Q: What are the advantages of virtualising servers that behave in a client-server model?
A: Well isn't this one of the most talked about movements in the networking industry? What's interesting about this question it that the evolution of information technology continues to blur the lines of demarcation between server, application, and network. With Cisco's recent Nexus 1000V announcements, the lines continue to blur until information technology starts to look like an impressionistic work of art. Who knew VMware was a fan of Monet?
There is a vast array of tangible benefits in migrating to a virtual environment. One of the key server benefits is allowing the infrastructure team to host the same application services with a smaller physical server footprint. But a word to the wise here, be wise about the application services you host on the same virtual server. There are some great best practices around virtual servers that will help you optimize your infrastructure footprint without inhibiting performance to the end-user. (i.e. don't put all of your database and heavy I/O servers on a single virtual server). And enjoy!
Aside from the reduction in server hardware to host the same applications, the virtualised world allows network engineers to dramatically change the way applications are architected. While some application services are delivered great from a centralized datacenter, there is some network application services like Active Directory, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), and file sharing that would benefit from a localized slave domain controller deployed on the edge. Couple this technology with WAN optimisation and those applications will be blazing like white lightning.