Virtualization vs. Cloud Computing: What’s the Difference?

Although they are closely related to one another and are sometimes used interchangeably in tech discussions, virtualization and cloud computing have important distinctions. Although virtualization and cloud computing are related technologies, there are enough variations between them to have an impact on your business choices. This manual will assist in demystifying the technical aspects of the jargon and assisting companies in selecting the most appropriate technology.

What is cloud computing?

Software, hardware, and advanced network resources are all part of cloud computing, and people and businesses may access them online. A cloud computing service provider will provide a variety of services to meet the demands of a company.

For instance, a cloud service provider may supply software applications to client companies using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) paradigm. The users may use these apps on a web browser even when the programme is not installed on their computers.

Some corporate customers may want more sophisticated services that are offered through cloud computing. Databases and virtual servers could be offered as part of these platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to even higher-level cloud solutions that provide support for the hardware, storage, and networking elements that are necessary for platforms and services to operate.

What is virtualization?

Using virtualization software, you may run different operating systems and applications concurrently on the same machine by separating computer environments from physical infrastructures. In a workspace virtualization paradigm, for instance, if you use certain apps that are only available on PCs but perform the most of your work on a Mac, you may run Windows on a virtual machine to access those applications without switching machines.

According to Mike Adams, vice president of product and technical marketing at Ivanti, “virtualization software… helps firms to decrease IT expenses while boosting the efficiency, usage, and flexibility of their current computer systems.”

There are two primary uses for virtualization in everyday life.

Application testing:

Software developers may test their apps in numerous contexts using virtualization without having to set up several PCs. They may shut and restart the virtual machine to a prior state if the programme fails on the virtual machine without causing any harm to the PC.

Server consolidation:

Server consolidation is one of virtualization’s most important advantages. Server virtualization enables you to divide a single server’s resources among many uses rather of maintaining numerous servers each with a specific function. Because server resources are often underused, firms frequently spend too much on server maintenance for just little gains.

How is virtualization different from cloud computing?

The core technology that underpins cloud computing is virtualization. Cloud computing refers to a service that comes from virtualization, which is software that alters hardware. Without virtualization, cloud computing is impossible.

Virtualization, according to Adams, is a key component of cloud computing and contributes to its value. Delivering shared computer resources, software, or data as a service and on demand through the internet is known as “cloud computing.”

Because virtualization and cloud computing operate together to deliver a variety of services, much of the misunderstanding around these phrases arises from this. According to Rick Phillips, a consultant at the IT Company Weidenhammer, virtualization technologies may be included in the cloud and most often do so to supply the computer service.

Phillips claims that a genuine cloud differs from virtualization in that it offers features like self-service capability, elasticity, automated management, scalability, and pay-as-you-go service.

What are the advantages of a virtualized environment over the cloud?

Consider the distinction between a private cloud in a virtualized environment and a public cloud to better comprehend the benefits of virtualization.

A private cloud offers consumers the best of both worlds in its own virtualized environment. According to John Livesay, vice president and chief sales officer of InfraNet Technologies Group, it may provide customers with greater freedom and control over how they manage their systems while still offering cloud computing’s usage advantages.

According to Livesay, “private cloud computing” refers to a paradigm of consumption where the customer owns or rents the gear and software. You pay for resources as you use them from a [vendor] who is often sharing them with other customers in a co-tenant situation.

On the other hand, a public cloud is a setting accessible to many people that was created to meet the needs of several tenants, according to Phillips. He said, “There are certain dangers involved here, such having unpleasant neighbours and possible lag in performance.

Companies may manage and safeguard their own “castle” via virtualization, according to Phillips. This has a number of advantages.

Maximized resources:

By minimizing the amount of physical systems you need to buy, virtualization helps you make the most of your resources.

Enhanced value:

With virtualization, you may utilize various systems and applications on the same hardware to get the most out of your servers.

Integrated costs:

When you adopt virtualization, you may include into your IT budget expenses for management, administration, and all other related aspects of operating your own infrastructure.

How do you know if your business needs a virtualization solution?

A thorough investigation of the unique demands and requirements of the company is necessary to decide if virtualization is the right option for the business. Livesay advised that you also take the following into account:

  • Costs
  • The extent to which the company can and wants to manage
  • Scalability criteria
  • Needs for security
  • How many new features may be anticipated?

Audit your actual, on-site hardware if you have a smaller organization and want to save money on computer resources and maintenance. Are the resources on your server being used to their fullest capacity? Could they do the task of another server that is similarly underutilized? This may reduce energy use and maintenance expenses.

Businesses that focus more on operating expenses, have fewer IT staff members, and are less concerned about security are more cloud-oriented, according to Livesay. Businesses that need more integration and security control, or that operate more on a CAPEX (capital expenditures) basis, are more likely to choose virtualization.

How do you know if your business should use a cloud solution?

While virtualization is the greatest option for certain firms, a cloud solution has various advantages that make it a better choice for other companies. According to Phillips, companies with the following requirements benefit most from using cloud solutions.

Outsourced IT:

The daily management, maintenance, and feeding of supporting systems shifts from you to the IT managed service provider using cloud solutions. By doing this, you may be able to free up internal IT staff for higher-value business assistance and allocate IT budget funds to projects that will help your company grow.

Rapid setup with cloud solutions, getting started is really simple. Additionally, using such a service eliminates the need for servers, appliances, and perpetual software licensing.

Pay-as-you-go model:

SaaS apps enable you to outsource your fundamental IT needs to cloud service providers. What you use and need is what you pay for. Many of the items used to support the network and systems—such as antivirus software, data archiving software, encryption software, email software, and off-site storage options—don’t need ongoing investment.

Scalability:

Utilizing the cloud, you may temporarily increase your IT capacity by transferring your need for high-demand computing to a third party service. As a consequence, you only pay for what you really use and need at the time.

What should businesses look for in a virtualization provider?

Adams advises company owners who are thinking about virtualization to think about the following issues:

Is the virtualization provider offering a tried and tested solution?

Look at the vendor’s history of successful product innovation and client uptake.

Is there a vision and public road map for the virtualization solution?

You should comprehend how the issue will be resolved and how it will ultimately benefit your company.

What type of ecosystem support exists for the virtualization solution?

The vendor must collaborate with important independent software suppliers for business and industry, as well as a broad variety of resellers, service providers, and system integrators.

Does the virtualization solution support openness and choice?

You need the freedom to adapt your processes and products as your firm expands, as well as the capacity to gradually adopt new technology.

What’s next for virtualization and cloud computing?

Cloud computing and virtualization are not the only available technologies. Things may always change, just as with any other technology or service a firm uses.

While virtualization and cloud computing both have advantages, they don’t compete, according to Adams. We see virtualization as evolving towards cloud computing. Customers that virtualize their physical servers over time may do so for the additional self-service, scalability, degrees of service delivery, and agility that cloud computing offers.

Nowadays, discussions on virtualization and cloud computing often turn to “server less computing,” which promises to do away with user worries about server maintenance, limitations, and scalability. This is a fully managed service, and you are often charged for the resources you use and the time your code runs.

Although the “pay for what you use” business model may now be pricey for smaller companies, as technology advances, it becomes more accessible.

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