Updated from 4:58 p.m. EDTStorage Technology ( STK) boosted first-quarter earnings and revenue after the bell Tuesday, but the top line was a bit below Wall Street's expectations. Shares of the Louisville, Colo., storage vendor were slipping after hours, recently down 91 cents, or 3.3%, to $26.78 after gaining 48 cents, or 1.9%, to $27.69 in regular trading. StorageTek, as the company is generally called, earned $23.3 million, or 21 cents a diluted share, on sales of $515 million. A year ago, the company earned $16.5 million, or 15 cents a diluted share, on revenue of $480 million. Earnings in the March quarter met expectations, but analysts polled by Thomson First Call had projected revenue of $516.48 million. The company had guided analysts to earnings of 19 cents a share (based on a new tax rate) on sales of $515 million. More significant than the small top-line miss was sluggish growth in areas outside the company's mature tape drive business, said analyst Kaushik Roy of the Susquehanna Financial Group. "They've been talking about growth in disk storage for some time, but if you annualize the results in the first quarter, growth this year isn't impressive," he said. Last year, the company's disk storage business was $170 million; this year it will likely range from $180 million to $190 million, Roy calculates. StorageTek produces backup products, including tape-based products which account for nearly half of the company's revenue. It competes with IBM ( IBM), Hewlett Packard ( HPQ), Quantum ( DSS) and others. Even so, "the company is still a cash machine," Roy added. In the just-completed quarter the company generated $70.5 million cash from operations. StorageTek doesn't give detailed guidance, but the company did tell investors that profits for the year will range from $178 million to $190 million vs. $148.9 million in 2003.