Virtualisation and Cloud Computing: Same, same but different

With technology progressing significantly the choice as to which IT service is right for the computing need is vital. Factors such as flexibility, speed and economics should always be considered. There are two known technologies that meet these factors: virtualisation and cloud computing. Most people ask if these two are the same.

On the technical point of view, they are not the same but they are closely related.

Virtualisation as the term implies use virtual machines. It allows a single system to run two or more operating systems and share or use the same hardware resources. It enables resource users to manage varied and complex configurations independently. Virtualisation leads the path toward cloud computing.

Cloud computing as defined by Alan Williamson during the Cloud Boot Camp in March 2009, “is the provisioning of services in a timely (near on instant), on-demand manner, to allow the scaling up and down of resources.” With cloud computing, data and services are stored in scalable data hubs, uses shared computing resources and can be internet accessed.

If compared to the traditional server concept, the concept of virtualisation provides several advantages. Using the traditional server concept, service will be down in case of hardware failure. This is because the server is referred to as the whole unit including all the hardware, the applications, and the operating system. And if the storage server is filled, system administrators are tasked to add additional servers, which will be an additional cost for the user. With the use of virtualisation, virtual machines capture the server software away from the hardware. Another advantage is that virtual machine can be serviced by more than one host, and a single host may house one or more than virtual machine.

Cloud computing is highly recommended for agencies and industries who use complex computing infrastructures. It is more efficient because it separates the resources, users and owners. This includes summing up of services such as hosted application structures. Cloud computing has been the mainstream practice in the IT arena today not only because it dynamically provides enormous computing resources but it is more cost-efficient as compared to other IT technologies.


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Mansoor Walli