U3 is developing a UFD (USB Flash memory Device) stanfard to enable applications as well as data to reside on a USB flash memory drive. When plugged into a PC, any PC, the applications will run.

U3 has been set up by M-Systems and SanDisk, two flash memory drive suppliers. The idea is that U3 will determine a standard hardware and API for flash drives - a proprietary one. Developers will be able to develop applications to run on any U3-compliant drive. The drive will containa 'Launch Pad' desktop interfeace to viewing, launching, loading and managing U3-compliant software on drives.

Several application suppliers endorsed the U3 standard: CheckPoint; McAfee; Corel; and ICQ, the messaging supplier. Bundles of related applications are expected to become available for vertical markets.

Existing flash drives can carry e-mail client software but each application is restricted to a particular drive type. U3 will, if it succeeds, provide a multi-vendor flash drive platform.

USB Flash memory
Trek 2000 International announced the launch of ThumbDrive Swipe, probably the first USB portable storage device with biometric capabilities. Users 'swipe’ a finger across the sensor for verification to access data stored in the device. With the Swipe, the user has the option of either allowing access via finger print verification or password verification. Another feature of the device is embedded data encryption functionality.

Storage switching
Emulex said that the shipping rates of its InSpeed embedded storage switch ports has tripled over the last nine months. Over four million ports have been bought by customers. Arrays with embedded switches have more internal I/O bandwidth and more scalable I/O bandwidth than bus-based arrays.

On-line Vaulting
EVault, a US-based provider of on-line storage vaults, is opening for business in the UK. Files marked for vaulting are periodically copied over a customer's existing network links or the Internet to a secure facility. It is generic online vaulting in that IP network links are used to transfer new files or only the changed data from existing files flagged for vaulting. Data in transit is encrypted.

Unlike generic on-line vaults EVault said its InfoStage product is targeted at vertical markets and automates customers' own data management processes. The services are meant to appeal to both large and small enterprises. Time Warner Cable is an existing enterprise customer.

EVault is offering its software through resellers either as a product that organisations can self-manage or as part of an outsourced service.

Qualstar Qualstar announced that all its tape libraries can now ship with IBM’s LTO 3 tape drives.

ADIC libraries will also be capapable of shipping with IBM LTO 3 drives once certification is complete.