Recently I had to setup couple of servers with a Java stack application in one and Oracle DB in the other. Nothing far fetched, but once you get into doing these things, not only you had to get the application up and running, but put in init scripts, backups, monitoring etc. No sweat, real work is always rewarding, atleast personally ;-).
Monit, I was briefly familiar with an Appliance project, where I wrote a CLI for it (in PERL), thinking about it, Python would have been better choice, but I am digressing. Ended up studying, installing and configuring Monit and Munin, worked out quite nice. If you are interested in these kind of things, please check them out.
*nix rocks in so many fronts, there is a sea of shoulders to stand on.