Is Virtualization the Same as Cloud?

It is very common to confuse cloud computing with virtualization. Since they are both relatively new and since organizations are calling it the saving face of new age technology, I assumed we might want to look into what exactly the two technologies are and how diverse they are from each other.

Cloud is essentially a highly scalable platform where you can store data, build and run applications that can be accessed through the internet only. Cloud is a mode to mobilize all applications so that you can remotely access your organization data through any device that has access to internet. Data center hosts or collocation hosts who are interested in cloud technology provide software as a service packages to their clients. Cloud makes it possible to have your servers in a secure environment in any part of the world and your clients still can access and modify the data if they have required security clearance. Cloud makes use of virtualized resources in order to fulfill its requirements. A cloud host provides hardware and hosting facilities depending on the usage requested by the client.

Virtualization, on the other hand, is a technique of creating a virtual pool of servers, operating systems, storage devices and network resources. It enables a single user to access multiple physical devices at the same time. With this, one operating system can control the operation of multiple computers or vice versa.

Building your own data center takes a lot of capital investment; and maintaining it is a nightmare you do not want to go through if your main aim is to focus on your business. Hiring a service is a better option. Unlike the cloud, in a data center, you have to note that you will merely be storing your servers on someone else’s property. So you are responsible for upgrading your servers as and when technology takes a giant leap. The drawback with data centers is the challenge you will face while scaling up as and when the need arises. Your data center host must have rack space to accommodate an extra server or two and also must be equipped to handle an increase in cooling and power needs. Of course, there is a problem of your resources going on standby mode when not in use, too. Cloud may be an ideal solution from an economic point of view. Like we have mentioned before, you only pay for the services you are using; not for idle or standby services.

Virtualization is all about the control. Pure, unparalleled control over multiple devices using a single point of operation. With virtualization, for instance, you can run a very large application even though your system individually cannot support it. In other words, your system interacts with the other systems connected to the virtualization network, notes which system is available and uses part of the available system’s resources in addition to your own to run your application. It’s like your system has temporarily expanded its capacity to run your application successfully.

Through virtualization, you can install a software only once and be rest assured that everyone will have access to it. You don’t need multiple licences to make the software available to all your employees. Since you are technically installing it only on one system, you are not violating any laws either. Same is true with storage. This technique avoids the need for data replication, thus saving storage space.

So you see, one technology has nothing to do with the other; and they, most certainly, are not the same thing. Virtualization, to an extent, makes the cloud operable.

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