I looked at puppet years ago and came to that same conclusion. I've continued work on my own system (viros.sf.net), targeting users with even a smaller base of systems, i.e. a random engineer with a couple personal laptops/workstations and servers. Mainly from my own obsession with easy personal, and business disaster recovery, which is not so unrelated to the process of having to move to a new major linux distro version every 6 months. In any event, I did enjoy (and will link to) this excellent article on the current state of the art. While I still like my metaphor- OS as a virus/dna, configuration classes/modules as genes/traits with subtraits, I am glad to see that all the systems are basically headed down similar paths. I would probably choose puppet for a new 1000+ system deployment, suffering its apparently still steeper-than-ideal learning/complexity curve.