Virtualization is the creation of virtual servers, infrastructures, devices and computing resources. Virtualization changes the hardware-software relations and is one of the foundational elements of cloud computing technology that helps utilize the capabilities of cloud computing to the full. Virtualization techniques allow companies to turn virtual their networks, storage, servers, data, desktops and applications.
The Basics of Virtualization
A great example of how virtualization works in your daily life is the separation of your hard drive into different parts. While you may have only one hard drive, your system sees it as two, three or more different and separate segments. Similarly, this technology has been used for a long time. It started as the ability to run multiple operating systems on one hardware set and now it is a vital part of testing and cloud-based computing.
A technology called the Virtual Machine Monitor — also called virtual manager — encapsulates the very basics of virtualization in cloud computing. It is used to separate the physical hardware from its emulated parts. This often includes the CPU’s memory, I/O and network traffic. A secondary operating system that is usually interacting with the hardware is now a software emulation of that hardware, and often the guest operating system has no idea it’s on the virtualized hardware. Despite the fact that the performance of the virtual system is not equal to the functioning of the “true hardware” operating system, the technology still works because most secondary OSs and applications don’t need the full use of the underlying hardware. This allows for greater flexibility, control and isolation by removing the dependency on a given hardware platform.
The layer of software that enables this abstraction is called “hypervisor”. A study in the International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research defines it as “a software layer that can monitor and virtualize the resources of a host machine conferring to the user requirements.” The most common hypervisor is referred to as Type 1. By talking to the hardware directly, it virtualizes the hardware platform that makes it available to be used by virtual machines. There’s also a Type 2 hypervisor, which requires an operating system. Most often, you can find it being used in software testing and laboratory research.
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Virtualization vs. Cloud Computing
Unlike virtualization, cloud computing refers to the service that results from that change. It describes the delivery of shared computing resources, SaaS and on-demand services through the Internet. Most of the confusion occurs because virtualization and cloud computing work together to provide different types of services, as is the case with private clouds.
The cloud often includes virtualization products as a part of their service package. The difference is that a true cloud provides the self-service feature, elasticity, automated management, scalability and pay-as-you-go service that is not inherent to the technology.
Types of Virtualization in Cloud Computing
Here are six methodologies to look at when talking about virtualization techniques in cloud computing:
Network virtualization in cloud computing is a method of combining the available resources in a network by splitting up the available bandwidth into different channels, each being separate and distinguished. They can be either assigned to a particular server or device or stay unassigned completely — all in real time. The idea is that the technology disguises the true complexity of the network by separating it into parts that are easy to manage, much like your segmented hard drive makes it easier for you to manage files.
Using this technique gives the user an ability to pool the hardware storage space from several interconnected storage devices into a simulated single storage device that is managed from one single command console. This storage technique is often used in storage area networks. Storage manipulation in the cloud is mostly used for backup, archiving, and recovering of data by hiding the real and physical complex storage architecture. Administrators can implement it with software applications or by employing hardware and software hybrid appliances.
This technique is the masking of server resources. It simulates physical servers by changing their identity, numbers, processors and operating systems. This spares the user from continuously managing complex server resources. It also makes a lot of resources available for sharing and utilizing, while maintaining the capacity to expand them when needed.
This kind of cloud computing virtualization technique is abstracting the technical details usually used in data management, such as location, performance or format, in favor of broader access and more resiliency that are directly related to business needs.
As compared to other types of virtualization in cloud computing, this model enables you to emulate a workstation load, rather than a server. This allows the user to access the desktop remotely. Since the workstation is essentially running in a data center server, access to it can be both more secure and portable.
Software virtualization in cloud computing abstracts the application layer, separating it from the operating system. This way the application can run in an encapsulated form without being dependant upon the operating system underneath. In addition to providing a level of isolation, an application created for one OS can run on a completely different operating system.
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If a company decides on whether or not to apply the technology in a company’s IT landscape, we recommend making an in-depth analysis of its specific needs and capabilities, which is better handled by specialists who can address costs, scalability requirements and security needs and implement continuous development.
But also remember that all of these techniques and services are not omnipotent or all-inclusive solutions. Like any other technology, tool or service a business adopts, things can always change.
In this article, we covered what is virtualization in cloud computing, types of hypervisors, different techniques and how to understand that you really need this system in your IT infrastructure. It can be viewed as part of an overall trend in enterprise IT that includes autonomic and utility computing. Usually, it is done by centralizing the administrative parts while improving scalability and workloads, and many businesses derive a lot of benefits from it.