The advent of insulin almost 80 years ago revolutionised treatment of diabetes and must be one of the most outstanding achievements of twentieth century medicine. Since then, there has been an ever-increasing awareness and acceptance of the need to achieve and sustain near-normoglycaemia to delay onset and retard progression of diabetic angiopathy. Physiological insulin replacement is therefore central to management of patients with diabetes who are unable to make [corrected] insulin. Insulin formulations, treatment strategies, and methods and routes of delivery have changed much, with more and more options for monitoring the effect on blood glucose concentrations. Patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes need insulin much more aggressively than previously. Parallel developments in glucose-sensing technologies are welcomed as an integral part of safe and optimum implementation of insulin replacement therapy.