Here's how rolling out a new machine (or a fresh install on an existing machine) should go:
Base install of linux (debian/ubuntu/etc) [poldy: I thought skynet had standardised on Debian stable?]
Add an apt source for a local deb repository.
Use apt-get to install skynet created meta packages, one per service. (skynet-smtp, skynet-dns, etc)
All the meta packages will depend on skynet-base (which depends on all the common utilities we want), and all the packages that we want installed for that service. (skynet-smtp will depend on postfix, postgrey, etc).
The post-install script for any of the meta packages will check out of svn all the customized confs and data that the service requires.
For adding services to an already running machine, the first 2 steps can be ignored.
This arrangement should be easy to setup, require low maintenance, be self-documenting, and be straightforward to use.