Take Five With Tom Fenton

Impressions from Our Reader Survey

Awhile back, we did a reader survey that I've used as a guideline for the way we shape our editorial product -- the goal being to supply you, the readers, with the content that you find most interesting and useful. After all, I'm always asking vendors to tell me how they're customer-driven, so it only makes sense for Virtualization Review to reflect the needs of its readers. With that in mind, here are my five takes on your responses to our survey.

TAKE 1
The usual suspects. When we asked you what the primary uses of virtualization are in your companies, we got an overwhelming number of the expected answers -- server virtualization, consolidation, hardware reduction, replacing old equipment -- and a slew of other responses that ran the gamut from training labs to saving money (although that's implied in all answers relating to server virtualization and consolidation). What was surprising were the very low number of open-ended responses mentioning desktop virtualization, storage and security. Despite those low numbers, however, 61 percent, 63 percent and 33 percent of you, respectively, said that desktop virtualization/Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), storage virtualization and networking virtualization -- in that order -- are very important to you. It goes to show you the gap between what's actually in use and what's still largely on the horizon. We obviously exist in a very dynamic market.

TAKE 2
Server virtualization. The results of a question asking what percentage of your servers are virtualized were all over the map. While we keep hearing analysts say the current numbers are between 20 percent and 30 percent, a lot of you said 40 percent, 50 percent ... all the way up to 100 percent. And these are not necessarily outlying numbers -- there are plenty of 50-percent-and-more responses. This reinforces what I already knew: You're working in the trenches and blowing out the virtualization envelope. (You're probably also on the search for some good management packages.)

TAKE 3
Who you are. You are key cogs in the decision-making process, which also comes as no surprise. To wit: 78.9 percent of you recommend or specify brands/vendors for purchase; 76.5 percent evaluate vendors who supply solutions; 56.3 percent determine the business need; 60.2 percent create IT strategy/determine the need; 47.7 percent create a short list of vendors to review; and 21.7 percent of you are the big dogs who authorize/approve purchases. Sounds like a bunch of smart people who really know their virtualization.

TAKE 4
Giving you what you want. From my perspective as editor in chief, the question that asked you to rate the importance of various editorial options really got to the point of doing this survey. For example, going in, I expected case studies to be a big favorite with you, but that wasn't the reality: You wanted in-depth how-to articles and product reviews. In response to this demand, we've been running two product reviews per issue and will continue to do so. We also secured the column-writing services of David Davis, who's our new How-To Guy. We'll still throw in the occasional case study and post one periodically on our Web site, just so you can continue to get a sense of what your colleagues are doing out there.

TAKE 5
It's on us to please you. When we asked you for your favorite Web site for information on products, vendors, issues and techniques, the most common answer by far was Google, which tells me that you're keeping your options open. This makes sense. The message I got from your independence was: "Go ahead, impress me." So that's what we're going to strive to do. I'm happy to say it will be a reader-driven process.

I'm always looking for your input. Please e-mail me at bhoard@1105media.com.

About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.

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