Crazy? Stranger things have happened in Silicon Valley. Sun is already working hard to cater to the needs of a post-Redshift era. Its latest UltraSparc processors are designed specifically with the kind of multithreaded, parallel-computing applications that Papadopoulos has in mind. More recently, it has broadened its portfolio to include networking hardware, as well.
Still, it's a long road that connects Sun's grand vision with customer realities. It seems likely that a future that includes a Redshift will not be one that comes of its own accord, but one that Sun will have to shape.
There's no doubt that Sun has superior technology. In the real-world IT market, however, superior technology doesn't always win out. (Some of Sun's competitors in the Workstation Wars can testify to that.) But the other card Sun has in its hand, after all, is sheer staying power. And as it marches onward toward its thirties, let's not think of it as a company approaching middle age. Rather, it's simply growing into maturity. As long as it carries on the cause of open source and open standards -- both in name and in spirit -- there will always be a future for it in the market, no matter what its shape.