If you haven’t heard by now, Luke Kanies Wants to Modernize System Administration. Yes, the puppet master speaks!
We’ve been using Puppet at UT Arlington for the past several years. I had initially looked into using CFEngine for configuration enforcement and change management, but a good friend of mine turned us on to Puppet. Puppet has really transformed the way my administrators think about setting up and maintaining systems. There’s a lot less direct SSH’ing into a system, messing with a configuration file (and hoping that you’ve edited the same file the same way on every system), and adding/starting/restarting the service that uses that configuration file. There’s also a lot more control in how we do things — and just like that, viola, we have a documented change control process!