Capistrano is a tool for deploying and managing remote servers. Its origin is (ruby based;-) on deploying rails applications.
But its not limited to this task. There exist many extensions to capistrano (called recipes) to make deployment and management of remote servers a breeze. Have a look at the homepage of capistrano: http://www.capify.org. One example for the easyness of capistrano task can be found here: http://blog.andrewbeacock.com/2007/10/capistrano-recipe-for-restarting-apache.html which shows tasks for restarting apache.
A more interresting example is the capsize plugin for capistrano. It allows for all common EC2 tasks provided through the well known amazon ec2 webservice API:
gem install jnewland-capsize -s http://gems.github.com
build on top of the amazon ec2 gem:
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