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I'm going to agree with you. In 2020 (and really the last few years), configuration management is outdated. IaC (infrastructure as code) is the current approach. Containerize everything you can, use terraform or cloudformation, or azure devops.

Avoid managing the underlying os as much as possible. Use vanilla or prebuilt images to deploy these containers on, coreos, Amazon's new bottle rocket (maybe). Or use a service like fargate when possible. All configuration should be declarative to avoid errors.

If you need to build images tools like packer are great. AWS has a recommended "golden Ami pipeline" pattern and a new image builder service if you can't use community images.

I'm speaking imperatively but read these as my own directives. I work for a company that consults and actively helps fortune 500's migrate to the cloud. So some of what I'm saying is not possible or harder on prem and I recognize that.

If I had to, I still like Chef, puppet second favorite mostly because of familiarity. Ansiblee can be used with either of these. And tools like serverspec to validate your images. I don't really use any of this anymore though.

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