What is Virtualization in Cloud Computing?

13 min readApr 30, 2022

Table of content:

  • What is Virtualization in Cloud Computing?
  • Characteristics of Virtualization
  • What is Cloud Computing?
  • Characteristics of Cloud Computing
  • Examples of Cloud Computing
  • Types of Virtualization in Cloud Computing
  • Role of Virtualization in Cloud Computing
  • Advantages of Virtualization
  • Virtualization Versus Cloud Computing

A virtual counterpart of an existing system, such as a desktop, server, network resource, or a virtual operating system, is created through virtualization. It is a technology that allows several people or organizations to share a single resource thread or program. These physical resources are rented to the customers as a ‘pay per use’ business model.


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What is Virtualization in Cloud Computing?

Virtualization is a method of creating computer-generated versions of servers, apps, data centers, and other forms of hardware that operate identically to their actual counterparts using software. It is the process of producing a virtual representation of a physical object, such as computer hardware. It was created back when mainframe computers were still in use. It entails the use of specialized software to generate a virtual or software-created version of a computing resource rather than the real thing. Virtualization allows different operating systems and applications to operate on the same machine and hardware at the same time, enhancing hardware usage and flexibility.

In other words, virtualization is one of the most cost-effective, hardware-saving, and energy-saving approaches employed by cloud providers. Virtualization allows several consumers and organizations to share a single physical instance of a resource or application at the same time. This is accomplished by giving a physical storage a logical name and supplying a pointer to that physical resource on demand.

Virtualization is frequently used interchangeably with hardware virtualization, which is critical for delivering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions for cloud computing. Virtualization technologies also create a virtual environment for storage, memory, and networking, in addition to executing applications.

Characteristics of Virtualization

Virtualization has a set of defined characteristics. The features of virtualization are as follows:

  1. Resource Distribution: Using a single computer or a network of connected servers, virtualization allows users to create a distinct computing environment from a single host machine, allowing them to limit the number of active users, reduce power consumption, and maintain easy control.
  2. Isolation: Virtualization allows guests, whether they are operating systems, programs, or other entities, to execute in a completely isolated environment. The guest application interacts with an abstraction layer, which offers access to the underlying resources, to carry out its tasks. The virtual machine can monitor the guest’s activity and avoid damaging attacks on the host.
  3. Aggregation: While it is feasible to share physical resources across multiple guests, virtualization also allows for aggregation, which is the inverse of sharing. A collection of individual hosts can be linked together and shown to visitors as a single virtual host. Cluster management software, which harnesses the physical resources of a homogeneous set of machines and portrays them as a single resource, is used to provide this feature.
  4. Security: The ability to entirely transparently manage the execution of a guest program brings up new options for creating a secure, controlled execution environment. Guest program typically perform all of their activities against the virtual machine, which subsequently translates and applies them to the host applications. A virtual machine manager can monitor and filter the activities of guest program, preventing some potentially dangerous processes. The host’s resources can then be concealed or merely protected from the visitor. When dealing with untrusted code, increased security is a must.
  5. Portability: Depending on the sort of virtualization in question, the concept of mobility can be applied in a variety of ways. A hardware virtualization solution packages the guest into a virtual image that can be safely transported and operated on top of other virtual machines in most circumstances. The binary code representing application components (jars or assemblies) can execute without recompilation on any implementation of the matching virtual machine in the case of programming-level virtualization, as implemented by the JVM or the.NET runtime.
  6. Availability: Virtualization software offers a variety of benefits that consumers won’t get on physical servers, like increased uptime, availability, fault tolerance, and more. These features assist users in avoiding downtime, which reduces efficiency and productivity while also posing security and safety risks.
  7. Emulation: The virtualization layer, which is a software, controls the execution of guest program in a virtual environment. In terms of the host, a whole distinct environment can be simulated, allowing the execution of guest program that require a specific set of features that aren’t present in the real host.

Aside from these traits, virtualization also enables performance adjustment, which is a significant capacity. Given the significant developments in hardware and software that support virtualization, this capability is now a reality. By fine-tuning the properties of the resources accessible through the virtual environment, it becomes easier to govern the guest’s performance. This capability enables the implementation of a quality-of-service (QoS) infrastructure.


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What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a service that allows consumers and organizations to access and store data through the internet rather than on a hard disc. Essentially, it is a service that delivers computer processing power (OS, CPU, RAM, and software). Examples include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, GoDaddy, and other cloud service providers.

Characteristics of Cloud Computing

  1. Self-service on-demand: Because Cloud Computing services do not require any human administrators, users can provide, monitor, and manage computing resources as needed.
  2. Rapid elasticity: Computing services should have IT resources that can scale out and in on a need-to-know basis. When a user requests services, they are given, and the service is scaled down once the user’s needs are met.
  3. Measured service: For each application and tenant, resource use is tracked, giving both the user and the resource supplier an account of what has been consumed. This is done for a variety of reasons, including billing and resource management.
  4. Resource pooling: IT resources (such as networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) are shared in an ad hoc manner across multiple applications and occupants. A single physical resource is used to serve several customers.
  5. Broad Network Access: One of the most intriguing aspects of cloud computing is that it is not limited by geography. Cloud computing is available via the internet and has a large access area. You may access your files and documents from any location in the world; all you need is a reliable internet connection and a device to get started.


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Examples of Cloud Computing

The move to the cloud has resulted in a slew of new business-friendly technologies. Companies are shifting operations to the cloud for a variety of reasons, including cost savings, increased flexibility, and simplicity of use. Businesses are also embracing the cloud for computing to defend themselves from cyber-attacks such as ransomware.

Though cloud computing may not be appropriate in every company circumstance, there are a number of applications that offer indisputable advantages and should not be overlooked. The following are the top cloud computing applications:

1. Public/ Private/ Hybrid Cloud

The important thing to remember is that the cloud is essentially someone else’s computer, despite the word “cloud” being somewhat vague. Data can be stored in one of three cloud environments: public, private, or hybrid. Ultimately, the needs particular to your firm will determine which cloud option is best for you. Due to the protection of sensitive information, larger firms with larger expenditures for developing and operating an on-site data center will typically pick a private or hybrid cloud solution. A public cloud is a simpler, more cost-effective method for hosting data for small to mid-sized organizations.

2. Big Data Analytics

Big Data is a disruptive trend that is disrupting the business world. Amazon and Facebook, for example, collect data on consumer buying trends, likes, and dislikes, and analyze it to predict future purchases and grow their businesses. Today’s businesses are all attempting to collect and understand big data in order to make sales, marketing, R&D, and other decisions. The cloud is a very powerful tool for storing, managing, and analyzing this data.

3. Backup and Recovery

The majority of backup systems (such as producing backup copies required for data recovery) are now cloud-based. The cloud almost removes the need for time-consuming manual backups (which is absolutely essential for all systems). Most systems now provide a number of tools that assist users in planning and creating secure backup copies on a regular basis and with minimal effort. In this scenario, cloud computing enables end-users to save a significant amount of time over the course of the year.

Types of Virtualization in Cloud Computing

Virtualization as a notion dates back to the 1960s, when mainframe computers were the standard. This notion has been the industry norm in the last 10 to 15 years. Virtualization is currently possible on the majority of servers. However, there are various types of virtualization, especially in the context of cloud computing. They are as follows:

1. Data virtualization: This is a type of virtualization in which data is collected from various sources and managed in a single location without knowing more about the technical details of how data is collected, stored, and formatted, and then logically organized so that its virtual view can be accessed by interested people and stakeholders, as well as users, via various cloud services. Many large corporations, including as Oracle, IBM, At scale, Cdata, and others, offer their services.

2. Desktop Virtualization: Desktop virtualization allows users’ operating systems to be stored remotely on a server in the data center. It allows the user to virtually access their desktop from any machine, at any location. Virtual desktop is required for a user who want to run operating systems other than Windows Server. User mobility, portability, and easy management of software installation, updates, and patches are the main advantages of desktop virtualization.

3. Storage virtualization: A virtual storage system manages a group of servers known as storage virtualization. The servers are more like worker bees in a hive in that they are unaware of where their data is stored. It allows you to manage and use storage from numerous sources as if it were a single repository. Despite modifications, breakdowns, and variances in the underlying equipment, storage virtualization software ensures smooth operations, constant performance, and a continuing array of sophisticated functions.

4. Network Virtualization: The capacity to manage several virtual networks, each with its own data and management plan. It coexists on top of a single physical network. It can be handled by individuals who may or may not be aware of each other’s identities. Within days or even weeks, network virtualization allows you to construct and provision virtual networks, network devices, including logical switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, Virtual Network, and workload security.

5. Server Virtualization: This is a type of virtualization in which server resources are hidden behind a mask. By changing the identity number and processors, the central-server (physical server) is divided into several virtual servers. As a result, each machine can run its own operating system in isolation. Where each sub-server is aware of the primary server’s identity. By deploying main server resources into a sub-server resource, it improves speed while also lowering running costs. It aids virtual migration, reduces energy usage, and lowers infrastructure costs, among other things.

6. Application Virtualization: Application virtualization allows a user to remote access to a server-based application. The server keeps all of the application’s personal data and other characteristics, yet it can still be run on a local workstation over the internet. A user who has to run two separate versions of the same software is an example of this. Hosted apps and packaged applications are examples of technologies that leverage application virtualization.

7. Operating System Virtualization: Operating system Virtualization in Cloud Computing is when the VM software installs the host operating system rather than the host operating system being installed directly on the hardware. Testing apps on different OS and platforms is one of the most basic uses of OS virtualization. The software is almost completely integrated into the hardware. This enables the application’s various examples to run.

8. Hardware Virtualization: Hardware virtualization is employed in server platforms in Cloud Computing because it provides more flexibility than physical computers. Hardware virtualization refers to the installation of virtual machine software (VM) within the hardware system. It also includes a hypervisor, which regulates and monitors the system’s processes, hardware resources, and memory. After the hardware virtualization procedure is completed, the user can install a separate operating system and run multiple programs at the same time.


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Role of Virtualization in Cloud Computing

Virtualization is very significant in cloud computing technology. Normally, in cloud computing, users share the data that is present in the clouds, such as applications, but with virtualization, users share the infrastructure.

The major purpose of virtualization technology is to deliver standard versions of apps to cloud users. If the next version of that application is launched, the cloud provider must provide the current version to their cloud customers, which is not practicable due to the higher cost.

To address this issue, we mostly employ virtualization technologies. By utilizing virtualization, all servers and software applications required by other cloud providers are maintained by third parties, for which the cloud providers must pay a monthly or annual fee.

Advantages of Virtualization

  1. Limited use of Software and Hardware Components: Due to the general limited usage of resources, hardware and software resources are under-utilized. Because all of the user’s PCs are capable of meeting their daily computational needs, many of them are utilized often and may be used constantly without interruption 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Using these resources for other uses after hours could improve the efficiency of IT infrastructure. With the help of virtualization, this environment can be created.
  2. Shortage of Space: Data centers are rapidly expanding due to the constant need for more capacity, whether it’s for memory storage or compute power. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon develop their infrastructure by constructing data centers that meet their specific requirements. The majority of businesses are unable to afford to establish a new data center to accommodate increasing resource capacity. This contributes to the spread of a practice known as server consolidation.
  3. Enhanced Performance: Currently, the end user system, i.e. PC, is strong enough to meet all of the user’s fundamental processing needs, plus a variety of other features that are rarely used. The majority of their systems have enough capacity to host a virtual machine manager and run a virtual machine with acceptable performance so far.
  4. Increase efficiency and productivity: IT personnel will be able to spend less time maintaining physical hardware and IT infrastructure with fewer servers. Instead of going through the onerous and time-consuming process of applying updates server-by-server, install, update, and maintenance of the environment across all of the VMs in the virtual environment on the server will happen easily. The efficiency and production of your staff will improve if less time is spent on maintaining the environment.
  5. Reduce downtime and enhance resiliency in disaster recovery situations: When a physical server is damaged, someone is responsible for replacing or repairing it, which can take hours or even days. It’s simple to provide and deploy a virtualized environment, allowing replication or cloning of the impacted virtual machine. The recovery procedure would take minutes, rather than the hours it would take to deploy and set up a new physical server, greatly improving the environment’s resiliency and ensuring business continuity.
  6. Easy: A developer’s best buddy is virtualization. It effectively separates development and production environments without the need for additional hardware. Cloning a VM to create testing environments is incredibly straightforward. You can use it to test features and fix bugs without affecting the actual product. Developers in traditional hardware-based systems must be concerned with all updates and upkeep for their development equipment. It’s also a constant issue to keep an accurate picture of live servers for testing. Virtual machines (VMs) easily resolve all of these concerns. Virtualization allows developers to play with an infinite number of flawlessly reproduced virtual machines on demand. Virtualization is used by developers to speed up updates, increase software security, and maintain a smooth pipeline between development, testing, and deployment.
  7. Reduction Of Expenses: Computing power is not cheap. If the only method to increase resources is to buy new hardware, the cost quickly mounts. It also provides for remote access and rapid scalability. You can examine your current architecture and uncover wasted or idle computing resources using virtualization techniques. Organizations frequently deploy servers to run applications that only require a small portion of their available resources. These servers are never used to their full capability. To make matters worse, these servers are completely idle while their applications are not operating. In a virtualized environment, you may accurately assign each VM the amount of computing resources it requires to perform its function. Other VMs and their apps can then use the leftover resources. Virtualization costs are almost always less than traditional costs.


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Virtualization Versus Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the combining of various physical devices, while virtualization is software that virtualizes your hardware into multiple PCs. A user gets dedicated hardware under virtualization, however with cloud computing, numerous hardware units create a single login environment for the user. Cloud computing is better for accessing resources from outside the workplace network, whereas virtualization is best for accessing resources from within the office.

Cloud computing allows different departments (via a private cloud) or corporations (through a public cloud) to access a single pool of automatically provisioned resources, whereas virtualization can make one resource act like many.

S.NCloud Computing Virtualization1.Cloud computing is utilized to provide on-demand access to pools and automated resources.Through a physical hardware system, it is utilized to create diverse simulated worlds.2.Cloud computing is of two types : Public cloud and Private cloud.Virtualization is of two types : Hardware virtualization and Application virtualization.3.Highly scalable.Not very scalable4.Cloud computing relies on numerous machines in the event of a disaster.While it relies on single peripheral device.5.Tedious and complex set-up phase.Set up phase is relatively easier.6.Workload is stateless.Workload is state full.

Summing Up

As technology continues to develop, we are racing into an era where both cloud computing and virtualization become an important part of our lives. Continuing to understand the essence of what both this technologies are becomes prudent as engineers.

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