CAP theorem - not a blocker in the practical world
"CAP theorem clearly poses a theoretical problem for cloud computing, where services are being founded on massively distributed servers for their compute and storage."
In Overcoming CAP with consistent soft-state replication, we read:
"The CAP theorem has been highly influential within the cloud computing community, and is widely cited as a justification for building cloud services with weak consistency or assurance properties. CAP’s impact has been especially important in the first-tier settings on which we focus in this article. Many of today’s developers believe that CAP precludes consistency in first-tier services. For example, eBay has proposed BASE (Basically Available replicated Soft state with Eventual consistency), a development methodology in which services that run in a single datacenter on a reliable network are deliberately engineered to use potentially stale or incorrect data, rejecting synchronization in favor of faster response, but running the risk of inconsistencies. Researchers at Amazon.com have also adopted BASE. They point to the self-repair mechanisms in the Dynamo key-value store as an example of how eventual consistency behaves in practice. Inconsistencies that occur in eBay and Amazon cloud applications can often be masked so that users will not notice them. The same can be said for many of today’s most popular cloud computing uses: how much consistency is really needed by YouTube or to support Web searches? However, as applications with stronger assurance needs migrate to the cloud, even minor inconsistencies could endanger users. For example, there has been considerable interest in creating cloud computing solutions for medical records management or control of the electric power grid. Does CAP represent a barrier to building such applications, or can stronger properties be achieved in the cloud?
(main part of article followed by...)
Conclusion: The CAP theorem centers on concerns that the ACID database model and the standard durable form of PAXOS introduce unavoidable delays. We have suggested that these delays are actually associated with durability, which is not a meaningful goal in the cloud’s first tier, where applications are limited to soft state. Nonetheless, an in-memory form of durability is feasible. Leveraging this, we can offer a spectrum of consistency options, ranging from none to "amnesia freedom" to strong f-durability (an update will not be lost unless more than f failures occur). It is possible to offer ordered-based consistency (state machine replication), and yet achieve high levels of scalable performance and fault tolerance. Although the term amnesia freedom is new, our basic point is made in many comparisons of virtual synchrony with Paxos. A concern is that cloud developers, unaware that scalable consistency is feasible, might weaken consistency in applications that actually need strong guarantees. Obviously, not all applications need the strongest forms of consistency, and perhaps this is the real insight. Today’s cloud systems are inconsistent by design because this design point has been relatively easy to implement, scales easily, and works well for the applications that earn the most revenue in today’s cloud. The kinds of applications that need stronger assurance properties simply have not yet wielded enough market power to shift the balance. The good news, however, is that if cloud vendors ever tackle high-assurance cloud computing, CAP will not represent a fundamental barrier to progress."
Actually the whole issue of IEEE Computer is rather interesting.