1. Introduction
  2. Virtualization as a concept
  3. Defining Virtualization in Cloud Computing
  4. What are the types of virtualization in cloud computing? 
  5. Virtualization in cloud computing and how it works?
  6. Why should virtualization be even considered? 
  7. Benefits of Virtualization 
  8. Cloud vs Virtualization

Introduction to Virtualization in Cloud Computing

Virtualization translates to creating a virtual counterpart of an existing system such as a desktop, server, network resource or an operating system. Holistically speaking, it is a technique that allows multiple users or organizations to make use of a single resource thread or an application among themselves. 

Virtualization as a concept 

Virtualization is known as the virtual machines that exist in the likeness of being a counterpart to actual hardware or an operating system. A virtual machine makes up for an ecosystem that logically separates itself from the underlying hardware. The machine that is used to create the foundation of a virtual machine is called the Host Machine and the virtual machine is labeled as the Guest Machine. 

Here is a list of terms that are associated with virtualization-

  • Hypervisor 

It is the OS that runs on actual hardware and the Virtual counterpart is a part of this OS as a running process. Hypervisors are often seen as Domain 0 or Dom0.

  • Virtual Machine (VM)

It is a virtual computer that runs under a hypervisor. 

  • Container 

These are light-weight VMs that are part of the same OS instance as its hypervisor. So, containers are nothing but a group of processes that are running with their respective namespace for process identifiers.

  • Virtualization Software 

It is a software that aids in implementing virtualization on any computer. It can either be a part of a software application package or an OS or a special variant of that OS. 

  • Virtual Network 

Virtual Network is a logically separate network within servers that can be extended to other servers or across multiple servers. 

Also Read: Top Cloud Architect Interview Questions you should know

Defining Virtualization in Cloud Computing 

Concerning Cloud Computing, virtualization is a technique for creating a virtual platform of storage devices and the server OS. Virtualization helps the user make use of multiple machines sharing one single physical instance of any resource across the network of other users respectively using their machines. Cloud virtualization transforms the conventional computing methods, where the workload management is more efficient, economic and scalable. 

Virtualization regarding Cloud Computing is being rapidly integrated, changing the fundamental course of computing. One of the most impacting features of virtualization is the way it helps the sharing of applications across a network thread of multiple companies and users. 

Cloud computing accounts for being a service or an application that assists a virtualized ecosystem. This ecosystem can either be private or public. With virtualization, resources can be maximized, thus reducing the need for a physical system. 

What are the types of virtualization in cloud computing? 

The basic concept of Virtualization dates back to the 1960s when mainframe computers started being the norm. The last 10 to 15 years have seen this concept being introduced as the standard. As of now, most servers are readily Virtualized. But there are varied types of virtualization, especially in the context of cloud computing. They are: 

  • Operating System Virtualization 

In Cloud Computing, operating system Virtualization is where the VM software installs the host operating system as opposed to being installed directly on the hardware. One of the most fundamental uses of OS virtualization is for testing applications on different OS and platforms. The software is virtually present in the hardware. This allows the different examples of the application to run on. 

  • Hardware Virtualization 

In Cloud Computing, hardware virtualization is used in server platforms since it offers more flexibility as opposed to physical machines. When it comes to hardware virtualization, VM software gets installed within the hardware system, known as hardware virtualization. It also comprises a hypervisor that controls and monitors the process, hardware resources and memory of the system. After the completion of the hardware virtualization process, the concerned user can install a different OS in it and different applications can be used simultaneously. 

  • Server Virtualization 

In case of server virtualization in Cloud Computing, the software is installed directly on the server system. The single physical server can now split into multiple servers depending on the demand it’s managing and the load that is being processed. Server virtualization masks server resources that hold identity and number. To summarize, the installed software is dividing the physical server into its integral virtual counterparts. 

  • Storage Virtualization 

Storage Virtualization concerning Cloud Computing is the grouping of physical storages that are composed of various network storage devices. The grouping is done in a way that looks like a single storage unit. With the help of software applications, storage virtualization is used for backup and recovery processes. 

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Virtualization in cloud computing and how it works?

Virtualization entails the process of creating a virtual ecosystem on any formerly existing server to run any desired program – without deterring the services provided by the host platform of the server to any of its users. The virtual environment created can be of a single instance or a combination of operating systems, application servers, network servers, storage devices, computing, and other such environments. This article has already discussed the different kinds of virtualization, it will be easier to comprehend the core concept. 

The fundamental reason for using virtualization technology is to give standard versions of any application to multiple cloud users. So, if the next version of the same application is released, the cloud provider will have to include the latest version in their server that hosts its users – but this practice can be expensive. So, to overcome such barriers, virtualization is used where all the servers and software applications required by the users are handled by a third party where the cloud providers pay certain money for an annual or monthly subscription. 

When it comes to Cloud Computing, the process of virtualization enables cloud share of the data present within the system and it can be anything from virtual resources to application software. The process can also be explained with the help of hypervisor which helps cloud users access the cloud server. A hypervisor essentially bridges the gap between a server and the virtual environment, helping the distribution of resources across the various virtual environments. 

Why should virtualization be even considered? 

In the context of recent times, there are several reasons for opting virtualization, such as: 

  • Machines can run multiple instances of a single application simultaneously. 
  • Streamlining the IT cost and minimizing the IT administration structure. 
  • Effective management of large scale installation and server farms. 
  • Enhanced reliability, security, scalability, device dependence. 
  • Options to enable multiple OS use on the same hardware. 

Benefits of Virtualization 

There are benefits of virtualization in Cloud Computing. The ones that impact most have been discussed below with the indulgence of nuances that helps in a progressive comprehension of Virtualization’s importance in the context of Cloud Computing. 

  • Security 

Security has to be one of the most lucrative aspects of adopting virtualization since it is a recurrent concern. The security is provided via firewalls that help in preventing any unauthorized access, keeping the data safe and confidential. The firewall also produces additional security from other cyber threats or virus attacks. The protocols also include encryption that automatically protects data from the other threads. The users can easily virtualize their data and create a backup of the same data on a separate server if they feel the need to. 

  • Flexibility in operations 

With virtualization, professionals can work at ease since the process is more streamlined and agile. The network switch that is implemented presently creates ease of access and use which also saves time. Virtualization has also helped in troubleshooting technical errors happening in any one of the connected devices. It also eradicates the problem of retaining or recovering any lost data due to any corrupted device or a crashed one. Thus it dynamically improves ROI and saves a lot of time. 

  • Economical agility

It is one of the primary reasons for a faster adoption rate of virtualization. This technique can save companies from spending a fortune on physical devices and servers. With the virtual environment, data can be stored on the virtual; servers. It also impacts on the relentless use of electricity (which would have been the case if there were multiple physical servers and devices), reducing the bills while running multiple instances of an operating system and applications across the network of users and companies. 

Also Read: 5 Benefits of pursuing Cloud Computing

  • Streamlining system failure 

When it comes to performing any tasks, chances are that the system might malfunction at a critical time. Such failure has been detrimental to a company’s resources and damaged reputation. But with virtualization, the detrimental factors can be avoided since users can perform the same task simultaneously on multiple devices. The data stored in the cloud can also be retrieved anytime with any of the devices in use. The server also has two working sides which makes the data accessible at any given point of time. Even when one server goes down, there will be the secondary server to give users the access they require to retrieve their data. 

  • Flexibility in data transfer 

The data transferred to the virtual servers can be retained anytime. So, that automates the process of finding data easier since the users won’t be wasting any time to get what they need. With virtualization at the user’s disposal, they can easily locate and transfer specific data to their respective administrator without any security dispute. The transfer will have no data cap and can sustain long-distance transfers, that too at a nominal charge. Additional storage units in the virtual threshold of servers can also reduce the cost. 

The Technologies to use Virtualization can be done through a wide spectrum of technologies that are OpenSource and easily available. Some of the notable technologies that are seen in use or have a pervading influence in the industry are-

  • OpenVZ 
  • KVM
  • XEN 

Cloud vs Virtualization 

It is a recurrent mistake when it comes to confusing clouds with virtualization since they are both associated with one another, creating an environment out of abstract resources. But virtualization is more of a technology that enables its user to make multiple simulated instances of a physical resource or an environment from a single hardware system unit. On the other hand, clouds are IT environments that share, pool and abstract any scalable resources spread across a network. So, to surmise it in a line – Cloud is the environment where virtualization is a technology implemented. 

Clouds are created for cloud computing where workloads run within the concerned system. Cloud architecture can consist of virtualization, container software or even bare-metal which is used to pool, share and abstract any scalable resource spread across a network creating a cloud. There is a stable operating system that lies at the base of any cloud computing venture, like for instance, Linux. This layer of the operating system provides users the independence across hybrid, private and public environments.

If you have internet, intranet access, then you can make use of virtualization to create a cloud environment. In the case of virtualization, the hypervisor is used which is a software that sits on top of physical hardware, abstracting the resources from the machine. The resources are often just raw processing of storage, power of cloud-based software applications that contain the respective runtime code and resources which are required to deploy it. But if the process ends here, it will be known as virtualization – not cloud. Virtualization has its own set of benefits, like server consolidation and better use of hardware resources. It greatly cuts down on the resources used. 


Virtualization helps in outsourcing the hardware used, eliminating extra energy costs and minimizing the use of particular resources. Even though it doesn’t work for every user, it surely provides enhanced security, efficiency and cost advantages. Whatever be the need for virtualization, there must be service providers that can provide the necessary tools to manage and monitor the resources – which will be saving time and making the processes more efficient without deterring its promised flexibility. 

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