Virtualization and Cloud Computing are not new concepts to the world of information technology, however, businesses and IT professionals, and especially non-IT folks often get confused with these two terms. Though, both of these technologies are often mentioned in the same breath and are also used interchangeably but there are lots of differences between them. However, it is considered that virtualization is cloud computing but in actual virtualization is just the fundamental base of cloud computing. Though, it is again something confusing for many but it can be easily understood just by going through the article.


In the field of computing, virtualization actually means to create a virtual version of the available resources or devices such as servers, network components, storage devices and sometimes even an operating system. This permits use of limited resources in more than one execution environment and help businesses make their business processes cost-effective. Today, the term virtualization has become very sophisticated in the field of information technology as it is now associated with a lot of computing technologies including following:

  1. Server Virtualization: It is the partitioning of a physical server into a number of smaller virtual servers
  2. Storage Virtualization: Amalgamation of multiple network storage devices into a single storage unit
  3. Network Virtualization: Logical segmentation of single physical network in multiple network resources

However, other than aforementioned technologies, there are several more which can be virtualized depending upon the needs. Also, with virtualization you are required to maintain only fewer servers as virtualized server are actually the parts of one single server. With virtualization software you can also divvy up the resources of a single server to create several separate virtual environments, often called virtual machines.

 Cloud Computing

In simple definition, cloud computing means accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The fundamental base of this technology is virtualization because one can access data and applications over the internet only when, if there will be availability of them and this can only be achieved with the help of virtualization. This is what the major reason of differences between cloud computing and virtualization.

Now when it is about the benefits of cloud computing, then there are a lot. One of the major benefits is that cloud computing offers self-service provisioning to business which means that user can spin up computing resources for almost any type of workload according to demand. Elasticity is another benefit of cloud computing services as businesses can easily scale up and scale down their computing needs as the demand increases and decreases. Also, cloud computing resources and their charges are measured at granular level, which allow users to pay for only those resources which they have used. Apart from these, there are many different benefits of using cloud computing technology and these are also the reasons of increasing adaptability of cloud service platforms.

However, the aforementioned explanation is just a brief but the conclusion one can get is that both cloud computing and virtualization technologies operate on one-to-many model and the way they differ is that cloud computing is accessed as a service while virtualization is employed locally.