I'm impressed with the depth of distributed environment management knowledge in the SmartFrog. SmartFrog is a Java based framework that manages, configures, and deploys distributed software.
Many companies I have worked with have created some form of home grown solution to manage their environments, but the SmartFrog guys seem to have taken this need for environment management to the next level. SmartFrog has plugins for Amazon EC2, ssh, Hadoop, jetty, RPM, more.. and more... This tool is open source too, so there is no limit to the growth of plugins for managing different systems.
The SmartFrog group has addressed the different types of deployments. Continuous integration deployment, MSI deployments, and many more.
I'm setting up SmartFrog for my personal projects and more details about the Smart Frog system will follow.