So which is right for your business: virtualization or cloud computing? Do you know the difference? No? That’s okay; a lot of people who don’t work in IT don’t know the difference either. The word “cloud” is thrown around so often that sometimes people aren’t sure how “virtualization” fits in, and the two get confused pretty fast. After all, if your information is in the cloud, it’s “virtualized,” right?
While the two technologies definitely have some things in common, they aren’t identical, and it’s important to know the difference so that you know which one works best for your business.
Virtualization is one of the technologies that makes cloud computing possible. It separates physical infrastructures and makes it possible to run multiple operating systems and applications on one server. This reduces costs, increases efficiency and gives some amount of flexibility to the computer hardware that an SMB has. A virtual manager separates environments from the physical infrastructure, creating a “cloud-like” environment. This means that any server, workstation or storage unit is independent of the hardware layer.
While virtualization works with hardware and software, cloud computing services are referring to the results from those actions. The delivery of these shared computing resources that are no longer tethered to hardware are what “cloud services” are.
This is where much of the confusion comes from, because virtualization and cloud computing work together to provide different types of security and services, like private clouds that can only be shared through a link. The cloud can and will include virtualization “products,” but the cloud is scalable, self-service, flexible and very affordable. That’s what cloud services are known for and where virtualization doesn’t really hold a market.
Which Do You Need?
When it comes to virtualization, you really need a very in-depth report of what you need exactly as a business. Since virtualization is very niche and specific, it’s important to know the answer to a lot of questions before you truly know if virtualization is for you. For example, a company may need to know who’s going to be taking care of the system and providing support, and what systems you have so the company knows how difficult it may be to integrate virtualization with them. It also depends a little on your business model and how secure you need a network to be. While cloud services are not intrinsically insecure, if you’re doing top-secret work that requires very specific clearance and eyes, sometimes virtualization – since it’s so contained – is a better choice.
However, in most cases, cloud services are going to work just fine for you and your business, and they’re much more available and affordable. If you need quick setup, scalability and a variety of price ranges depending on how big your company is, then cloud computing will very much be for you and your company.
Whether you choose cloud services or virtualization is completely up to you, but knowing the difference is the first step in choosing which is right for your needs.