Businesses and organizations are moving away from on-premises environments and toward cloud-based environments. With that shift comes many benefits, including more flexibility and scalability as well as better options for remote access.
There are a lot of things businesses have to figure out before they can implement a cloud computing infrastructure, however.
One thing to understand is what’s called virtualization.
Below, we go into some of the basics of cloud computing virtualization.
The Basics of Virtualization
Virtualization and cloud computing are two terms often used interchangeably with one another. This isn’t necessarily an accurate use of the words, however. The technologies are similar but not the same. The differences are relevant enough they can play a role in your business decisions.
Virtualization is the foundational technology that powers cloud computing. Your virtualization software will separate your computing environment from your physical environment. This separation is what allows you to run different applications and operating systems at the same time on the same machine.
To give an example, if you were to work primarily on a Mac, but you had an application you needed to use that was for PCs, you can run Windows on a virtual machine, giving access to the application without the need to change computers.
With virtualization software, you can reduce your IT costs while improving efficiency and flexibility of your current hardware.
Key terms include hypervisor, which is talked about more below. A hypervisor is an operating system. A virtual machine is a virtual computer, and a container is a lightweight virtual machine. A virtual network is a term reference a separated network across servers. Virtualization software is an operating system or piece of software that helps deploy virtualization on any device.
How Does Virtualization Differ From Cloud Computing?
Virtualization is the software that will manipulate your hardware. Cloud computing, by contrast, is terminology referring to the service that comes from the manipulation. There is no cloud computing without virtualization.
Virtualization is what helps deliver the benefits of cloud computing a business enjoys.
Virtualization and cloud computing do work together.
How Does Virtualization Work?
The process of virtualization is one where there’s a virtual device created, like a virtual server.
Virtualization is typically done through virtualization software.
A hypervisor is one example of a virtualization program. Hypervisors can create virtual storage, network components, applications and desktops. You can install hypervisors on hardware directly, or it can be a layer that’s installed on an operating system between hardware and a virtual machine.
Types of Virtualization
Cloud virtualization is only one type, and there are several others.
Again, we want to emphasize, cloud computing isn’t different from virtualization. Instead, it uses virtualization to operate.
Other types of virtualization include:
- Desktop: Desktop virtualization is often used with hypervisors.
- Data: Data virtualization refers to a scenario where a user accesses data without knowing where it’s stored exactly. Data is aggregated for fast access, but the original isn’t moved or changed.
- Network: With network virtualization, physical networks are integrated into a virtual network using software rather than hardware. The physical network components like routers and switches are pooled. Then, they are allocated as needed to users or devices on the network through a central virtual network management system. A VLAN is a type of virtual network that’s common. VLAN stands for virtual local area network.
- Storage: Using storage virtualization lets an organization combine a group of physical storage devices into a unified group. Applications and servers can access information from systems without knowing which virtual or physical device data is stored on. Data can be accessed more easily and also backed up.
- Server: The technique of server virtualization masks server resources. There’s a simulation of physical services by changing identity and processors, operating systems, and numbers. Then, the user doesn’t have to manage complex resources.
- Application: Software virtualization can be used in cloud computing to abstract application layers to separate them from the operating system. Then, as a result, the application runs without dependence on the underlying operating system. Also, as mentioned above, in this scenario, along with isolation, an application can run on any operating system other than what it was created for.
Overall, in our modern environment, virtualization is important to have at least a general understanding of because it helps users run multiple operating systems on one machine simultaneously. It also allows for the segmentation of different virtual elements. Virtualization is an integral part of IT architecture, driving cloud computing.
With virtualization, users can access cloud providers with existing hardware.