Virtualization vs. Cloud Computing: A Comparison

Government Agencies Confused By The Terms ‘Virtualization’ and ‘Cloud Computing’

A new study that was conducted by Quest Software’s public-sector subsidiary found that “nearly two-thirds of state and local respondents indicated that there is confusion in their organizations about what constitutes the two technologies – ‘Virtualization’ and ‘Cloud Computing.’ Paul Christman, Quest Software’s vice president for state and local government and education sales found the results of the survey surprising. He said, “We expected that there would be a very clear understanding of what virtualization is because it’s been around for so long. And it’s been implemented in various aspects of information technology, whether it’s networks or storage or computing.”

Virtualization

The term ‘virtualization’ is normally defined as creating a virtual version of something, such as server or a desktop. Virtualization allows you to make your operating systems think that a group of servers is a single pool of computing resources. Virtualization allows you to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single machine. This technology has its roots in partitioning. Partitioning involves dividing a single physical server into multiple servers. Once the physical server is divided, each server can run an operating system and applications independently. Virtualization allows organizations to utilize clustering, partitioning, workload management, and other virtualization practices to configure groups of servers into reusable pools of resources that are better positioned to respond to changing organization demands on the resources.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a way for shared servers to deliver services from an external location, particularly data storage. Cloud computing involves computing services that are managed in the ‘clouds’ with layers that include a server, physical infrastructure, platform, application, and the user. Cloud computing is basically on-demand provisioning of computing power from a pool of resources which are delivered via the Internet. Clients do not own the physical infrastructure as everything is purchased from the cloud host provider. The services are based on a pay-per-use fee structure.

The ‘Pulse on Public Sector Virtualization and Cloud Computing Study’ Findings

While there has been confusion about virtualization and cloud computing, government agencies are adopting the technologies.  In the ‘Pulse on Public Sector Virtualization and Cloud Computing Study’ conducted by the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., “almost 20 percent of state and local respondents said their organization has already implemented virtualization.  Almost 20 percent of respondents also said the biggest barrier to private cloud adoption was the upfront cost to implement. 72 percent of the respondents who have implemented virtualization said it has made it easier to manage their environments”

The ‘Pulse on Public Sector Virtualization and Cloud Computing Study’ surveyed 646 respondents, 307 in federal government, 128 in state and local government, and 211 in higher education, on virtualization management, cloud computing attitudes, and barriers and incentives to cloud computing adoption.