I’ve had all of our servers running beneath the Xen hypervisor for a little over two years now, and all in all, I’ve got to say I don’t think I’d ever consider going back to the old way. Xen makes it easy to add new VM’s, and moving servers between physical hardware nodes isn’t too difficult either. Being able to boot a virtual server from the SAN means that you can boot that server on any node that can get to the SAN. This has enormous benefits from a management perspective.
Of course, virtualization isn’t all rosy. The configuration process is much more complex, system failure is harder to detect and troubleshoot, and performance is slightly lower than it would be on actual hardware. In my mind, these are all reasonable trade-offs once you consider the vastly increased flexibility you’ll achieve with a virtualized operating environment.
With virtualization finally taking off, and the relative familiarity with it in the industry, perhaps it’s time to take another look at the world of thin clients.