Cloud Computing vs Virtualization

Users often get confused between virtualization and cloud computing. While virtualization and cloud computing both create useful environments, there are key differences between the two technologies.

What is it? - Cloud Computing

Clouds are complete IT environments that abstract, combine, and share resources across a network. Cloud computing involves running workloads within clouds. While cloud computing is an action, clouds are the environments where applications run.

Cloud infrastructure is physically off-premises and may include virtualization, or container software you can use to pool and share resources. Other common forms of cloud computing are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Desktop as a Service (DaaS). Usually, there is an OS at the base of cloud computing.

What is it? - Virtualization

Virtualization enables you to create many simulated environments on a single physical hardware system. Server virtualization is one of the most common forms of virtualization and consists of running multiple virtual server instances on one physical server. However, this technology is also used to virtualize other resources, like applications and desktops.

In virtualization, hypervisor software sits on top of the physical hardware, abstracting and delivering the machine resources to virtual machines. For example, when you virtualize a Windows application, the app is wrapped in a virtual structure that sits in the end-user device, keeping the application separate from the operating system.

Cloud Computing


  • Back-up and restore data

Once the data is stored in the cloud, it is easier to get back-up and restore that data using the cloud.

  • Improved collaboration

Cloud applications improve collaboration by allowing groups of people to quickly and easily share information in the cloud via shared storage.

  • Excellent accessibility

Cloud allows us to quickly and easily access store information anywhere, anytime in the whole world, using an internet connection. An internet cloud infrastructure increases organization productivity and efficiency by ensuring that our data is always accessible.

  • Low maintenance cost

Cloud computing reduces both hardware and software maintenance costs for organizations.

  • Mobility

Cloud computing allows us to easily access all cloud data via mobile.

  • IServices in the pay-per-use model

Cloud computing offers Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to the users for access services on the cloud and pays the charges as per the usage of service.

  • Unlimited storage capacity

Cloud offers us a huge amount of storing capacity for storing our important data such as documents, images, audio, video, etc. in one place.

  • Data security

Data security is one of the biggest advantages of cloud computing. Cloud offers many advanced features related to security and ensures that data is securely stored and handled.


  • Internet Connectivity

As you know, in cloud computing, every data (image, audio, video, etc.) is stored on the cloud, and we access these data through the cloud by using the internet connection. If you do not have good internet connectivity, you cannot access these data. However, we have no any other way to access data from the cloud.

  • Vendor lock-in

Vendor lock-in is the biggest disadvantage of cloud computing. Organizations may face problems when transferring their services from one vendor to another. As different vendors provide different platforms, that can cause difficulty moving from one cloud to another.

  • Limited Control

As we know, cloud infrastructure is completely owned, managed, and monitored by the service provider, so the cloud users have less control over the function and execution of services within a cloud infrastructure.

  • Security

Although cloud service providers implement the best security standards to store important information. But, before adopting cloud technology, you should be aware that you will be sending all your organization’s sensitive information to a third party, i.e., a cloud computing service provider. While sending the data on the cloud, there may be a chance that your organization’s information is hacked by Hackers.



  • Uses Hardware Efficiently

Most businesses spend a lot of capital setting up their systems and servers but eventually use only a fraction of it effectively. Instead, if they opt for virtualization, they can create multiple instances on the same hardware and extract the maximum value out of it. This way, they can save hardware costs and attain a high-efficiency level.

  • Available at all Times

One significant advantage of virtualization is the advanced features that it provides; allowing virtual instances to be available at all times. The biggest advantage here is the capability to move the virtual instance from one server location to another. It can be done without having to close and restart the processes that are already running. It also ensures your data is not lost during the migration process. Hence, it won’t matter if there are unplanned outages, your instance will always be up and running at all times.

  • Recovery is Easy

With virtual instances on remote servers, duplication, backup, and recovery are also easier. With new tools available that provide near real-time data backup and mirroring, one can be sure of zero data loss at any point in time. In case of downtime or a crash, they can simply pick up from the last saved position mirrored on another virtual instance and run with it. This ensures business continuity at all times. Organizations can attain the highest efficiency with this.

  • Quick and Easy Setup

Setting up physical systems and servers is a time-consuming affair. You need to raise a purchase order and wait for it to be processed. Once done, then await the products to be shipped and set up, which can take hours. After getting all the connections right, you still have to install the required OS and software which consumes more hours. Overall, it is a long wait worth days or even weeks for the entire setting-up process. On the flipside, with virtualization, you can simply get started within minutes have a productive setup.

  • Cloud Migration is Easier

Many organizations are using old school methodologies even today. They have been doing so because they had made a substantial investment back in the day to ensure their IT systems were always up and running. With the current digital transformation wave, organizations are looking to move to the cloud for various advantages. The challenge here is the migration of such a large amount of data available on-premise. Virtualization would have made the task much easier because most of the data would already be available on a server. Hence, migrating all of it to the cloud would be easier.


  • High Initial Investment

As helpful virtualization is, it does have some flaws, and the high initial investment is one of the major one. Virtualization indeed helps the business reduce operational costs. But the initial setup cost of servers and storage is higher than a regular setup. Hence, companies need years before they break even and then realize savings and higher profitability with virtualization. It is a bad bet for companies opting for a large set up at the beginning.
They could instead opt for a regular desktop setup and then gradually make a move to desktop virtualization.

  • Data Can be at Risk

Working on virtual instances on shared hardware resources entails your data is hosted on a third-party resource. It can leave your data vulnerable to attacks or unauthorized access. This is a challenge if your service provider does not have proper security solutions to safeguard your virtual instance and data. It is true, specifically in the case of storage virtualization.

  • Quick Scalability is a Challenge

Scaling on virtualization is a breeze, but not so much if it has to be done in a short period of time. In case of physical setup, one can quickly set up new hardware and scale, even if it entails some initial setting up complications. With virtualization, having to ensure all the requisite software, security, enough storage, and resource availability can be a tedious task. It consumes more time than one might expect since a third-party provider is involved. Moreover, the additional cost involved in increased resource use is another challenge to manage.

  • Performance Witnesses a Dip

It is true that virtualization allows the optimum use of all resources. However, it is also a challenge when you need that additional boost sometimes, but it is not available. Resources in virtualization are shared. The same resources that a single user might have consumed are now shared among three or four users. The overall available resources might not be shared equally or may be shared in some ratio depending upon the tasks being run. As the complexity of tasks increases, so does the need for performance from the system. It results in a substantially higher time required to complete the task.

  • Unintended Server Sprawl

Unintended server sprawl is a major cause of concern for many server admins and users alike. Many issues that service desk persons raise are of server sprawls. Setting up a physical server consumes time and resources, whereas a virtual server can be created in a matter of minutes. Every time, instead of reusing the same virtual server, users tend to create new servers since it allows them the chance to make a fresh start. The server administrator who should be handling five or six servers has to handle over 20 virtual servers. This can cause a major complication in the smooth operations, and forced termination of certain servers can also cause loss of data.

Cloud Computing vs. Virtualization

Deciding which to implement for your business depends on the type of business and the requirements you have.

For smaller companies, cloud computing is easier and more cost-effective to implement. Resources are accessed via the Internet rather than added to the network.

Many small businesses are turning to the cloud for applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), hosted voice over IP (VoIP) or off-site storage. The cost of using the cloud is much lower than implementing virtualization. Cloud computing also offers easier installation of applications and hardware, access to software they couldn’t otherwise afford, and the ability to try software before they buy it. It requires a small investment to implement a cloud-based application.

For some businesses, virtualization is the smarter choice and can save money in several different ways:

  • Adding many guests to one house maximizes resources, which means the business needs fewer servers. This cuts down on operational costs.
  • Fewer servers mean fewer people to look after and manage servers. This helps to consolidate management, thereby reducing costs.
  • Virtualization also adds another layer of protection for business continuity, since virtual machines will limit the damage to itself.

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