Insurance Networking News recently interviewed Joe Clabby, vice president, server and storage systems strategies, at Summit Strategies Inc., a marketing strategy and consulting firm based in Boston. Clabby has a strong background in networking, systems platforms, operating environments and business application reengineering. He has been in the computing industry for more than 25 years, and has written numerous reports, including "Staring Down the Storage Sinkhole."INN: You describe the current state of storage as a "fragmented morass of data management, storage management, back-up and recovery, as well as related technologies, management tools and manual processes." How did we get in this mess?

CLABBY: Storage to date has been very proprietary in nature. Each vendor has had a different scheme for storage management and data management, and different approaches to data back-up and recovery, and so on. Only recently have vendors such as IBM and HP gotten aggressive in driving standards into the storage community. And with the Storage Networking Industry Association standards in particular, the barriers to heterogeneous management of storage subsystems and data-and the procedures for backup/restore-have been simplified. We're moving in the right direction now, so many of these issues should start to dissipate over the next three years.

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