In order to make a CPAN shell solution plausible in my environment, I use CPAN::Mini to maintain a local mini-CPAN mirror. That mirror weighs in somewhere in the area of 450MB.
in reply to How do you manage module deployment?
Then, as I create new or update existing modules I use CPAN::Mini::Inject to add them into the mini-CPAN mirror. Although I currently do this manually, it seems trivial to script it and run out of cron or some other scheduler.
I serve the entire mini-CPAN mirror up over anonymous FTP. I've configured the CPAN module on each build machine to use it as its only CPAN mirror. Then I can pull down the entire project, dependencies and all, to a clean machine with zero hassle. Updates are similarly a breeze, so long as I'm disciplined about maintaining the dependency list.
Some caveats are that the mini-CPAN mirror will only contain the latest-and-greatest CPAN modules each time it updates (though this might be configurable, I'm not sure). That works well for my environment, but may not be so hot for yours. Also, I don't do any updating of modules that I can get from the CPAN. If I were to do so, I imagine that it may require pulling it into a different CPAN namespace than that of the original author.
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All things are Perfect
To every last Flaw
And bound in accord
With Eris's Law
- HBT; The Book of Advice, 1:7