I am thinking about creating a linux appliance (probably using xubuntu booting from a USB drive, FYI) and I'm curious about how best to perform remote updates and administration.
The use case I want to support, is to have this box at a remote location out of my control (someone's house or office) and I want to update it remotely to patch something, alter it's configuration, maybe just upgrade the OS or applications on it for example.
At a dead-simple one-by-one situation, I figure that if it's running the entire OS in RAM, I should be able to remotely overwrite the OS image on the USB drive and tell the machine to reboot for the changes to take effect.
However, I got to thinking that I can't be the first guy with this problem. So what software/conifguration is available to manage a remote set of (very similar if not identical) appliances. I'd also love to have a dashboard where I can dive into each box to diagnose problems too -- but the idea of remote updates (especially in bulk) seems like a whole new problem.