Virtualization and cloud computing are often used interchangeably. However, the two are entirely different technologies. Here’s a breakdown on virtualization vs. cloud computing to help you understand how the technologies differ:
What is virtualization?
Virtualization is software that separates physical infrastructure (servers, workstations, storage, etc.) from computing environments to create virtual IT assets. Virtualization enables multiple virtual machines (VMs) to run on a single piece of hardware by making computing environments independent of physical infrastructure.
“Virtualization software makes it possible to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications on the same server at the same time,” says Karim Hatata, Senior Solutions Professional, SysGen Solutions Group. “It enables businesses to reduce IT costs while increasing the efficiency, utilization and flexibility of their existing computer hardware.”
What is cloud computing?
The cloud is a metaphor for the internet. Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of through a local network, or what is called on-premise today.
“Storing and accessing data and programs over the internet means companies no longer have to build costly onsite hardware to access information,” says Ryan Glasrud, Senior Solutions Professional, SysGen Solutions Group. “Cloud computing also reduces costs associated with hardware maintenance, and minimize financial risk by storing data offsite in the cloud.”
Virtualization is not cloud computing.
Virtualization and cloud computing are completely unique technologies. Virtualization creates virtual IT assets by separating physical infrastructure from operating systems and applications while cloud computing is the delivery of shared data and software.
Virtualization differs from cloud computing because virtualization is software that manipulates hardware, while cloud computing refers to a service that results from that manipulation. An easy way to separate the two is to think of virtualization as a technology and cloud as a service.
Confusion between the two technologies occurs because cloud computing and virtualization often work together to provide services. For example, in an IT environment, virtualization is used to create virtual versions of hardware while cloud computing is used to store and access data and programs over the Internet by using these virtual machines.