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And now for something new

And now for something new

This month, we're launching our first new section since we started this magazine more than two years ago, called Tools.

There's no doubt that the lack of capable, stable, affordable tools is a major hindrance to your efforts. I know that because you've told me so many times, in many ways. This new section launches with three parts:

First Look. This is a concise look at something that sticks out from the crowd. Use this to keep abreast of things that you might want to check out, or at least monitor. We'll pick products that attempt to address problems that are otherwise tough to solve. This month, we look at a cure for the "I lost the presentation I have to give in five minutes" problem.

Hands-on Review. The estimable Darryl Brooks moves over from Best Practices to do product reviews, starting with a look at a low-cost virtualization product. Darryl has access to a lab with a realistic test bed, and through his experiences as an integrator and consultant, he knows what to do with it. Meanwhile, GlassHouse Technologies' Stephen Foskett and James Damoulakis move from writing the Integration column to Best Practices, which is really their strength, anyway. Integration is, for the moment, on the shelf.

Technology Report. This section is not new, but it now becomes the comparative part of our Tools section. Jerome M. Wendt, a storage manager, continues to look at relevant products from that perspective.

Are we changing our emphasis? No and yes.

No, we are not changing our focus on serving the needs of mid- and upper-level managers in IT who focus on storage. We're not going to become the PC Magazine of storage. Our features will continue to probe not only the most important product and technology issues, but also key managerial and business issues that you face.

Yes, we do feel that after two-plus years of existence, we are now better equipped to serve a fuller range of information needs that you might have. Hence, we have taken on the somewhat difficult task of reviewing products. We look for feedback from you on our choice of products, choice of what to focus on with each product, the methods we use and conclusions we reach. As always, you can reach us at

On a related note, in April, I spent three days with 500 of you at Storage Decisions in New York City and a lot of the conversation was about tools. The storage and software industries are badly out of sync with the market (you) as far as designing and delivering what you need. The sad truth is that most storage software was designed to attract venture capital or to please big investors, not you.

I've delivered that message to vendors in many settings and meetings. It doesn't mean much coming from me. But it will mean a lot coming from you. Let 'em know what you really think.

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