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The complexity of todaypsilas computer systems poses a challenge to system administrators. Current systems comprise a multitude of inter-related software components running on different servers. In this paper, we propose the use of the stackable storage mechanism as the foundation of centralized systems management. At the management level, we show how this mechanism can be used to implement an infrastructure that allows administrators to perform typical tasks fast and effortlessly. In particular, we find that our prototype could have avoided 40% of the human mistakes observed experimentally by previous research. At the storage level, we identify three key characteristics of stackable storage that allow the definition of different policies with distinct performance and scalability behaviors. We quantitatively compare five storage policies under different workloads and conclude that stackable storage is a viable approach.