Virtualization vs the Cloud

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Virtualization and cloud computing are two closely connected terms that are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Though these two technologies work together to provide a better IT experience, their difference is significant. To give you a better idea, let’s take a closer look at virtualization and the Cloud.  

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What is virtualization?  

In laymen’s terms, virtualization stands for the process of transforming hardware into a virtual machine. Whereas the Cloud is a virtualized environment that delivers resources via the Internet. To state it simply, virtualization powers Cloud computing. It changes the behavior of the physical infrastructure by allowing various operating systems and apps to work independently and simultaneously on the same machine. For instance, if you are a Mac user and need a certain application that is developed exclusively for Windows, you can create a Windows virtual machine and access this application from your Mac computer.   

Software developers benefit from virtualization when they need to test their software products or apps in different environments but on the same computer. Luckily, if the application crashes on the virtual machine it will not cause any damage to the hardware.   

Enterprise-level companies use virtualization to optimize their costs due to a number of benefits such as improved server efficiency, an ability to scale up and down according to business needs, downtime reduction, faster disaster recovery, easier data backup, and security cost reduction.  

How does cloud computing differ from virtualization?  

One of the most important things to remember is that virtualization is a key element of cloud computing. It allows a physical device, infrastructure, network, etc to operate with digitally generated versions hosted and managed by a service provider.  

However, virtualization doesn’t depend upon the Cloud computing environment.   

The TOP-3 differences between Cloud computing and Virtualization include:  

  • Cloud computing works on IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) while virtualization is based on SaaS (Software as a Service).  
  • Cloud computing is more flexible than virtual environments and provides users with useful features like pay-as-you-go, self-service, etc.  
  • Cloud networks have an unlimited capacity while Virtualization depends on a physical servers’ characteristics.  
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What’s next?  

Virtualization and Cloud services are not complex solutions. Like any other technology or service, they change all the time. Expert’s underline that though cloud computing and virtualization have their benefits they are not competing approaches. Cloud computing is often viewed as an evolution of virtualization. Clients who virtualize their servers and hardware quite often adopt Cloud technology over time to increase scalability and agility. In time, the next projected step is serverless computing.  

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