Virtualization Vs. Cloud Computing: Are They Different?

The cloud has the same limit as the sky, and virtualization has the same limit as birds. 

As businesses are moving towards the latest technologies to gain a competitive edge in any situation, they often face challenges when analyzing virtualization and cloud computing for their firm. 

Virtualization and cloud computing are abstract infrastructure solutions in today’s world. While virtualization is the technology that enables you to create virtual machines on your hardware setup, the cloud delivers those virtual resources to provide you with resources over the network. 

So, let’s take a deep dive to know about both infrastructures. 

Are Cloud Computing And Virtualization The Same? 

Virtualization is a technology by which you can create virtual machines (VMs) comprising different hardware-software-based resources like operating systems, applications, storage, server, and applications with the help of a hypervisor. A system admin interacts with the hypervisor, manages these resources, and allocates the actual physical hardware to set up virtual environments in which these VMs work like their physical counterparts. Simply put, it delivers access to multiple devices’ business resources anywhere, anytime. 

Cloud computing is a methodology dealing with principles and approaches that enable the delivery of computational resources, like operating systems, applications, and storage, over a server. In simple terms, the cloud provides an environment in which resources are virtually pooled together and accessed using the Internet. Unlike virtualization, where an admin is responsible for managing the hypervisor, the cloud setup involves using an Application Programmable Interface (API) for fulfilling user demands. 

Virtualization is a fundamental element that powers the cloud by isolating hardware utilization for the user. In contrast, cloud computing refers to an environment created as a result of that isolation. You can’t leverage the benefits of cloud computing without virtualization. They go hand in hand, just like peanut butter and jam complementing each other.   

Virtualization is a foundation of cloud computing that makes cloud delivery possible, while cloud computing is delivered as a service through the servers to users. Cloud computing delivers self-service capacity, elasticity, scalability, and pay-as-you-go service, which are not intrinsic in virtualization. 

The main reason that the business world uses these terms interchangeably is that both create an environment from abstract resources. However, they have different characteristics by which they serve every business. 

Let’s take a deeper look at these approaches and explore how they are beneficial for firms.  

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Virtualization Vs. Cloud Computing: Key Differences 

virtualization-vs-cloud-computing-are-they-different1. Resource Allocation 

Virtualization empowers you to have better control over your computational resources. You can create multiple end-user instances using the host machine and efficiently allocate the resources between them. Virtual desktops generally, work on the concept of “service provider,” which means you can benefit from the infrastructure while third-party providers are hosting and managing the infrastructure. 

Similar to virtualization, resources in a cloud environment are pooled together. So, every time a user logs in, the cloud automatically creates a virtual instance of the resources and allows the user to use them. 

2. Isolated Environment 

By virtualization, you not only create distinct VMs that work independently, but it even provides an isolated environment for guest users. This way, you can safeguard your sensitive information and still allow your guests to stay connected. 

The cloud has tremendous security potential and can easily incorporate the latest measures for safeguarding your resources. You can also control who has access to which data (role-based access). Furthermore, every login in a cloud leaves a user footprint, which is recorded and can be traced back if necessary.  


4. Unification 

While virtualization allows you to disaggregate your resources for setting up separate virtual instances, you can even combine resources from several devices using cluster management software and create a unified host machine. 

Since the cloud is a pool of shared resources, it can accommodate resources from multiple sources, irrespective of their geographical locations. This way, you can copy your data into different resource centers, which can be easily retrieved if any center is damaged or destroyed. 

5. Hardware Optimization 

Using a hypervisor, you can preferentially allocate your hardware resources. This way, instead of purchasing hardware for different end-point devices (which often end up partially unused), you can optimize your hardware usage and maximize them to power various VMs. 

Cloud computing helps you lower your energy consumption and leave fewer carbon footprints. Since all the resources are hosted on the cloud, the need to set up an in-house server is eliminated, and it works with fewer energy requirements. Also, you can allow your workforce to work remotely, further reducing your energy consumption. 

6. Disaster Recovery 

Virtualization allows you to access virtual copies of the physical hardware; the resources in a cloud setup can be housed at different geographical locations. This gave them better anti-disaster protection with comprehensive recovery options.  

Cloud platforms sync and back up data at regular intervals to ensure that it can be recovered in the event of a disaster without any loss. However, virtualization creates multiple data replications to create redundancies that keep the business up even in server failure. 

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 7. Capital Investment 

You need to dedicate considerable resources and financial investment to availing virtualization solutions within your organization. The same is the case with in-house cloud servers, and the setup requires substantial investment.  

However, if you choose cloud computing from a cloud provider, the services are available as a pay-per-use model. You can also try them on a trial basis before making any serious financial commitment. 

8. Scalability 

In virtualization, scalability is limited and should be planned carefully according to your needs. If you are availing yourself of a third-party cloud service, you give your organization an unlimited pool of virtual resources. Opting for cloud computing from a reputed service provider allows you to scale up/down as needed. They have a vast resource pool that you can tap into on-demand 

As you can see, both virtualization and cloud computing are quite different from each other. Thus, there is no right or wrong answer to which one is better for your business. It totally depends upon your needs and budget. 

So, to leverage the benefits of both, you can go for a combination of both, that is Cloud Virtual desktop infrastructure. 

What Is Cloud VDI And How You Can I Gain a Competitive Edge With It? 

Make virtual apps and desktop delivery simpler than ever by combining cloud and virtualization.


As a leading desktop virtualization solutions provider, Ace Cloud Hosting equips firms with the ability to provide virtual apps and desktops to a modern workforce. Enhanced security, reduced latency, and higher mobility utilizing cloud VDI alleviate the challenges associated with traditional desktop management. 

With today’s workforce distributed across different locations, businesses need cloud virtualization to improve their physical desktop strategy. Cloud VDI deployments deliver apps and desktops without forfeiting your existing data center investments.  

All data is held securely in the cloud or server instead of end-points. Therefore, users can work from anywhere, on any device, and over any network with a protected, agile cloud solution. Also, IT administrators benefit from centralized management to control, monitor, and scale environments efficiently. 

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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