The Seven & i Group operates retail and other businesses in 18 countries and territories worldwide, including its core SEVEN-ELEVEN JAPAN convenience store business, Ito-Yokado and York-Benimaru superstores, Sogo & Seibu department stores, Seven Bank and other financial services companies, and specialty stores such as Akachan Honpo and THE LOFT. Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd., which controls these group companies as a holding company, is one of the world’s leading retail enterprises, with group sales of over JPY 11 trillion (as of FY 2021), and a workforce of over 135,000 group employees (as of the end of February 2021).
Helped curb IT investment enabling cost reduction
Enhanced security of the entire group and standardizing endpoints
Avoided excessive initial investment with a platform that enables flexible scaling out
We needed to implement a highly agile application virtualization that would enable us to speedily add new applications in line with changes in the business environment. With Nutanix, we were able to quickly build a platform that enables flexible scaling out, thereby avoiding excessive initial investment.
Hisashi Kobayashi, IT Infrastructure Department, Group DX Strategy and Planning Division, Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd.
Seven & i Holdings is driving digital transformation (DX) across the Seven & i Group as part of its corporate growth strategy to constantly create and offer products and services that match changes in customer values and behavior.
Seven & i Holdings has drawn up a Group DX Strategy Map delineating digital transformation measures across the entire group, and is pursuing both “offensive DX” to generate new value, and “defensive DX” to boost the security and efficiency of its operations. It decided to deploy a common group-wide infrastructure and integrated office automation (OA) and network environments to achieve its DX goals.
Seven & i Holdings is planning to build a virtual environment equipped with a diversity of business applications that can run on the computers used by group companies. “The problem is that a lot of PCs within the group are very closely integrated with legacy systems, which means that we need to implement mechanisms for supporting those legacy systems too,” says Hisashi Kobayashi of Senior Officer of the IT Infrastructure Department in the Group DX Strategy and Planning Division. “We need to focus on coordination and transition processes with each group company to ensure reliable integration of the OA/network infrastructures in which the applications of different group companies operate. That’s why application virtualization was necessary for some companies to minimize the impact on the business applications of each company, and we were looking for a stable infrastructure solution that is both easy to integrate and enables flexible scaling out.” Seven & i Holdings also needed to minimize the security risks associated with connecting such companies digitally as part of DX implementation.
It was difficult to standardize the existing business systems across the group because business applications and PCs are closely integrated, so Seven & i Holdings considered application virtualization to enable existing legacy systems to run in a new environment. Mr. Kobayashi had deployed Nutanix at his previous workplace, and since Nutanix had already been chosen as a common infrastructure development environment, Seven & i Holdings decided to use Nutanix Cloud Platform for the integrated OA and network infrastructures across the group companies. The organization gave Nutanix high marks for its cost effectiveness, ease of integration, scalability, and track record of stable operation.
Seven & i Holdings anticipates operating over 20,000 virtual machines, including those for group company applications that can be virtualized. It has deployed VMware ESXi as a hypervisor, Nutanix Files as a file server, and encryption software for saving data. It also plans to use Nutanix Technical Account Manager (TAM) service to help enable the swift construction of a secure environment.
This project will enable the creation of a platform to enhance group-wide security and standardization of endpoints without relying on business applications that have been used by group companies. It will also help to significantly curb group company IT investment, leading to cost reduction. “With the deployment of a platform that will provide more sophisticated security, we will be able to achieve greater efficiency and enhanced security by implementing consistent security measures centrally and reducing costs.” says Mr. Kobayashi.
Since Seven & i Holdings plans to divide its group companies into three groups and spend the next few years integrating systems that can be virtualized, it will likely come across cases in which new environments are urgently required in addition to the applications that it is currently aware of. “We needed to implement a highly agile application virtualization that will enable us to quickly provide environments in such cases, and we felt that Nutanix would best serve these needs,” says Mr. Kobayashi. “We were able to build a platform in a short space of time to respond flexibly to changing demands by scaling out, thereby avoiding excessive initial investment.”
Kobayashi says that he hopes Nutanix, which has driven the HCI market by leveraging new infrastructure architecture, will “continue to create innovative products that significantly change architecture for the better, just as it did with HCI”.