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As distributed systems grow larger and more complex, the problem of managing them becomes more serious and automated assistance becomes essential. Automated management services need to become a standard part of distributed systems but in order for them to be of any value they must be general enough to adapt to the needs of any organization, without sacrificing practical usability. That challenge is partially addressed with a proposal for automated configuration management based upon descriptions of configuration states. The proposed model is very general, yet the language and algorithms that are introduced are designed to be very practical. Experimental application of this approach to a real-life configuration problem is presented, with comparison to the existing solution that is in production use.