IT managers think that storage automation sounds nice but sounds expensive. What it really sounds like is something requiring a bit of definition. Then perhaps it can be put in a context where decisions can be made.
Storage automation is the ability to assign time-intensive or repetitive storage operations into a prescribed procedure that can be initiated by some event or the command of a storage administrator. Human involvement is either minimal or entirely absent. Hardware and software exist to automate a variety of storage functions, including data migration (such as archiving), copying (such as backup, continuous data protection and the like), capacity management (read virtualization), encryption, and key management and more.
Storage automation is good for routine things that consume time and staffing. Properly leveraged, it can put a dent in overhead costs and reduce the consequences of human error. Do you really need storage automation? That depends on your infrastructure. If your IT operation is small and your employees are well skilled, buying off-the-shelf automation tools may not be required. If your data center is larger and your staff is eternally fighting fires or cleaning up after outages, implementing storage automation will allow your staff to be more productive.
But automation cannot be looked at as a "get out of jail free" card. Monitoring the IT infrastructure is still a must in the data center. Why? Because with all the best technology and the best will in the world, things happen. Mistakes are made and must be corrected. A third party may come in and upset previous policies. The hard fact is that Murphy’s Law obtains in the data center, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, at the worst possible time."