Spent the last week drying off in the sun? Here's what's been happening in the storage market:

100 Terabyte disks are on the way thanks to a new holographic memory breakthrough. But such techniques store images of objects and are not much use for storing invoices and VAT records. Holography doesn't mean storage advances for numeric or text data. Still, it's flashy.

DVDlongevity isn't what it's cracked up to be according to Which Computing's September 2004 edition. The mag exposed 18 different brands to extremes of temperature, scratching and common chemicals. The overall durability of all the disks was disappointing with only three of the 18 having an above average score. TDK's DVD-RW and Imation's DVD+RW were recommended. Also TDK's ScratchProof DVD-R disks actually lived up to their name.

Ciena tells us that it is moving more into the service delivery and, specifically, the storage extension market. It can take Fibre Channel and ESCON traffic and package it into SDH for transmission over public networks with data compression and extended distance features. This uses technology gained from its Akara acquisition of August 2003. It means customers don't have to lease such expensive lines. Ciena's partnering with carriers and will announce, in a matter of weeks, a large world-class storage supplier partnership, in addition to the existing HDS partnership. Think EMC, StorageTek - that level of company. Ciena wants to supply storage traffic over IP VPNs.

FalconStor said it is introducing "the next generation of its VirtualTape Library (VTL)". It supports Fibre Channel connectivity to open systems, iSCSI, NDMP, and the IBM eServer iSeries. The backup software is provided by collaborative certification of products from Sony, HP, Legato and Veritas. Backup consolidation is thanks to delta replication over IP. Availability is via Active-Active Clustering. VTL uses industry-standard high-speed disk to provision virtual tape drives and libraries to backup servers attached to an iSCSI/IP or Fibre Channel (FC) storage area network (SAN).

The FCIA has ratified 8Gb/sec Fibre Channel for use in switched SAN fabrics.

IBM has reportedly introduced a low-cost NAS 500 gateway with one CPU for around $30,000. There is no information on IBM's website at the time of writing. It's aimed at smaller enterprises. The original NAS 500 Gateway arrived in January and costs around $50,000 for a twin-CPU version.

Iomega has announced a SCSI version of its 35GB Rev drive, making it suitable for server use where people might be thinking of DDS or VXA or equivalent tape backup devices.

MandrakeSoft the French Linux distributor, has announced GlobeTrotter, a product based on a LaCie Mobile Hard Drive designed by FA Porsche - not that it looks much different from any other silver-grey box. It is a USB mobile hard drive loaded with a specially tuned version of Mandrakesoft's Mandrakelinux operating system. It enables users to turn any computer into their personal Linux desktop for $219 (199 euros). Note though; for computers that don't support booting from USB - meaning Windows, a bootable MiniCD may be used instead.

Optware said it had achieved the world's first recording and play back of digital movies on a holographic recording disc with a reflective layer using its Collinear Holography technology. The company asserted "this is a major milestone for commercialising holographic data storage systems. Optware's demonstration is an epoch-making event in a sense that it proved the successful integration of optical disc technology and holographic recording technology." Blimey.

Plastic magnets have been created by University of Durham researchers. It could lead to new plastic disk coatings and higher disk capacities.

Qualstar announced [pdf] it made a slight loss as revenue fell. The revenue fall is attributed to a decline in AIT and SDLT-based library revenue and 9-track tapes, but was partially offset by higher revenue from tape libraries incorporating LTO and SAIT. CEO Bill Gervais said: "We remain on track to announce our new XLS product family in late calendar 2004, with customer shipments expected in the first half of calendar 2005." It is a high-end enterprise-class tape storage product.

Qualstar also announced [pdf] a new Teraloader autoloader product group. There are three models: one each for LTO 2, AIT-3 and S-AIT formats. They come in the 5U RLS cabinet. The LTO and S-AIT versions are 16-slot/single drive models with a barcode reader option. The S-AIT one was hyped by Martin Medhurst, Qualstar's sales boss for Europe, as "a really exciting product". It's aimed at the entry-level WORM archive market and priced less than Breeze Hill's 10-slot S-AIT autoloader.

The AIT-3 model, due to the smaller physical size of the cartridges, is a 24-slot/single drive model. Qualstar will support LTO-3 shortly and Medhurst believes. "The tape WORM archive market won't take off until LTO-3 comes out with IBM and HP, the two brand leaders, then saying WORM on tape is a sensible medium," he said.

Sony has updated its Memory Stick (flash memory device) with capacities up to 2GB for the Pro Media versions.

More details of the Systex virtual tape libraries. According to the release, there are two; the entry-level ES 500 and more advanced ES 7500 series Virtual Tape Libraries. Both feature a Linux-based OS and IPStor VTL software (see FalconStor above), which supports and emulates all major manufacturers tape libraries, drives and cassettes. The ES 7500 series has a capacity of up to 32TB and is capable of supporting up to ten simultaneous backup hosts. It has dual 3.0 GHz Xeon processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, a 2U management module with up to six 2GB Fibre Channel (FC) interfaces, and can be combined with a sixteen-bay ES 4316 series Serial ATA RAID-based Disk Array.

The ES 500 supports up to four concurrent backup/restore sessions and up to 50 virtual tape cartridges emulated, with the ES 7500 series supporting up to 50 concurrent backup/restore sessions and an emulation of up to 640 tape cartridges.

No shortage of confidence here. The spectre of disk-to-disk backup may be threatening tape's dominance as a backup medium but there is no shortage of tape device suppliers shipping autoloaders and libraries and developing/extending tape formats. It's a thriving market.