Update (2008-02-05): Is it a meme yet? Gary Sherman is thinking outside the RDBMS box too.
Interesting question from Kirk Kuykendall:
What I’m proposing here sure sounds a lot like what Hadoop does. I wonder if we will ever see the day when we can use something like Hadoop for geoprocessing with ArcObjects on .NET?
The answer is yes, right now. Maybe on windows, for sure on Linux. The why you'd want to put proprietary per-server-licensed software in the mix – when the point of Hadoop is to leverage the combination of commodity hardware and open source – escapes me. Streaming mappers using JTS or GEOS (or Shapely) seem like the way to go. I'd almost bet that somebody somewhere is already doing this, perhaps with their own proprietary geoprocessing software instead of open source. Now what we really need is spatial indexes for HDFS ... maybe Paul Ramsey is interested in tackling this at his new gig?