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Reality Check

There's no substitute for experience when it comes to buying anything expensive. Few would consider shelling out for a car, house, or other high-ticket item without first hearing how others fared with similar choices. Did they benefit? Were they disappointed? Did they feel cheated?

The same rules apply to storage networking gear. Few sizeable IT sales are made these days without the benefit of reference customers who can testify to the ability of a product -- and its supplier -- to live up to claims. Call it a reality check.

That's why we've upped the level of case studies and user profiles on Byte and Switch. While we love tracking the latest merger, CEO dismissal, and channel snafu, a glance at our message boards reveals that storage managers want more. They are eager to hear from like-minded consumers and to share their own stories and observations from the trenches.

In response, we've reached into the user community and found enlightening -- and sometimes surprising -- anecdotes. Check out, for example, how a medical nonprofit foundation went against entrenched suppliers EMC and HP and found disaster recovery at half the price with EqualLogic. (See LifeLink Gets iSCSI Recovery.) Read about a major university research center that coped with imaging requirements via Archivas; thus bypassing EMC. (See MIT Puts Storage Under Microscope.) Find out how a big regional retailer used an IBM mainframe and associated storage to shave $300,000 off annual software costs and consolidate its data center. (See Hannaford Saves Big.)

We also direct you to Proving Ground, a new section where we offer product reviews and comparisons, courtesy of our colleagues at sister publication Network Computing. The latest report details how tape encryption devices from Kasten Chase and NeoScale performed in live trials. (See Review: Tape Encryption Devices.)

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