Virtualization vs. Cloud Computing – What’s the Difference?

Unsure exactly what the difference between cloud computing and virtualization is? You’re definitely not alone. According to Forrester Research, up to 70 percent of IT professionals aren’t totally clear on the differences and, as a result, the virtualization vs. cloud computing debate continues to be a hot topic.

The reality is that virtualization and cloud computing are related, but not the same. The best way to explain the overarching difference between virtualization and cloud computing is that the former is a technology – specifically a software that separates physical infrastructures to create various dedicated resources – whereas the latter is a service that is built upon virtualization technology.  In other words, virtualization can and does exist without cloud computing, but the backbone for cloud computing relies on virtualization technology.

In the abstract, understanding the nuanced differences isn’t that important, but if you’re trying to make network infrastructure decisions for your business, you want to be sure you’re investing in the right technology for your specific needs. To that end, it’s probably important to dig a little deeper into the functionalities of each.

  • VIRTUALIZATION
    Virtualization allows for the simulation of devices or resources. Most frequently, virtualization is accomplished by dividing a single piece of hardware into two or more independently operating segments. For example, server virtualization subdivides a single server into a predetermined number of smaller servers. Storage virtualization, on the other hand, combines a number of unique storage devices into a single, cohesive storage unit. In both cases, virtualization serves to make computing environments independent of hardware or physical infrastructure.
  • CLOUD COMPUTING
    The term cloud computing refers to the sharing of computing resources, software or data that are delivered as an on-demand service via the internet. The most notable benefits associated with cloud computing include: scalability, pay-as-you-go pricing and quick setup. But in a shared environment, cloud computing offers less control than virtualization.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to virtualization vs. cloud computing. Before you make an investment in virtualization or cloud computing technology, let the team at ATB help you review your business needs and provide you with an expert assessment of which technology will work best for you. Our initial consultation is always free, contact us to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our wide variety of technology services.

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