i guess i should take a look at cfengine. i am not overloaded with system administration work at all (as i am a lucky guy running gentoo linux ;) but cfengine nevertheless looks like an interesting approach. large-scale system automatization is still one of the biggest advantages of unices compared with other oses. the thing i miss with them is a unified object-oriented (rather than flat) access structure (similar to snmp, but deeper and more powerful).
btw. iirc there once were rumors that ms will implement oo in their next major shell release.. i hope linux will have it sooner (though chances are bad ;)