From the beginning, Larry said he had no interest in the commodity server market and would phase out Sun's many product lines in favor of very powerful, high end machines. He has certainly kept that promise. The specs on SuperClusters and what are known as engineered appliances like Exadata and Exalogic are off the charts.
Ellison must have seen the writing on the wall for commodity servers. Server unit shipments from 2010 to 2014 are even, according to Gartner, which means at best, servers are being replaced but no new ones are being deployed. Virtualization means you buy one server in place of 10, and the cloud means you dump your servers entirely like many companies are doing. The only people buying commodity servers these days are cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, and they are more likely to build their own than buy.
So while Oracle has hardware unit sales in the hundreds or thousands, it's not losing all that much ground dollar-wise because its systems are so decked out. In Sun's last full fiscal year of 2009, it reported hardware sales and support of $6.7 billion. In Oracle's last fiscal year ended June 2014, hardware sales and support was $5.3 billion. But its unit sales have plunged. Cisco, a company associated with networking, has replaced Oracle in the top five of Gartner's server vendors for unit shipments.
Oracle has focused on using its appliances and engineered systems as turnkey products where the OS, database, middleware, applications, Java and everything else the customer needs or wants is pre-installed and fully integrated. Just plug and go. That smacks of the mainframe days but in some cases that's exactly what some people want.