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When it comes to managing storage, it's tough (and tempting) to generalize.

One could say, for instance, that in managing multi-vendor SANs there's been little or no dramatic progress in years. On the other hand, individual vendors are doing fine managing their own wares.

Let's start at the top. Despite honest effort and much lip service, there aren't any widespread standards for multi-vendor storage resource management (SRM), and it seems likely there never will be.

"The situation is fractured... very disappointing, actually," says Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group consultancy.

In his view, while HP's purchase of AppIQ heralded some progress in heterogeneous storage management, IBM's subsequent disaffection and founding of its own group, along with EMC's clear lack of interest, has stalled any vision of centralized, cross-product storage management. (See HP Sticks to SRM Guns and Aperi Appears Amid Questions.)

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