Are Server Side Includes Still a Relevant Technique for Managing Large Web Sites?

Most of the sites I’ve managed have used content management systems that spit out static pages.

As such, I’m become a proponent of using server side includes (SSI) as a way to manage global site components, due to their simplicity and ease-of-use.

Nothing frustrates me more than when I’m told that a simple, global change to a static web site — such as changing the copyright year — is a major update because of all the pages that will need to be touched.

“Why don’t you have these types of global elements, such as footers, set up as includes?” I often wonder to myself.

More recently however, I’ve been told that they are not an appropriate technique for managing high-traffic static sites due to the additional load they place on the server.

I’ve also been told that they are simply a little out-of-date and that web teams have moved on to other methods for managing the types of issues that arise with the use of static web pages (for example, client-side JavaScript).

I’m not an overly technical person and so if a developer tells me that SSI are not the right way to go, I don’t have a lot of ammunition with which to say otherwise.

So, my question is: are SSI an appropriate way to manage global parts of highly-trafficked static pages or have they gone the way of the splash page? Thanks for any wisdom anyone can impart.