Our team has extensive direct experience with Chef and Puppet, and are constantly exploring new technologies for testing environments, including new tools such as Ansible.
Chef is the "code your infrastructure" configuration management tool from Opscode. Using Ruby, you write scripts (named Recipes) that configure your nodes. We have written recipes to install HBase under Ubuntu and RHEL in both EC2 and dedicated hardware stacks. We have maintained recipes to do complex management of multi-master MySQL in high-availability configurations.
Puppet is the configuration management tool from Puppet Labs. You use manifests to describe the desired state of nodes in the cluster, and the tool follows the instructions to do the configuration. We have written manifests for Cassandra and MySQL installations and work with clients that use it to configure HBase installations as well.
For smaller clients, or ones that do not want to learn Ruby and/or would like to use a lot of pre-existing infrastructure management tools (typically written in-house), we recommend Ansible, a very small and extensible tool written in Python with the ability to use ANY language such as BASH, Perl, C, etc to achieve your node configuration.
We are happy to work with your team to evaluate and implement the configuration management tools that will work best for your environment.