2GB in its DiskOnKey USB thumb drive product. Price is $470 or so.

Novastor announced that its NovaBACKUP software is shipping with Sony's blue laser-based Professional Disc for DATA (ProDATA) product kits.

Red Hat and Emulex are getting together to support Emulex gear in Red Hat's Linux distribution. Emulex HBAs and Linux drivers will be listed by Red Hat as "Certified for Enterprise Linux." Red Hat will integrate the Emulex Open Source Linux drivers in the next quarterly update of Red Hat Enterprise Linux later this summer, enabling customers to install a new system directly on a Fibre Channel attached storage device.

Seagate Technology announces a five-year warranty on its internal PC, notebook and server drives; the best drive warranty in the industry. Will this signal a general round of warranty period extensions by HGST, Maxtor and Western Digital?

Spectra Logic announced the availabilty of Sony's AIT-4 drives in its products, for example, the Spectra 2K tape library.

Storage Networking World Europe, 7-8 September, Frankfurt Messe, Germany, has an outline agenda:
Welcome Reception - Monday 6 September
Conference Day 1 - Tuesday 7 September
Conference Day 2 - Wednesday 8 September.
To register visit www.snweurope.com/registration.php

StorageTek research statistics:
Number of emails sent daily in 2005 is estimated to be 35,000,000
Percentage of all email traffic that is spam - 62%
Average size of email in 2007 - 650Kb (compared with 50kb in 2001)
Average annual disk drive capacity increase - 60 percent. See more in the report [pdf].

Verbatim is to make 30GB UDO Media for Plasmon and HP UDO drives. The disks will cost around $2 per GB and be available in August.

Vitesse Semiconductor, a manufacturer of chips for Fibre Channel products said it had made a loss in its third fiscal quarter. Apparently Fibre Channel demand has dried up. Are customers buying fewer SANs? Is iSCSI having an effect already? Or is the demand for storage actually significantly less than analysts have been forecasting? Something is going on.