Cloud Insight

Cloud Computing & Virtualization – Are They and the Same?

20 Aug

It is commonly thought that cloud computing and virtualization are crutches of one another, or in other words, one is needed for the other to work. Is this an actual fact? What are the differences between the two and what makes each effective? We’ll explore the worlds of virtualization and discuss the benefits and effectiveness of these methods.

What is virtualization? Virtualization refers to creating a “virtual” version of something. This may refer to hardware or software. For example, one may create a virtual machine that acts as a real life computer. In this case you could take a computer running Windows as an operating system, create a virtual machine on that computer, and run another operating system on the virtual machine such as Linux. This could also be done on a computer running OSX in which you need to run Windows programs. Other methods include server virtualization, in which you run multiple virtual machines for different software in order to better streamline your data center and server processing power.

As for cloud computing, at this point we should be familiar, especially if you’ve been following the Neovera blog! In case you missed a few posts, cloud computing refers to providing computing power as a service; oftentimes clients share server space and provision computing power on an as needed basis rather than having dedicated servers on-site.

Of course, there are similarities between the two, and if you’re not careful it is easy to confuse them. While they are not exactly the same, they both have great benefits and often work together to form a dynamic tandem. One, however, is not exactly a necessity for the other.

What happens when you virtualize without cloud computing? A majority of organizations today use some form of virtualization often combining with Software Defined Networking (SDN). This helps automate several virtual and physical network components. It also can be taken a step further by adding Software Defined Storage (SDS), and when combining all of them together one has a fully functioning Software Defined Data Center. Ok, that’s a lot of jargon to throw out there. Basically these systems allow companies to take full advantage of virtualization and get the most out of the resources they posses while automating several computing, storage, and security processes. Most organization get to this point and go no further.

Cloud computing can create a ton of additional potential to this type of environment by cutting down on the time it takes to provision computing power as needed. For instance, many organizations have several measures or steps to take before they’re able to create a new VM and make it available to users. Cloud computing providers make this available almost in real time.

Turning the table a bit, how does cloud computing work without virtualization? It works pretty well, but may not be as scalable. Cloud providers are limited by the number of physical servers they have, and customers would need to fit their workloads into what the provider offers. It also takes more time to provision physical storage than a virtual machine.

When both work in tandem with one another, a computing power beast is created, and providers and organizations can work together to get the best out of one another. Providers can offer more while customers get more, and get it much quicker. As we’ve talked about before organizations need the ability to provision computing power as needed, and to do it quickly in a fast moving business world. Cloud computing and virtualization are part of what makes this boundless technology possible.