Cloud Computing & Virtualization: Different, but Used in Conjunction with Each Other

Ravi Kolhe | 10/07/2013 | |
Computers and the networks that connect them to each other and the internet are a must-have for businesses and even the majority of households. But there's still a lot about how computers communicate with each other that isn't fully understood. And when it comes to on-demand applications, data, and the synchronization of that data, cloud computer and virtualization are two terms that are often misunderstood, or in some cases not even understood at all.

Cloud computer and virtualization are two important components when it comes to computers, servers, and networking, but while these two services are often used in conjunction with one another, and in many instances rely on the other to deliver an accurate and complete experience to the end-user, there are differences between the two.

First, let's talk about cloud computing by identifying it for what it is: a service. Cloud computing is a service that offers centralized storage of data that can be accessed on demand by one or more end users, and cloud computing enables the fast delivery of those services, and assists in keeping any updates or additions to data in synchronization.

Virtualization, on the other hand, is a process that enables computers and servers to use one centralized piece of hardware - typically another computer or server - without requiring them to have specific hardware or software. In more simple terms, think of virtualization as a process that sets up a temporary version of itself on your computer, so that even if you're not using the same hardware or software that the applications and data located on another computer are using, you won't have any issues running those applications and viewing and editing that data.

A great example of virtualization is your own computer. Chances are you only have one hard drive, but chances are your operating system created partitions on it - one small partition for core components required by the operating system, and a second, larger one, for your operating system's installation and any other programs and data you've added to it. These partitions are virtual, but thanks to virtualization, while you only have one physical hard drive, your computer is "tricked" into thinking that there are two.

Now that cloud computing and virtualization have been explained, it should be easy to see why the two often work hand in hand to store, sync, and deliver applications and data to you. Cloud computing provides the storage and the streaming of the data, while the virtualization handles the configuration end of things, by ensuring that your computer will be able to view and work with any of the files that are delivered to you via the cloud.

There's one last essential component for many cloud and virtualization utilizing services, and that's a dedicated host server. A dedicated server is a fully-loaded, high-performance server that is used exclusively for intensive processes, including cloud computing and virtualization. By choosing a host server rather than managing your own, you'll be able to leave the technical and maintenance aspects of the dedicated server in the hands of the hosting company that owns it, so all you'll have to concern yourself with is setting up and making use of cloud computing. While a dedicated host server can be a little pricey, remember that you get what you pay for, and if you're going to incorporate the use of cloud services and virtualization processes in your corporate environment, then you're going to want hardware that's up to the task for it.

About the Author:
Brenda Panin writes about virtualization and cloud computing. Recently she spent time researching Brenda is also a regular contributor to several tech blogs.

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