Is there an alternative to properties files for managing DB (and other service) connection credentials for a group of web applications? Couldn't you use something similar to a service registry?
For example, the client web app would connect to the "credential registry" server with a key and then retrieve the DB credentials needed. That way, all credentials could be managed/updated/etc. in one place, in the credential registry. It would also be an alternative to having unencrypted passwords in a text file on the web server.
Do people do this in practice? Specifically, is there a more automated way to manage large numbers of credentials in a large number of applications/environments?