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The retailer aims to reduce the number of physical servers in its datacentre from 400 to 50 over the next two years.
The plan follows a pilot of virtualisation software from VMware last December, which freed up 57 servers, enabling the retailer to install new datacentre applications.
"We had run out of datacentre capacity and we needed to free up space," said Crispin Hobbs, PC infrastructure manager at John Lewis Partnership.
The virtual servers support IT infrastructure software including Microsoft Internet Information web server, the Microsoft Operations Manager system management tool, and application development and testing tools.
Hobbs plans to expand the use of virtualisation to support business applications in the datacentre. Under the plan, every IT team working on business applications at John Lewis will forecast the number of servers they require in advance.
The move will allow John Lewis to improve its server purchasing, said Hobbs.
"We can plan our year much better. We know how many physical processors we need per month and can more accurately determine the datacentre rack space, power and cabling requirements," he said.
Hobbs said the strategy supported the company's programme to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10%, as it allowed the IT infrastructure team to run datacentre servers more efficiently.
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