What is virtualization?
Virtualization is an abstract presentation of a device or resource. It serves to create computing environments that will be independent from the physical hardware infrastructure.
Simply put, it is software that is used to create multiple separate resources over the same physical hardware and it is the basic principle that is used in cloud computing.
“Virtualization software makes it possible to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications on the same server at the same time,” said Mike Adams, director of product marketing at VMware, a pioneer in virtualization and cloud software and services. “It enables businesses to reduce IT costs while increasing the efficiency, utilization and flexibility of their existing computer hardware.”
“Virtualization makes servers, workstations, storage and other systems independent of the physical hardware layer,” said John Livesay, vice president of InfraNet, a network infrastructure services provider. “This is done by installing a Hypervisor on top of the hardware layer, where the systems are then installed.”
Where in the cloud computing puzzle comes the virtualization?
In order to understand this, first we have to mention that the virtualization existed even before the cloud computing became available. So, virtualization can exist without the cloud, but cloud computing can’t exist without virtualization.
We can consider the virtualization as a technology on which the service – cloud computing is based.
What is Cloud Computing
So, if we define Cloud computing as a service, this service provides “sharing hardware resources, software or data through a network (public-Internet or private-LAN) which are delivered as a service and on-demand.
The difference between virtualization and cloud computing is that the first is brought by a software that controls the hardware, and the second is brought as a result from that virtualization.
If it wasn’t for the virtualization, the cloud computing wouldn’t exist as a service. Therefore, the virtualization is the foundation of cloud computing and helps deliver its value.
What is done with the virtualization is abstracting the workloads from hardware. And what is more, this abstraction allows dynamically and on-demand allocating of storage, network and compute resources. But, the fact that the hardware is centrally managed doesn’t make the infrastructure a cloud.
Value that the cloud provides over just virtualization
The value that the cloud provides over just virtualization is that it adds: self-service capability, elasticity, automated management, scalability and pay-as you go service that is not inherent in virtualization.
This is the reason why at times it is hard to understand what a cloud is and do companies really need one. Some of the vendors make it more complicated by simply re-branding their products with the word “cloud”, without actually offering a true cloud.
As we said, the virtualization is the foundation of cloud computing, but virtualization alone does not make a cloud.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) says: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
They also define that the cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics
- On-demand service
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling
- Rapid elasticity
- Measured service, or pay-per-use model
As the name suggests these five are the essential characteristics and if any of these is missing to the infrastructure, it can’t be called cloud.
So, if you are still not sure what all these characteristics mean to your infrastructure, you can clarify things by answering these questions:
- On-Demand Service – can I unilaterally provision computing capabilities?
- Broad Network Access – can I access through multiple clients and devices over network?
- Resource Pooling – can I decouple resources from physical hardware?
- Rapid Elasticity – can I add and reduce capacity through software?
- Measured Service – who is using what and how much?
Considering this, you can see that in order to have a real cloud implemented, only virtualization is not enough. There is a lot more than just creating a “resource pool”.
VapourApps Private Cloud:
- Virtualization engine – OpenStack on KVM
- Predefined virtual servers based on Debian
- Orchestration and management web dashboard, a customized Horizon dashboard.
The owner of the tenant or the IT administrator, can manage his virtual servers, users, groups and monitor the status of the used application from a single dashboard.
Download and try VapourApps 1.0 Beta