Target stores moving to Microsoft's Hyper-V

In the enterprise virtualization world VMWare is the dominant force but companies like Microsoft have been working to change the virtual world. With acquisitions and improvements in their software and licensing structure Microsoft's Hyper-V has become more appealing to businesses around the globe. 

Target stores decided they liked the options for virtualization that Microsoft provided so the two companies struck a deal. Target plans to roll out Hyper-V to all 1,700 of its stores and in the process creating 15,000 virtual machines. By moving their systems to a virtual environment they will be able eliminate 8,000 physical servers from their environment which includes moving to two servers per store rather than seven. 

According to Microsoft's press release, Brad Anderson, corporate vice president, Management and Security Division at Microsoft said,

Target is just one example of the kind of large-scale deployments we’re seeing with Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center. Particularly as organizations are contemplating cloud computing, they find comfort in knowing the Microsoft platform can virtualize and manage all kinds of applications — Microsoft’s, a third party’s or home-grown — on a massive scale.

Target can add itself to a list of of other retailers that have decided to adopt Hyper-V as their virtualization software of choice, CNet points out that both Del Monte and Costco are using Microsoft's technology as well. 

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I love the idea of virtualisation, so much power and space is saved, but I had the idea that security is so low on it. With 7 servers, you'd need to get access to each one to 'hack' the system, with virtualisation, you need to compromise the host underlying OS with a bug and then you've got full admin access.
Until more security concerns are raised in the news and whatnot and until the companies fix the issues I won't be using it.

Does anyone wonder WTF a target store is doing with 7 servers to begin with? Seriously, do they have one for each dept or something?

John Nash said,
Does anyone wonder WTF a target store is doing with 7 servers to begin with? Seriously, do they have one for each dept or something?

I'm sure Microsoft isn't complaining.

John Nash said,
Does anyone wonder WTF a target store is doing with 7 servers to begin with? Seriously, do they have one for each dept or something?
I can think of reasons to have 7: inventory, general accounting, cash registers/product pricing, human resources (employees, payroll, etc), pharmacy inventory, pharmacy cash registers, backup.

Regression_88 said,
I can think of reasons to have 7: inventory, general accounting, cash registers/product pricing, human resources (employees, payroll, etc), pharmacy inventory, pharmacy cash registers, backup.

If that's the case then they are very inefficient. I know all we can do is to speculate on what they have on site, but if for example they actually DO have a configuration like you suggest then JEEZ... Maybe they need to look for a new enterprise architect and save themselves some EA dollars. There's really no reason a department store with maybe 50 - 100 people in it, most of which probably don't do more than touch a register (etc) at any time to be using those amounts of computer resources. I see 'maybe' two server class machines at a place like that. One for backoffice apps like you suggest and one for mail, and that's pushing it.

John Nash said,

If that's the case then they are very inefficient. I know all we can do is to speculate on what they have on site, but if for example they actually DO have a configuration like you suggest then JEEZ... Maybe they need to look for a new enterprise architect and save themselves some EA dollars. There's really no reason a department store with maybe 50 - 100 people in it, most of which probably don't do more than touch a register (etc) at any time to be using those amounts of computer resources. I see 'maybe' two server class machines at a place like that. One for backoffice apps like you suggest and one for mail, and that's pushing it.


Woah. I can't believe I missed this. Having separate servers for each of the tasks I listed makes a LOT of sense if for no other reason than if one is compromised, the others aren't. Imagine one hacks the inventory server to show fewer product was available and steals the product, but the accounting server shows the product in the correct quantity was delivered and paid for. The backup server would collaborate the claims and the human resource server could possibly show who was logged in the inventory at the time it was modified.

As for a dept store with 50-100 people in it... ever been in one? Very few of the people on the floor touch a cash register; the others are responsible for handling merchandise returned for defect or similar, tracking stock, stocking shelves, unloading trucks, watching dressing rooms and the like.

I'm surprised by your naïveté.

Maybe Target should do homework instead of just choosing the Microsoft name. (Doesn't anyone know that Microsoft isn't a good name anymore?!) Anyway, VMware has better management tools, a stronger reputation, more experience, more mature products, a more robust and efficient hypervisor, cutting edge virtualization technologies and better customer support. Microsoft can't match anything that VMware is going in the virtualization space at any level.

I manage both products at my company and suffice to say that all of our important stuff is on VMware because it's simply better all the way around. If you want to do something different with virtualization and you don't like VMware for some odd reason, for the love of God use Xen instead. Or Red Hat's RHEV. Geez.

bloodsugarwilks said,
Maybe Target should do homework instead of just choosing the Microsoft name. (Doesn't anyone know that Microsoft isn't a good name anymore?!) Anyway, VMware has better management tools, a stronger reputation, more experience, more mature products, a more robust and efficient hypervisor, cutting edge virtualization technologies and better customer support. Microsoft can't match anything that VMware is going in the virtualization space at any level.

I manage both products at my company and suffice to say that all of our important stuff is on VMware because it's simply better all the way around. If you want to do something different with virtualization and you don't like VMware for some odd reason, for the love of God use Xen instead. Or Red Hat's RHEV. Geez.


Why? And the "because it's not microsoft" excuse isn't vaild here.

Hyper-V works just fine. Also VMware's management tools are (at least to me) a little lacking. Sure they are functional, but man they are annoyingly slow. That is one place Hyper-V wins out.

Target plans to roll out Hyper-V to all 1,700 of its stores and "in the process" creating 15,000 virtual machines "in the process".

No need to repeat in the process

darthyoda6 said,
Target plans to roll out Hyper-V to all 1,700 of its stores and "in the process" creating 15,000 virtual machines "in the process".

No need to repeat in the process


No need to post corrections, just Report a problem

bankajac said,
I run Ubuntu 10, CentOS 5.5, and ClearOS 5.1 in Hyper-V. So yes, it does.

See that reply button next to people's posts? Click it next time instead of making a new post

bj55555 said,
Ubuntu and SUSE without drivers.

Ubuntu 10.10 has the 2.6.35 kernel which has full Hyper-V integration support.
Ubuntu 10.04, the last LTS version has 2.6.32 which supports the synthetic ethernet device and the block mode storage device but not some of the other "niceties" like shutdown support or proper timesync.

However there is an official 2.6.35 backport for 10.04. So that's what you want.

Indeed Hyper-V Linux support would generally be characterised as good for any Linux with 2.6.35 or later. MS Support will only support RHEL 5/6 and SLES 10/11. But that's no surprise.

hornetfighter said,

Ubuntu 10.10 has the 2.6.35 kernel which has full Hyper-V integration support.
Ubuntu 10.04, the last LTS version has 2.6.32 which supports the synthetic ethernet device and the block mode storage device but not some of the other "niceties" like shutdown support or proper timesync.

However there is an official 2.6.35 backport for 10.04. So that's what you want.

Indeed Hyper-V Linux support would generally be characterised as good for any Linux with 2.6.35 or later. MS Support will only support RHEL 5/6 and SLES 10/11. But that's no surprise.

Can I install x/y/z Linux distro on Hyper-V ? probably , yes
Will MS support x/y/z Linux distro ? probably not

There is a difference

Emil Valsson said,
Does Hyper-V offer support for Linux Guest OS's?

Last time I checked it did have some sort of support for Linux (not for other OSes tho). I remember some time ago MS did release some open source code for the kernel but I am not 100% sure what was included.

Emil Valsson said,
Does Hyper-V offer support for Linux Guest OS's?

I've installed both Ubuntu and SUSE as guests on Hyper-V.

Emil Valsson said,
Does Hyper-V offer support for Linux Guest OS's?

We are running currently 89 Debian mashines on Hyper-V.

When deciding which platform to use, Xen was the fastest for Debian and slowest for Windows, Hyper-V fastest for Windows and middle for Debian and ESXi was, surprisingly, in the middle for Windows, while slowest for Debian... All the tests were taken like 2 years ago witch all official kernel virtualization mods available...

Since then MS released some source for kernel, which is actually included in the newest Debian kernel, which enables a lot more integration features...

In short: I like Hyper-V

Folks, it's VMware....not VMWare.

While I agree that Hyper-V has become more appealing after making some vast improvements, it still has a way to go before it is as good as vSphere. And once you roll it out for 1,700 systems and 15,000 VMs, those differences can mean a lot. This is good PR for Microsoft but for me I'd rather use VMware. It may be harder to setup but it is worth it in the long run.

VirtualCloudPants said,
Folks, it's VMware....not VMWare.

While I agree that Hyper-V has become more appealing after making some vast improvements, it still has a way to go before it is as good as vSphere. And once you roll it out for 1,700 systems and 15,000 VMs, those differences can mean a lot. This is good PR for Microsoft but for me I'd rather use VMware. It may be harder to setup but it is worth it in the long run.

Setup of vSphere isn't even that difficult. Maintaining it when something goes wrong is the more challenging scenario, as I'm much more proficient w/ Windows than I am Linux, so troubleshooting is a bit confusing.

VirtualCloudPants said,
Folks, it's VMware....not VMWare.

OK, captialization-nazi. Glad you corrected all of us. I'll try to remember to fix that but it might be awhile

briangw said,

OK, captialization-nazi. Glad you corrected all of us. I'll try to remember to fix that but it might be awhile


"A while", and full stop to end your sentences. Nazi should technically be spelt with a capital.

On topic : We're using VMware at work and find it excellent. We did the weigh-up with Microsoft's offering as well, but it didn't stack up for us.

VirtualCloudPants said,
Folks, it's VMware....not VMWare.

While I agree that Hyper-V has become more appealing after making some vast improvements, it still has a way to go before it is as good as vSphere. And once you roll it out for 1,700 systems and 15,000 VMs, those differences can mean a lot. This is good PR for Microsoft but for me I'd rather use VMware. It may be harder to setup but it is worth it in the long run.

What's hard about setting up vSphere ? ESXi install takes all of 10mins , configure your management interfaces and you're up and running in about 20 mins flat !

Raa said,

"A while", and full stop to end your sentences. Nazi should technically be spelt with a capital.

On topic : We're using VMware at work and find it excellent. We did the weigh-up with Microsoft's offering as well, but it didn't stack up for us.

You forgot to mention that I started a sentence with "Glad" vs. something like "I'm glad."

briangw said,

You forgot to mention that I started a sentence with "Glad" vs. something like "I'm glad."

Where are you guys with all of the other spelling and grammar mistakes people make? I constantly see misspelled words and poor grammar. Like dispise, occassional, and the ever popular "there" instead of "their".

this weekend I will be moving our 2, long in the tooth physical servers over to our new shiney machine as virtual servers (P2V migration). I'm loving Hyper-V right now!

I've used both. For me, I prefer VMWare because I've used it longer from the 3.5 days to now, but Hyper-V seemed a lot easier to setup.

VMWare ESXi bare-metal hypervisor is free, why waste money on M$ software? And in general the VMWare solution is cheaper to license and maintain, and supports more than just Microsoft operating systems.

I think I'll stick with VMWare.

spikey_richie said,
VMWare ESXi bare-metal hypervisor is free, why waste money on M$ software? And in general the VMWare solution is cheaper to license and maintain, and supports more than just Microsoft operating systems.

I think I'll stick with VMWare.


I'm fairly certain that the IT team at Target knows more about their systems' need then you do (and likely have a higher proficiency at correctly striking the S key as well.)

Microft Hyper-V bare-metal hypervisor is just as free as ESXi

Of course you have to pay for any MS Server licence running under it, but you have to do that when using VMware, too...

spikey_richie said,
VMWare ESXi bare-metal hypervisor is free, why waste money on M$ software? And in general the VMWare solution is cheaper to license and maintain, and supports more than just Microsoft operating systems.

I think I'll stick with VMWare.

When you pay for software, you pay for support. That's why no one complains about the free stuff Google gives you. You get what you pay for not not a penny more.

spikey_richie said,
VMWare ESXi bare-metal hypervisor is free, why waste money on M$ software? And in general the VMWare solution is cheaper to license and maintain, and supports more than just Microsoft operating systems.

I think I'll stick with VMWare.

Ignorance is bliss ey?

Every copy of server 2008r2 comes with a physical key and a virtual key - so if you wanted to run a server virtually, and its a windows server, then your licenced to run the Hyper-V host and a client machine, then you need a valid license for every other server you have.

Or you but server 2008 enterprise, and can run the host along with 4 virtual machines.

Or you can just download the no GUI based Hyper-V server (free) and install the management tools on another machine, or let systems centre virtual machine manager take care of things.

Or use VMWare, just sayin

spikey_richie said,
VMWare ESXi bare-metal hypervisor is free, why waste money on M$ software? And in general the VMWare solution is cheaper to license and maintain, and supports more than just Microsoft operating systems.

I think I'll stick with VMWare.

ESXi is free but try maintaining 15,000 VMs with no central management. VMware doesn't include that for free.

VirtualCloudPants said,

Neither does Microsoft.


Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 (free, bare metal setup, can be installed and loaded from a USB stick) + Remote management tools for Hyper-V.

VirtualCloudPants said,

Neither does Microsoft.


Nobody said they did. The point was aimed at spikey richie essentially saying that VMWare was better because it was free. Brandon was just pointing out that it isn't as free as spikey richie makes out.

ESXi and Hyper-V Server are both not fun to work with without the proper management tools. Those don't come for free. Besides, in a deployment like Target is doing, they're not looking for a free option, they're looking for what's best for them in many ways, cost being one of them, but free certainly isn't something they're considering.

And to the person that said paid = support, that's not true. I use VMware Essentials and I don't get any support with that. It costs extra. Same for other versions of vSphere.

zeke009 said,
I'm more interested in their use case and how they plan to patch/maintain it.

No problems at my last job. Shavlik scanned and patched Hyper-V nodes the same as they did with the guest machines during our monthly maintenance windows. Not saying Target uses Shavlik, but I'm sure their patching software most likely would.

I've used professionally both Hyper-V and VMWare, but I just don't get on with VMWare at all. I love how Hyper-V feels and it's features for automation.

Good news

dave164 said,
I've used professionally both Hyper-V and VMWare, but I just don't get on with VMWare at all. I love how Hyper-V feels and it's features for automation.

Good news

I strongly agree. Hyper-V since R2 is great and SP1 for 2008 R2 with the dynamic memory is huge! VMWare pricing is scary and with Hyper-V putting up great competitiion in features and price the choice is easy to go with Hyper-V. One of the things Microsoft can actually be proud of, WP7 Team take note.

koolin said,

I strongly agree. Hyper-V since R2 is great and SP1 for 2008 R2 with the dynamic memory is huge! VMWare pricing is scary and with Hyper-V putting up great competitiion in features and price the choice is easy to go with Hyper-V. One of the things Microsoft can actually be proud of, WP7 Team take note.

VMware customers have had the pleasure of using dynamic memory for quite a few years now and a few other features that Microsoft have only just recently introduced into their Hyper-V products. The whole VMware vrs Hyper-V debate , for me , boils down to this. If you want to drive a fast , powerful car with a good pedigree you'll buy a Ferrari , if you want something cheap and economical try something like a Ford Focus/Fiesta ... apply that logic to your hypervisor of choice. If you want a feature rich , solid reliable product , pay a little extra for VMware , looking to scrimp/save , go for Hyper-V

cragdoo said,

VMware customers have had the pleasure of using dynamic memory for quite a few years now and a few other features that Microsoft have only just recently introduced into their Hyper-V products. The whole VMware vrs Hyper-V debate , for me , boils down to this. If you want to drive a fast , powerful car with a good pedigree you'll buy a Ferrari , if you want something cheap and economical try something like a Ford Focus/Fiesta ... apply that logic to your hypervisor of choice. If you want a feature rich , solid reliable product , pay a little extra for VMware , looking to scrimp/save , go for Hyper-V

Um, you are skipping a lot things that would redefine HyperV as the Ferrari. Maybe a bit more time working with the technology, and even understanding how the technology works might change your mind.

Even RemoteFX is enough of a reason to call HyperV the Ferrari in your analogy.