A long time ago, I mentioned to the editor of the magazine for which I worked that I had some experience of uninterruptable power supplies. His eyes lit up with their own special uninterruptable power. "Oh good," he said. "You can write an article on that." "OK!" I said, naively. What I didn't know then -- but was shortly to find out -- is that nobody writes about UPSs because they are universally regarded as dull as ditchwater. However, there's a large market in these devices, which means lots of companies selling them and employing lots of press relations people to try and drum up interest. PRs justify their billing by column inches -- so as soon as some misguided hack actually writes about them, it's like a buffalo falling over dead on the African veldt. As soon as the stench goes up, the vultures gather from hundreds of miles around. And I, dear reader, was that buffalo. I was fending off the phone calls for months. Something similar is happening now with me and storage virtualisation. I should know better, but as you may have read in last week's Diary, IBM tempted me out by promising me tours of research labs, fine dinners and -- quite shockingly -- a genuinely interesting story. Within seconds of the story going live, the first emails had arrived from other vendors saying "Rupert! Just read your excellent piece... you may be interested in our client's fantastic box of sand" and, more scarily: "Our marketing manager for EMEA (*) is in town next week, and would love to talk to you. How does 8:30 a.m. in a hotel in Heathrow sound?" I'll tell you how it sounds, chaps: get me a real story with actual technology, and get it to me after lunch. But these are hard times, and I find myself irresitably drawn into a world with more acronymns than Alphabet Soup night at NASA. SANs, NASs, SMIS, SNIA, the list is endless... and, what's this, Microsoft has got virtual storage in Server 2K3? Oh no -- straight into the belly of the snake! I'm too young to be this dry... (*) If you're not in marketing, you won't know that EMEA stands for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Why these three are grouped together, I have no idea. It's an American thing. Would we have CUSALA for Canada, USA and Latin America? MAA, for Mongolia, Afghanistan and Antarctica?