Sun Microsystems CTO Greg Papadopoulos suggests that enterprise applications are dividing into Web and data-enabled applications and more traditional enterprise applications. Those that are Web and/or data-enabled are exploding (confirming Tim O'Reilly's theory of where the value is, perhaps). The rest are not.
What does this mean?
It means that the future belongs to the database, not the processor, as I read Papadopoulos' comments. Importantly, this isn't a Web 2.0 (Twitter, Google, etc.) world against everyone else. It turns out that data/database-enabled applications exist in credit card processing companies and other "old school" stodgy companies.
It's a question of how old- and new-school companies are choosing to compete. As industries become more and more competitive, databases (and all the things that come with them like business intelligence, data mining, etc.) are proving to be a key way to differentiate and win.
The question, then, becomes how to manage the growth from these applications. Papadopoulos notes:
"Over the past four or five years, people have been talking about the commoditization of computing, as if all the innovation were over. Sure, general-purpose computing is a commodity. But designing really efficient systems to handle these kinds of workloads, and getting productive with the data center software and its management--those are anything but solved problems."
Red shift, in itself, is a diagnosis. The prescription, as Papadopoulos sees it, is a return to utility computing and shared infrastructure.
This may seem a little self-serving. (Sun is, after all, a tier-one utility computing player.) Or it may be self-fulfilling prophecy, for the same reason.
But there's something to it. It's worth a read, anyway.