Virtualization vs Cloud Computing: What’s the Difference?

Many of us tend to get confused between the terms ‘virtualization’ and ‘cloud computing’. Although the two terms are inextricably linked and similar in several respects, they are not one and the same and the difference is sufficient to affect your business. In this blog, we will try to explain the difference between the two, so, let’s begin.

Let’s start by understanding what virtualization is.

Simply put, virtualization is the creation of a resource in virtual form rather than in physical form. This resource can be a server, operating system, storage or network. Virtualization is done to simplify workloads in a manner that makes computing scalable.

Let us elaborate this by taking the example of server virtualization. In this case, a physical server gets partitioned into several virtual servers by using a software called hypervisor. Each virtual server thus created operates in an isolated environment and does not share resources with other servers. Each of these servers is referred to as a virtual machine or virtual private server and hosts a separate account. This hosting model is called virtual machine hosting or virtual private server hosting.

Now that we have a fair idea of what virtualization is, let us delve deep and understand what cloud computing is.

Compared to virtualization that’s just a technology, cloud computing is a solution that helps in delivering computing services. Services such as servers, software, networking, database and storage can be availed through cloud computing over the internet. Cloud computing is a product of virtualization, so virtualization can survive without the cloud but cloud computing cannot survive without virtualization. The market is full of cloud service providers that deliver cloud computing services through three different models: public, private and hybrid.

In a public cloud model, the server is shared among multiple users and managed by a third-party cloud service provider. On the other hand, in a private cloud model, the entire cloud server is dedicated to a single organization. The third model is a hybrid model that combines both the public and private models.

These models deliver three different kinds of services over the cloud: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): These are cloud services wherein you can avail services such as storage, networking and virtualization.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): Here, hardware and software tools are made available over the internet.

Software as a Service (SaaS): In this model, a software is availed through a third-party over the internet.

These services are built on the top of each other and help you attain different business goals. You can choose any of these depending on what your business demands.

Virtualization vs Cloud Computing

Now that we have discussed the fundamental difference between the two, let us see which of these is more beneficial for you. While virtualization has more advantages over cloud computing, things depend on the specific requirements of your business.

Let us elaborate this by using a simple example. In a public cloud, the computing resources are shared among all the users involved. So, if one user is consuming more resources, others may have to compromise. This can impact their website loading time and speed. With a private cloud, all these problems are resolved as the server leverages the benefit of virtualization and offers buyers more flexibility in managing their resources.

On the contrary, in virtualization, users share space with other users but do not use the same resources. As a result, you can install multiple applications on the same physical hardware. So, in short, virtualization is more budget-friendly when compared to cloud computing.

This does not mean that every business should choose virtualization over cloud computing. It depends on the type of business you have and its requirements.

If you are looking for a highly customizable server environment, virtualization is the solution for you. If we talk specifically about servers, if you want to have complete access to server resources, virtual machine hosting or VPS hosting is the right solution for your business.

On the other hand, if you are a growing business and seek scalable IT resources, cloud computing is the thing you should go for. If we talk specifically about hosting, then if you are looking for a scalable solution for your website, cloud server hosting can be an effective option.

So, all in all, cloud computing and virtualization may be similar in their working but they are not the same technology. And they are definitely not competing approaches. Businesses can use the cloud in conjunction with virtualization for improved agility, scalability and flexibility. Need virtual machine hosting or cloud server hosting for your business? If yes, get in touch with our technical experts to understand which of our hosting solutions best suits your business requirements. Thanks for reading.

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