If you really want to automate this sort of thing you should have redundant systems with working and routinely tested automatic fail-over and fallback behavior. With that in place you can more safely setup scheduled maintenance windows for routine stuff and/or pre-written maintenance scripts. But, if you are dealing with individual servers that aren't part of a redundancy plan then you should babysit your maintenance. Now, I say babysit because you should test and automate the actual maintenance with a script to prevent typos and other human errors when you are doing the maintenance on production machines. The human is just there in case something goes haywire with your well-tested script.
Fully automating these sorts of things is out of reach more many small to medium sized firms because they don't want, or can't, invest in the added hardware to build out redundant setups that can continue operating when one participant is offline for maintenance. So, depending on the size of your operation and how much your company is willing to invest to "do it the right way" is the limiting factor in how much you are going to be able to effectively automate this sort of task.
The answer depends on where you want your career to go. But, regardless I would say that all programmers should invest the time to understand the business they work for so that they can best serve the interests of their employer. This is different from getting an MBA or studying business in the general sense. Programmers need to understand the problems that their company deals with, otherwise they're not going to see the best solutions.
As an example I currently work for a company that manufactures packaged food products. As the lead developer it is part of my job to understand how the business operates; from how our inventory is managed, to how our customers pay us, to how our shipping personnel process incoming and outgoing items. Understanding this and talking to people in all these areas allows me to spot inefficiencies and address problems, sometimes before others realize they are a big deal. That means I can help put technology to work in a way that makes our business more efficient, which leads to better profits and happy bosses and better compensation for myself and those I work with.
Unless all you ever want to be is a low-rung developer, or if you don't have any desire to stay with the company you're with long-term; then it always makes sense to get to know your business, and it will make you a more valuable employee.
"Groklaw suggests, rather shockingly, that Apple's lawyers might have been a little selective in how they presented some of this evidence to the court, by picking little parts of it that offered a different shade of nuance."
Lawyers presenting evidence in a way that is beneficial to their clients? Outrageous!
Wait...Isn't that their job? And isn't the job of the other party's lawyer to do the same and, if possible, poke holes in their opponents line of argument?
If a subordinate asks you a pertinent question, look at him as if he had lost his senses. When he looks down, paraphrase the question back at him.