Monday, December 27, 2010

The Difference Between Virtualization And Cloud Computing

The basic difference is "virtualization" happens on your own hardware and "cloud computing" happens on someone else's hardware. At the lowest level they are the same.

Virtualization and Private Cloud Computing are inter-related yet clearly different from each other. Virtualization itself can take several forms, from server virtualization, to network, desktop and storage virtualization. In each case, and importantly, virtualization abstracts the resource, i.e. Windows or Linux server, from the underlying physical hardware. The most popular products for virtualization include VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM and Citrix Xen.

Private Cloud Computing is the application of Cloud Computing concepts to a privately owned and operated data center(s). Thus, features such as on-demand provisioning, distributed redundant architecture, and self-service administration should be part of a Private Cloud Computing implementation. Companies such as VMware are expanding their Virtualization offerings to support buildout of a full Private Cloud.

“Virtualization is simply one of the elements that makes cloud computing, so cloud computing can happen without virtualization..

A private cloud computing environment is built on a virtual infrastructure. Many organizations have deployed virtualization by creating virtual servers on top of their existing networking, storage and security stacks. But with private cloud computing, you need to think about and design these technologies in conjunction with one another.
In other words, you built previous virtual infrastructures on these stacks, but you need to build a private cloud with these stacks." -

Also, keep this in mind .....

1) The additional links that are required to the cloud. These must to TOTALLY robust, if your link to the Internet is down, your business is down. Note that virtualization projects often miss this point about internal network reliability too.

2) Security. Where are the data centres? Are they in the same country? Are there different laws? Who has access to the servers? Is the data encrypted? Does it need to be?

3) SLA's. Do you have the right SLA's in place with the cloud provider? What happens if they take your service down? Can they delete your data? What about backups and recovery? Do you have sufficient control?

4) Liability. Who is liable when something goes wrong? Does the cloud provider give you liability cover? What happens if an outage materially affects your business? What happens if a lapse in their security releases some sensitive data?

Hopefully you can see that Cloud computing is NOT a magic bullet, nor is virtualization.

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