We are coming up on the 10th anniversary of the EJB 1.1 final release. When you take a look at the J2EE specification and the Enterprise Java Application programming models and frameworks that are out there now you begin to appreciate what an important step the EJB specification was. Not so much for what you can do with it today, but how it introduced a paradigm shift.
A more recent paradigm shift is cloud computing which effectively puts the application container, in a container. One to watch is CloudFoundry which provides a pay-as-you-go platform using the SpringSource application server. This is a Spring base java application server which is built on Apache Tomcat. The CloudFoundry makes this platform available using Amazon Web Service infrastructure. Although still in beta, it is available now.