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Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

An early adopter of Microsoft Hyper-V 2.0.

Mitsui & Co., Ltd. took a bold approach to moving its entire environment to enterprise cloud computing. It commenced a strategic virtualization project that will consolidate their existing 1,000 servers into a virtualized IT infrastructure.

An early adopter of Microsoft Hyper-V 2.0.

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (“Mitsui”) is the leading general trading company in Japan. It has begun a company-wide project to strategically virtualize its entire array of servers across all operating divisions. This ranges from business-critical systems to dedicated individual systems. The aim of the virtualization project is the deployment of a flexible and scalable IT infrastructure that will allow the company to quickly respond to ever-changing business needs. Mitsui chose Fujitsu’s industry-standard server, PRIMERGY RX300 S5, as the core platform and adopted Microsoft Hyper-V 2.0 to create their virtualization environment.
Based on Fujitsu’s well-recognized strength in providing high-performance and high-reliability hardware and its wealth of knowledge and technical capabilities, Mitsui also selected them to evaluate the beta version of Hyper-V 2.0. Mitsui’s virtualization project was the important first step in achieving company-wide enterprise cloud computing involving not only Mitsui H.Q. but the entire Mitsui & Co. Group.


Overview

  • Industry
    General trading company (Import/Export)
  • Hardware
    PRIMERGY RX300 S5 Industry Standard Server
  • Software
    Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V 2.0

Customer’s Background

Evaluating the Hyper-V 2.0 beta to deploy the virtualized IT infrastructure

Mr. Kuroda, Deputy General Manager, Information Technology Promotion Div., Mitsui & Co., Ltd.Mr. Kuroda, Deputy General Manager, Information Technology Promotion Div., Mitsui & Co., Ltd.  

At the opening up of Japan during the Meiji period, world trade was dominated by trading companies of developed countries. Mitsui & Co., Ltd. was established with the ambition to compete with those dominant trading companies. Since then Japan has experienced significant changes but welcomed the new era of high-speed economic growth and the development of globalization. In response to such growth and changing demands, Mitsui has committed itself to nurturing industries that can be the new driving forces in the world economy and to achieving the transformation of Japan’s industrial structure.
Currently, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. operates a wide variety of business around the world, anchored in the following four areas: mineral resources & energy; logistics networks; consumer business; and infrastructure projects. This means the company continues to do business in a vast range of fields, aiming to be a global enterprise with comprehensive strengths, and with the ability to contribute to regional development.

Mitsui has a spirit of “Challenges and Innovation”. Its very DNA is based on the opening up of new possibilities. “Once a company stops taking on challenges, it will just result in the decline of the company. At Mitsui, we always want to be very fast in trying and implementing the latest technologies. We also take an aggressive approach to R&D, aiming at contributing to the company’s growth,” says Kuroda, Deputy General Manager of the Information Technology Promotion Div. at Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
Kuroda continues, “We’ve just started our IT infrastructure virtualization project, and this project will be a big challenge for us. We are aiming to re-deploy our existing 1,000 servers into a Microsoft Hyper-V 2.0-based virtualization environment. We are now at the pilot phase, working on evaluation of the beta version of Hyper-V 2.0.”

“We can take greater advantage in the areas of costs, efficiency and competitiveness by implementing the latest technologies. It is also a big advantage for the company to implement immediately and know about products as soon as they are released,” says Kuroda about evaluating the beta version.

Project background

Achieving flexible and scalable IT infrastructure that quickly responds to business changes

“For a general trading company like us, creating and developing new business is an essential factor in realizing incremental growth. When new business starts up, we consider the increased needs to support that system. That said, it is obviously inefficient to provision a new hardware platform each time a new application is needed. As the business situation keeps changing rapidly, servers which overflow their capacity are not easy to transfer to other purposes. As a result, the number of serve units increases”, states Kuroda.
“Apart from that, our IT staff needs to spend a great deal of time performing enormous migration tasks incurred by aging hardware infrastructure. So we started looking for a new IT architecture that would allow us to manage the hardware infrastructure and applications, with different lifecycles,” says Kuroda explaining Mitsui’s IT situation.

When Mitsui started rethinking its IT environment, the company looked at virtualization technology to solve those IT challenges.
“With server virtualization, we expect that Mitsui will be able to reduce drastically the number of servers. However, reducing the number of physical boxes is not the fundamental objective of the virtualization project. Our main purpose is to deploy flexible and responsive IT infrastructure with appropriate costs so that Mitsui can meet changing business demands quickly, as well as make better use of IT to support Mitsui’s business activities. To make this happen, Mitsui has developed a company-wide server virtualization strategy, aimed at virtualization of the entire environment from business-critical systems to dedicated individual systems,” states Kuroda.

Kuroda also talks about the reasons Mitsui decided to go with Microsoft Hyper-V 2.0. “From a scalability perspective, we think Hyper-V 2.0 is a good decision. We believe that Microsoft’s technologies will be a huge help in terms of rebuilding our entire infrastructure in the way we want – to enable total management and further expansion of virtualized servers in the future. As an integrated feature of the well-designed Windows Server 2008 operating system, Hyper-V 2.0 will deliver solid and stable operation of the virtualized environment. Mitsui believes Hyper-V 2.0 will support business change flexibly, if we consider future enhancement. Mitsui is also very attracted by the complete set of management tools.”

Selecting a server vendor and progressing with the evaluation tasks

Expertise and strong technical capabilities with Hyper-V 2.0 were important considerations for Mitsui.

Mr. Shimizu, General Manager, Information & Communication Technology Dept, Information Technology Promotion Div., Mitsui & Co., Ltd.Mr. Shimizu, General Manager, Information & Communication Technology Dept, Information Technology Promotion Div., Mitsui & Co., Ltd.  

Embarking on the company-wide virtualization project, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. chose to work with Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd. (MKI), as a partner. MKI is a Mitsui & Co. Group company specializing in system integration. “MKI offered its expertise in Microsoft Hyper-V. When Mitsui asked MKI for a help, MKI already had three years of experience in investigating Hyper-V and had built a wealth of virtualization knowledge. In choosing that partner, Mitsui was very sure that MKI would provide everything we sought to go ahead with the virtualization project: sufficient know-how to deploy and operate Mitsui’s mission-critical and other systems, and strong technical capabilities for ensuring centralized management of consolidated servers,” says Kuroda.

According to Kuroda, selecting a server vendor was another critical issue, because server platforms would play a core role in the virtualization environment. As Mitsui needed to use the beta version of Hyper-V 2.0 for technological evaluation, it was Fujitsu that fully supported Mitsui’s request, although other vendors had also started to develop capabilities with Hyper-V. Fujitsu was already providing device support, including drivers. “Fujitsu’s proactive and advanced approach to Hyper-V gave us confidence that they would deliver real value to Mitsui, both in helping the evaluation and further development and best meeting our requirements very precisely,” states Kuroda. Accordingly, Mitsui turned to Fujitsu’s industry-standard server, PRIMERGY RX300 S5, as the core infrastructure of the virtualization project, highly appreciating the PRIMERGY server’s outstanding reliability, performance and cost effectiveness.

Mitsui is now at the evaluation phase, and the company has just finished evaluating its active applications and operations in the Hyper-V based virtual environment. “We tested the high-availability features such as live migration and MFSC (Failover Cluster) to see if the continuous availability of our systems could be ensured. Based on Mitsui’s goal of virtualization of our business-critical applications, we also tested the performance of the SAP system in the virtualized environment,” says Shimizu, General Manager of the Information & Communication Technology Dept at Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Mr. Iijima, General Manager, Customer Support Division 2, iDC Management Department, MKI Network Solutions, Ltd. (MKInet)Mr. Iijima, General Manager, Customer Support Division 2, iDC Management Department, MKI Network Solutions, Ltd. (MKInet)  

MKI Network Solutions, Ltd. (“MKInet”), one of MKI’s own group companies, provided support for Mitsui to conduct the evaluation tasks. Eisuke Iijima, General Manager, Customer Support Division 2, iDC Management Unit at MKInet says, “Fujitsu deserves credit for ensuring that Mitsui was able to finish conducting the evaluation tasks on time under the challenging conditions of using the beta version.”

Shimizu also shows his appreciation for Fujitsu’s excellent support. “So far, we have been helped a lot. Not only by Fujitsu’s customer-designated engineers but also their business divisions in charge of server products and Hyper-V support. We really appreciate Fujitsu providing prompt and responsive support. For example, each time Mitsui encounters a problem Fujitsu is very quick to help specify the causes of the trouble and to provide guidance and options for resolving the problem.”



Future scenarios

Standardization of virtualization technology for Mitsui’s mission-critical systems

Mr.Matsushima Deputy General Manager, ERP Solution Div., Technology & Engineering Unit, Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd. (MKI)Mr.Matsushima Deputy General Manager, ERP Solution Div., Technology & Engineering Unit, Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd. (MKI) 

Mitsui will move on to the next virtualization IT infrastructure phase. Kentaro Matsushima, Deputy Geneal Manager of the ERP Solution Division, Technical Development Unit at MKI says, “When we conduct performance evaluation tasks in the next step, setting performance standards in the virtual environment will become an important issue.”

MKI also examines the benefits

Matsushima talks about the benefits delivered by the virtualization project from MKI’s business perspective. “What matters is how we can create and operate the mega-scale virtualization environment. We always face IT challenges, for example, performance, backup and security requirements. Through this virtualization project, MKI will be able to accumulate practical know-how and experience in addressing IT challenges and requirements that arise in day-to-day operations. This means a lot to MKI’s virtualization business,” states Matsushima.

Mitsui is also looking for improved operation costs from common deployment methods for virtualization IT infrastructure. Kuroda says, “it is important to adopt the latest technology and optimize the total system when we are operating this new technology. If we are forced to adopt existing systems in the standardization process, it will be wasteful. Mitsui wants to proceed with the standardization effectively, for example, we will modify a system to synchronize with the timing of system replacement or version upgrade.


Lastly, Kuroda concludes by mentioning the future direction of Mitsui’s company-wide focus on virtualization. “We will begin by putting into production relatively small-sized systems and expand the use of Hyper-V based virtualization gradually, to ensure stable system operation. At Mitsui, there will be scheduled replacement of mission-critical systems in 2010, and we are now planning to adopt the virtualization technology to run these critical systems. For IT support for trading company’s activities, it is necessary to deploy applications as early as possible and operate effectively. Server consolidation by virtualization is not our goal but just our starting point. Mitsui will then expand the IT standardization implementation to the entire Mitsui & Co. Group, including overseas subsidiaries, to achieve our ultimate goal of realizing total group-wide enterprise cloud computing, as quickly and as fully as possible. We hope that Mitsui, MKI and Fujitsu will keep working together, further strengthen our mutual trust, and move towards our goals in the spirit of taking challenges.”

Mitsui & Co., Ltd. continues to evolve in the global marketplace. With its comprehensive strength and capabilities, Fujitsu strives to address Mitsui’s IT requirements, including virtualization technologies and server platforms, and support Mitsui’s incremental growth by respecting Mitsui’s spirit of “Challenges and Innovation.”

About Mitsui & Co., Ltd

Head Office : 2-1 Ohtemachi 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan
Representative: Masami Iijima, President and Chief Executive Officer
Date of Establishment : July 25, 1947
Common Stock : 339,626,747,953 Japanese yen (As of March 31, 2009)
Number of Employees : 5,886 (Consolidated: 39,864) (As of March 31, 2009)
Major Business Areas :
Using its global operating locations, networks and information resources, Mitsui multilaterally pursues business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing, through to the development of major international infrastructure and other projects in the following fields: iron & steel products; mineral & metal resources; infrastructure projects; motor vehicles; marine & aerospace; chemicals; energy; foods & retail; consumer services; information; electronics and telecommunications; financial markets; and transportation logistics.
Website : Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Note:
Information in this case study, including figures, names and job titles are based on information supplied at the published date and may have changed when this information is viewed.

For more information:

Industries:

  • Retail/Wholesale

Offering Groups:

  • Intel-Based Servers

Solution Areas:

  • Microsoft Solutions

Regions:

  • Japan

Challenges:

  • Deploy flexible and scalable IT infrastructure that will allow Mitsui to respond to changing business needs.
  • Reduce IT workloads and concentrate more on value-added production tasks.
  • Enable enterprise cloud computing for the entire Mitsui & Co. Group, including overseas subsidiaries.

Benefits:

  • Gradually moving all internal servers into a virtualization environment and separating the lifecycle of hardware infrastructure and applications will enable Mitsui to responsively change with business needs.
  • Step-by-step expansion using standardized implementations will allow confirmation that the correct results are being achieved. More problematic systems can also be accommodated within the implementation until they can be replaced by new applications more suited to the entire Mitsui & Co. Group.
  • With a goal of enterprise cloud computing, Mitsui can proceed with virtualization-based IT standardization on a system by system basis. Mitsui can thereby expand this standardized implementation to the entire Mitsui & Co. Group.