Yesterday or the day before that I read the available chapters for Hadoop in Action. Hadoop is a Map Reduce implementation in Java, and it includes some very interesting ideas.
The concept of Map Reduce isn't new, but I liked seeing the actual code examples, which made it so much easier to follow what is actually going on. As usual, an In Action book has a lot of stuff in it that relates to getting things started, and since I don't usually work in Java, they were of little interest to me. But the core ideas are very interesting.
It does seems to be limited to a very small set of scenarios, needing to, in essence, index large sets of data. Some of the examples in the book made sense as theoretical problems, but I think that I am still missing the concrete "order to cash" scenario, seeing how we take a business problem and turn that into a set of technical challenges that can be resolved by utilizing Map Reduce in some part of the problem.
As I said, only the first 4 chapters are currently available, and I was reading the early access version, so it is likely will be fixed when more chapters are coming in.