I’ve come to the conclusion that storing rasters in a database is of dubious value, particularly from a data warehouse perspective. If you manage a collection of rasters that are updated on a frequent basis, storing them in a relational database with ArcSDE quickly becomes a pain. I’m not talking about a dozen or so rasters, but rather tens of thousands. The overhead of the database and middleware just doesn’t seem to be worth it.
I was interested to read that ArcGIS Image Server is now available. Now I admit that I haven’t had any advanced information about the product (has anybody?) but was disappointed to find that its only supported on Windows servers. Disappointed but not surprised. I was hoping for a more open API (specifically something other than ArcObjects and/or .Net) and the ability to use image server on Linux/Unix.