The future is noded.
NOsql, Dynamic, Event driven, Distributed.
A tipping point has been reached. The JVM is past its peak. Dynamic languages with a low cost of change and greater expressive power are in the ascendance. Scaling through multithreading has been eclipsed by non-blocking single-threaded, multi-process architectures. Centralised databases are being out-evolved by distributed, eventually-consistent, semi-structured storage. Commodity hardware and designing failure-tolerance into the fabric of the system are winning out over specialised, high-cost solutions.
Thus: noded. A noded system is, generally: built on commodity hardware, horizontally scalable, fault-tolerant, (usually) in a dynamic language and operates at a scale far larger than any traditional solution.
So who has a noded architecture? Among others, Google (Bigtable, MapReduce etc…), Facebook (Cassandra), Twitter (FlockDb, Gizzard), Amazon (Dynamo). You may have heard of them.
A number of impressive open-source projects have been released by these organisations and others, and more have been inspired by them: Hadoop, Riak, MongoDB, CouchDB to name a few.