My friend and I are rebuilding an old, text-based browser RPG, occasionally with another friend helps out with art and game content.
We're on LDAP, which we use to SSH into our ec2 servers, and which we use for authentication when we deploy using `git push production master` to a GlusterFS cluster. We're running our LDAP, application, and file servers on Gentoo. We can easily add new accounts, and we have it set up with group permissions (so the friend can deploy game content to test but not prod, for example).
I refuse to believe that LDAP is "too complicated" or "has to scale before it's useful", when a couple of guys can, in their free time, set it up for themselves. It's saved us a load of time in managing servers that would otherwise take away from the limited time we have to actually write code.
It's also a whole lot cleaner than a bunch of Chef scripts running a script across a quantity of servers; using Chef can too often be a crutch to fixing the actual issue.