Distributed application management consists of monitoring and controlling an application as it executes in a distributed environment. It encompasses such activities as configuration, initialization, performance monitoring, resource scheduling, and failure response. The Meta system is described: a collection of tools for constructing distributed application management software. Meta provides the mechanism, while the programmer specifies the policy for application management. The policy is manifested as a control program which is a soft real time reactive program. The underlying application is instrumented with a variety of built-in and user defined sensors and actuators. These define the interface between the control program and the application. The control program also has access to a database describing the structure of the application and the characteristics of its environment. Some of the more difficult problems for application management occur when pre-existing, nondistributed programs are integrated into a distributed application for which they may not have been intended. Meta allows management functions to be retrofitted to such programs with a minimum of effort.