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Cloud Computing and Virtualization
There has been a considerable discussion about cloud computing and virtualization lately. These discussions can often cause a certain amount of confusion among less technical people over the differentiation between the two concepts. To the uninitiated, they appear to be one and the same. However, that is not the case.
Cloud computing, the delivery of hosted services online, can take place with the right combination of hardware, applications, and operating system – even without virtualization. However, in many cases this can be quite expensive and complicated as it requires many hours of work and delivers a limited number of features.
This is where virtualization comes in. Virtualization can be viewed as an important enabler of cloud computing.
If we recall, prior to cloud computing many people where having issues with the limitations of the old model – the services hosting setup. There were those who were uncomfortable placing their data in the hands of a third party (usually ASPs, ISPs and MSPs) – which meant they did not have control. They were also not comfortable with being locked into a contract with these providers.
When cloud computing came along it promised many features that the services hosting setup could not provide. Among those promises was a greater control over data and no vendor lock-in. For the cloud to deliver these and all its other potentials, a number of technologies have to be considered when building a cloud computing system.
Virtualization is one of those technologies. With virtualization, benefits of the cloud related to support without being locked into a contract, wider choice of locations and innovation are realized.
One of virtualization’s virtues is that it allows multiple apps to run on each server in a cloud setup. This means utilization is optimized. The consolidation of servers via virtualization means capital as well as operational costs are brought down. This addresses one of the hurdles of adopting cloud computing – the concern over costs.
Indeed, virtualization is critical in harnessing the promise of cloud computing.