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Virtualization and Cloud Computing


Virtualization and Cloud Computing




As an avid reader of technology blogs, after all one must stay updated somehow, I realised that there is quite a lot of general confusion about virtualization and cloud computing. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself an expert, I do think that I can really help lost souls understand what the two convoluted terms actually mean. After some brainstorming I realised that I need to break down the two terms entirely to explain their differences.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the process of creating numerous virtual environments on a single server. This is done by using a software called a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM). The VMM separates computer environments from physical hardware and allows several operating systems to run on a single computer at the same time. So essentially, this means that you get multiple virtual servers for a single physical server. This allows businesses to reduce technology costs while optimizing for efficiency, utilization and flexibility of existing resources.

The advantages of virtualization are:

  • Improves Power Usage
    Without virtualization, hardware requirements are much higher. Due to this, power usage is a lot more which often leads to the inefficiency of physical infrastructure.
  • Reduced Redundancy
    Due to a large number of data centers, there will be a much higher fault tolerance in virtualization.
  • Almost 24x7 Availability
    Virtualization decreases shutdown time during maintenance which means changes in one server can be made without messing with the performance of others. Thus, the business will face no disruptions.


What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is defined as a pool of computing resources that can be provisioned for multiple consumers at the same time. This pooling of resources, both virtual and physical, are dynamically assigned according to the demand of consumers.

The advantages of cloud computing are:

  • Cost Efficiency
    Cloud services can lower your cost of technology. You can save on various types of licensing fees and completely eliminate costs like storage, software, etc.
  • Scalability
    Scalability is built into cloud services and there is a lot of latitude to change operations or storage requirements.
  • Quick Backup Recovery
    Backing up and recovering data is very simple on a physical device.
  • Unlimited Storage
    Cloud storage provides a company unlimited capacity and thus, there are no worries about current storage capacity.
  • Quick Deployment
    Cloud computing allows a firm to deploy very quickly which is a very important advantage. The entire system is up and running in just a few short minutes.


How Is Cloud Computing Different From Virtualization?

Virtualization differs from cloud computing because it is a software to manipulate hardware, while cloud computing is a service that is a result of this manipulation. So essentially, virtualization is a super-set of cloud computing.

Cloud computing requires a level of virtualization but virtualization can exist independently.

Virtualization can simplify the process of sharing resources and cloud computing needs to share resources to improve efficiency and bring down costs. Thus, these resources are a match made in heaven! Virtualization increases the efficiency of the hardware and the cloud adds a modicum of administration so that VMs can be scaled properly.  

In the simplest terms (we can possibly use) cloud computing can be described as a service where visualization is a part of the the physical infrastructure. All the concepts applicable on a single physical machine can work on all the virtual machines deployed on the cloud. All the resources are dynamic- use and throw, where self service is very important to ensure 24x7 deliverability.

While these two concepts are rather hard to grasp while sifting through volumes of data on the interweb, they are creating a new era for companies to run complex applications without unnecessary hassles of maintenance. Since virtualization allows users to create virtual machines that can be scaled upwards or downwards without service disruption, cloud computing can use this to a great advantage.

So does your organization only use virtualization or do they use it in tandem with cloud computing?

Sound off in the comments below and let’s discuss how these nebulous concepts can be put to good use for a business!

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Aditya Jayaram

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