The Difference between Cloud & Virtualization

By | January 24, 2017

Cloud Computing

Virtualisation and Cloud Computing always go hand in hand. Most of the IT decision makers are confused between these two terms. The terms Virtualisation and Cloud Computing are often used interchangeably. Even though, both the technologies are similar, they cannot be interchanged, the difference is substantial enough to affect your business decisions. Let’s understand the scope of these two technologies and their benefits

How is cloud computing different from Virtualisation?

The process of creating a virtual environment is virtualization. It helps in separating physical infrastructure in order to create multiple dedicated resources. It enables a user to run several operating systems simultaneously on one computer. Virtualization is the vital technology powering cloud computing. But, virtualization is not cloud computing. Cloud Computing is the delivery of shared resources through the internet on demand, assembled on top of a virtualized infrastructure having an automated control consisting of computes, network and storage constituents.

System virtualization is creating multiple virtual systems in a single physical system. It is usually deployed with a hypervisor technology which is firmware or software components which have the ability to virtualize system resources. There are many hypervisors like VMware, Hyper-V, Xen that enable establish virtualization within a cloud.

The main difference between the two concepts is that manipulation of the hardware is done by virtualization whereas cloud computing is the service that is derived from that manipulation. Cloud computing and virtualization are used together to deliver multiple services, especially in building a private cloud infrastructure. Each technology will be deployed separately for most small enterprises in order to achieve quantifiable benefits. In multiple ways, your capital expenditure on equipment is drastically cut down and you can get the maximum benefit out of it. In other words, the cloud delivers elasticity, self-service ability, pay as you go service and scalability that is not innate in virtualization. Virtualization can exist without cloud computing, but clout cannot happen without virtualization.

Advantages of virtualization and cloud computing

With virtualization, fewer servers are bought and maintained where server’s capacity is utilized at its best compared to non-virtualised servers. Virtual machines operate their own OS and enterprise applications your business requires. Whereas, cloud computing is a technology which is accessed via the internet rather than deploying it on an organization’s network. One can choose from different cloud-based solutions and cloud providers to meet their business requirements. Enterprise-grade applications like CRM hosted voice over IP, off-site storage can be deployed with cloud computing, the cost of which will easily fit into the budgets of small businesses.

Virtualisation has enabled deploying less number of hardware to perform the same amount of work. As power usage is increased, physical infrastructure efficiency is enhanced. With the cloud, operation or storage needs can be changed enabling flexibility which suits your situation. Scalability is the part and parcel of cloud deployments. Automatically the cloud instances are deployed as and when required making business cloud hosting the perfect solution for enterprises.

Virtualization comprises the high level of data centers, so ultimately a virtualized environment will have less redundancy. With a cloud, one can have unlimited storage capacity. Now, you don’t have to deploy extra devices to increase storage space.

Downtime is minimized during maintenance periods with virtualization whereby alterations can be performed on one server without affecting others and maintenance can be performed without causing disruptions. Cloud Backup and recovery has made the process of backing up and recovery of the data much easier and simpler. Flexible recovery and backup solutions are offered by the cloud.

With Virtualisation, virtual machines provide security requirements for organizations by means of duplicating the required level of device privacy or resource that comes with hard-wired devices. Easy Deployment is facilitated by cloud computing making the entire system completely functional within a couple of minutes.

Which one is better?

After having a complete understanding of both the terms, the next step is identifying which one is better for your business needs.

If you wish to have outsourced IT, the cloud will be the best solution for you as it frees up internal IT resources for supporting higher business value enabling you to invest your IT budget towards activities that can advance your business.

If you want to reduce the number of appliances, servers and wish to have one solution for all your needs, go with a cloud. Even software perpetual licenses are eliminated when such a solution is deployed. Again, if you are looking for a flexible and scalable option, the cloud will be your best friend. IT capacity can be temporarily scaled by off-loading great demand compute necessities to a third party. And thus, you pay only for what you have consumed and that too at the time when you require the resources.


Both cloud computing and virtualization function on a one to many models. With virtualization, one computer can perform like many computers performing. Whereas, cloud computing enables many enterprises accessing one application. The difference is how your business deploys them. So, which one is best for you?

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About Niteesha Birari

Niteesha is an IT Specialist with an inclination towards cloud technology. She creates and maintains the information architecture at ESDS. She has an analytical bent of mind with experience in writing articles, user and service manuals for software products and services.