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Best Practices to Help You Leverage the Power of Storage Automation


Pankaj Bothara

February 07, 2018

The growing volume and variety of data are putting a lot of pressure on data centers. At the same time, fast-changing market situations require enterprises to be agile and constantly innovate. IT teams are no more considered as cost centers. They are treated as strategic business owners and are expected to suggest technology initiatives to help businesses keep up with the market demands. Storage infrastructure is the foundational component that helps IT teams meet the growing business demands.

Manual storage provisioning and management, which is prone to human errors, is no more a feasible option. While the storage technologies and infrastructure needs are becoming increasingly complex, the operational budgets are shrinking. Therefore, storage automation has become a critical tool for enterprises.

According to industry analysts, by 2020, IT departments will be managing 50 times the amount of data they handle today, with only 1.5 times the number of IT administrators.

The Key Benefits of Storage Automation

Storage automation allows IT teams to perform the storage provisioning and adjust the storage performance based on business needs in a predictable and repeatable manner.

According to The 2017 Storage Automation Report released by NetApp, 61% of the survey respondents stated that easing complexities for employee productivity was the main driver for them behind the deployment of storage automation.

The key benefits of storage automation include –

  • Elimination of errors through automation of repetitive manual tasks

  • Reduction in total cost of ownership through better utilization of human resources and technology while enhancing the quality of service for all business units

  • Greater visibility and granular control of the storage infrastructure through a single interface

  • Easing of complexities involved with storage deployment and provisioning

  • Quick, accurate, and more agile fulfilment of storage requests through self-service portals allowing the IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives

  • Better control on storage demands through stricter policies around storage provisioning, remediation, and reclaim

  • Easing of complexities in storage provisioning and storage deployment

  • Risk mitigation and enhanced security

Best Practices for Storage Automation

Below are some of the storage automation best practices to help you realize the highest return on your storage automation initiatives –

  • Have a strong alignment between storage automation activities and the business unit and application needs to achieve the best results.

  • Start the automation initiatives by attacking the key pain areas – look into the exact problems, what are causing those, and if those can be solved through automation.

  • The implementation of storage automation is not just about technology – it is more about the process changes, cultural changes in the organization, and getting the buy-in of the IT administrators. The key lies in implementing the right levels and types of automation such as scheduled, predictive, reactive, or manual automation.

  • Don’t over-automate – A phased approach can help in deriving measurable outputs and also allow tweaking of strategy based on the results to increase the overall RoI.

  • Plan and evaluate how the automation software will work within your environment and how it can take control of the various functions over multiple products from multiple vendors.

  • While creating the automation scripts, implement supervised processes and best practices for reusable templates – this will ensure that the automation scripts are reusable, customizable, and are created based on the specific needs of the organization.

  • Implement checkpoints at critical stages of automation to help you identify the errors and fine-tune the overall automation process in a long run.

  • Have a policy-based approach to automation – it allows you to define and codify operational procedures for automation. It also allows the IT teams to seamlessly introduce and integrate new products and technologies.

  • Do continuous monitoring and improvement – measure the output against pre-defined metrics and tweak the initiatives to help in achieving those.


Storage automation is a substantial investment in terms of resources, technology, and, therefore, costs. However, the benefits are also significant. By adopting a highly suitable and robust solution, enterprises can ensure increased business continuity, enhanced operational efficiency, significantly lesser total cost of ownership, mitigate risks, and also increase security. Of course, a readymade automation tool or technology may not be able to solve all your business issues. However, by implementing the right customized solution, you can ensure a high RoI.

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