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What is Virtualization in Cloud Computing? - Characteristics & Benefits

  • Neelam Tyagi
  • Mar 12, 2021
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Initiating the blog discussion with simple definition of “Virtualization” that refers to the process of making a “virtual version” of something like hardware or software- virtual servers, infrastructure, devices and computing resources. For example, creating  a virtual machine that serves as a real-life computer. 


Consider an instance, a user can take a computer running on Windows as an operating system, then make a virtual machine over that computer, and then run another operating system on virtual machines like Linux. 


Virtualization introduces the new significant connection between hardware-software and is one of the foundational portions of cloud computing technology in order to help and utilize the capabilities of cloud computing to its entirety.


“With the cloud, individuals and small businesses can snap their fingers and instantly set up enterprise-class services.”  - Roy Stephan, Founder and CEO, PierceMatrix


Before delving into the blog post, let's click the core topics;


  1. What is virtualization?

  2. Virtualization as a concept of Cloud Computing

  3. Characteristics of virtualization

  4. Benefits of virtualization

  5. Conclusion 



What is Virtualization?


In layman words, Virtualization enables users to disjoint operating systems from the underlying hardware, i.e, users can run multiple operating systems such as Windows, Linux, on a single physical machine at the same time. Such operating systems are known as guest Oses (operating systems).


Virtualization deploys software that makes an abstraction layer across computer hardware, letting the hardware components such as processors, memory, storage etc of a particular computer to be segmented into several virtual elements (also known as virtual machines).


Moreover, in todays’ time, virtualization is globally adopted in enterprise IT architecture and drives cloud computing economics. Essentially, Virtualization allows cloud providers to deliver users along with existing physical computer hardware.


As a simple process, it enables cloud users to purchase only necessary computing resources when they actually need it, and to sustain those resources cost-effectively when the workload expands.


(Recommend blog: What is Agile Software Development? Agile SDLC)


Some terminologies associated with Virtualization


  1. Hypervisor: It is an operating system, performing on the actual hardware, the virtual counterpart is a subpart of this operating system in the form of a running process. Hypervisors are observed as Domain 0 or Dom0.

  2. Virtual Machine (VM):It is a virtual computer, executing underneath a hypervisor. 

  3. Container: Some light-weighted VMs that are subpart of the same operating system instance as its hypervisor are known as containers. They are a group of processes that runs along with their corresponding namespace for process identifiers.

  4. Virtualization Software: Either be a piece of a software application package or an operating system or a specific version of that operating system, this is the software that assists in deploying the virtualization on any computer device.

  5. Virtual Network: It is a logically separated network inside the servers that could be expanded across multiple servers.



Virtualization as a Concept of Cloud Computing


In the context of cloud computing, virtualization is a technique that makes a virtual ecosystem of  storage devices and the server OS. 


  • In that case, virtualization enables users to use various machines that share one particular physical instance of any resource.

  • Cloud virtualization transforms the traditional computing methods such that the workload management is more efficient, economic and scalable. 

  • Virtualization concerning Cloud Computing is being unified swiftly, and advancing the conventional course of computing such as virtualization is helping in the sharing of applications across a network thread of several enterprises and active users. 


Since cloud computing is being considered as a service or an application, assisting a virtualized ecosystem that could either be private or public, so with virtualization, resources could be escalated, reducing the necessity for a physical system. 


Besides that, in order to understand how virtualization works in cloud computing, check the video below that explains how virtualization is still the elemental component of cloud strategy.

Characteristics of Virtualization


  1. Resource Distribution: Either be a single computer or a network of connected servers, virtualization allows users to make a unique computer environment from one host machine that lets users to restrict the participants as active users, scale down power consumption and easy control.


  1. Isolation: Virtualization software involves self-contained virtual machines, these VMs give guest users (not an individual but a number of instances as applications, operating systems, and devices) an isolated online, virtual environment. This online environment not only defends sensitive knowledge but also allows guest users to remain-connected.


  1. Availability: Virtualization software provides various number of features that users won’t obtain at physical servers, these features are beneficial in increasing uptime, availability, fault tolerance, and many more. These features help users to avoid downtime that subverts the users’ efficiencies and productivities and also generates security threats and safety hazards.


  1. Aggregation: Since virtualization allows several devices to split resources from a single machine, so it can be deployed to join multiple devices into a single potent host. In addition to that, aggregation also demands for cluster management software in order to connect a homogeneous group of computers or servers collectively for making a unified resource center.


  1. Authenticity and security: At ease, virtualization platforms assure the continuous uptime by balancing load automatically that runs an excessive number of servers across multiple host machines in order to prevent interruption services. 


(Also check: What is System Analysis and Design?)


Benefits of Virtualization


There are following benefits of virtualization in cloud computing;


  1. Security:


Security has been the advantageous concern for adopting virtualization.The security is served through firewalls that prevent from any unreliable access and preserve the data safe and confidential. 


In addition to that, 


  • The firewalls provide extra security from any sort of cyber threats and virus attacks,

  • The protocols consist of end to end encryption, saving data automatically from other risky threads, and

  • Users can virtualize their data and make backups of the same data on another server when needed.



  1. Flexible Operations:


With the deployment of virtualization, users can work efficiently as the working process is very streamlined and agile. Presently, the employed network switch is easy to use, flexible and saves time.


Virtualization is also helpful in troubleshooting technical errors, occurring in any of the connected devices. It eradicates the issues of retaining or recovering lost data due to corrupted or crashed devices, and therefore promotes ROI and saves time.



  1. Economical:


This is the most prime reason to choose virtualization rapidly as with this technique companies can manage additional expenditure on physical devices and servers. 


Being active with a virtual environment, data can be gathered on virtual servers. It also reduces the rigorous use of electricity (that has been a concern if several physical devices and services are being used at the same time), lowering bills while executing the numerous components of an operating system and applications over the users and companies network. 



  1. Flexible data transfer:


The data can be transferred to virtual servers anytime and also be retrieved due to this users or cloud providers need not to waste time in finding out hard drives to discover data.


With the implementation of virtualization, it has become easy to allocate the required data and transfer them to the appropriate authorities. Moreover, there is no limitation of data transfer and can be transferred to a far distance with minimal charges.



  1. Remove system failure risks:


While performing any function, it often happens that the system might malfunction in critical timing such that this system failure could be adverse for a company’s resources and also deteriorate its reputation. 


This system failure can be protected with virtualization as users could perform the same task simultaneously over multiple devices, and the accumulated data can also be retrieved anytime with any device. 


Along with it, the server has the two working sides that makes data accessible at any point of time, if one primary server goes down, the secondary server is there to deliver access to the users when they demand to retrieve data for their use. (Reference)




From outsourcing the hardware used, and curtailing the implementation of specific sources, to removing additional costs of energy, virtualization assists in a very proficient way such as it provides augmented security, competence, and cost convenience, however it might not work for each user. 


(Read also: Types of Agile methodologies)


Depending on the need of virtualization type, a user can seek a service provider, rendering appropriate tools for maintaining and controlling a number of resources that will be time saving and cost effective in order to make the process more adequate. 

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