Target Says It's Hitting On All Cylinders With Microsoft Hyper-V


Target is using some 15,000 Hyper-V virtual machines in its stores to power functions such as inventory, point-of-sale, supply chain management, asset protection, and in-store digital media. It's also using System Center Operations Manager and System Center Configuration Manager to manage and patch some 300,000 servers, workstations, cash registers and kiosks.

Minneapolis-based Target is using Hyper-V to run its in-store processor and other mission critical applications, including point-of-sale, pharmacy, asset protection, and SQL Server, Fritz DeBrine, senior group manager for Target Corporation's Server Technology & Enterprise Storage group, said in a Monday blog post.

For Microsoft, the Target case study is an opportunity to talk about how Hyper-V's ability to shave data center costs makes it a cost effective option for large enterprises. Microsoft says Target's Hyper-V deployment allows the retailer to conduct business using 8,650 fewer physical servers.

"Target is just one example of the kind of large-scale deployments we’re seeing with Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center," Brad Anderson, corporate vice president, Management and Security Division at Microsoft, said in a statement.

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Microsoft often talks of the cost savings offered by the combination of Hyper-V and System Center. Earlier this month at the XChange Solution Provider conference, Cindy Bates, vice president of U.S. SMB and Distribution for Microsoft, drove home this message with fresh vigor.

"Not only are you leveraging a platform you know, integrated for your customers from the server room to the desktop, the total cost of ownership is dramatically different," Bates said of the virtualization advantages Microsoft brings to the table. Microsoft can "very confidently say that we are consistently one-third [less than VMware] or cheaper."

Although virtualization solution providers generally agree that Hyper-V is cheaper from a licensing standpoint, it's often not the best value or the best fit for customers due to its lack of certain capabilities and high-end features that VMware offers, according to Steve Kaplan, vice president of data center virtualization practices at INX, a Houston, Texas-based solution provider.

For example, Hyper-V's lack of a virtual distributed switch means there's no visibility into the network traffic flowing through a virtual switch, and that gets in the way of providing network and security policies that can handle live migrations of virtual machines, Kaplan said.