Virtualisation vs. Cloud Computing: Understanding the Difference

Over the last few years, a diverse wave of methods has arisen to streamline IT services and ensure that businesses can make the most of the new digital environment. Of course, many business owners have understandably found it a little hard to keep up with each development, and even the terms that you’ve heard about are often poorly understood outside of the IT community.

One of the most common misunderstandings is the difference between cloud computing and virtualisation. It’s easy to understand why this has happened; the two technologies are very similar, and virtualisation is actually a key process of cloud computing, but these terms do not refer to the same thing.

It’s easier to understand the difference after you grasp exactly what virtualisation is. Essentially, virtualisation software allows your hardware to run more efficiently. Virtualisation separates the same physical infrastructure up to let it run different operating systems or run multiple applications at the same time, which drastically cuts down on the amount of wasted space. Think of a server like a football field-sized room occupied by a single person. That’s a lot of space that isn’t being used. Virtualisation would separate that space into lots of different rooms that could be used by lots of different people at once.

So, virtualisation is software that runs on your hardware, but how does that differ from cloud computing?

The best way to understand cloud computing is as a service that uses virtualisation. When you migrate to the cloud, you’re basically taking your data off-site, usually to a large data centre. This means that everything is stored and backed up without the need for you to keep any actual servers. However, cloud computing depends on virtualisation. Without virtualisation to separate up the servers in a data centre, it would be very hard to split up those resources and make the process cost-effective.

If you’re still unsure about the difference between virtualisation and cloud computing, or if you’re not sure which option would be the best fit for your business, try contacting a specialist in both processes to advise you further.