Updating distributed web applications


we've got a web application, which runs without the common standalone application servers like tomcat or jboss, rather it runs with an embedded jetty server. Now we are planing to run instances of this application on multiple machines, with a load balancer serving the requests.

The big question is: is there a common scenario on how to update these applications? Lets think of 10 instances on 10 machines (one instance per machine), where we want to update each of these applications version. The brute force approach would be, to stop all instances, update and then restart it. This is a lot of manual work ;) Another problem is down-time: so someone must only shutdown one server after another, but then there are multiple application versions around.

Can someone please provide us with a hint for this problem? Perhaps papers, tools or something like that?

Thanks  a lot :)