What Is Virtualization?

When talking about cloud computing, we first need to understand what virtualization is as it is one of the main concepts behind cloud computing.

What is virtualization?

In cloud computing, virtualization refers to hardware virtualization, which means to create virtual machines within an operating system (OS).

Why use virtualization?

Normally when we run an OS, we need to run each OS on a dedicated physical server. If we need to run more than one operating system simultaneously, we need multiple servers to run all of them, because one physical server is required per one operating system. This means that running multiple operating systems is an expensive endeavor. You not only need to buy a lot of physical servers, you would also need to spend more on the operations and maintenance (O&M) of these servers.

physical machines

Now, you have better option – virtualization.
Virtualization allows you to separate the operating system from the underlying hardware, which means you can run multiple operating systems such as Windows and Linux, at the same on a single physical machine. These operating systems are called guest OSes (operating systems). Virtualization allows you to save money and time.

virtual machines

Benefits of virtualization

  • Flexibility: Running multiple operating systems simultaneously on the same hardware
  • Agility: Moving operating systems the same way you can move a file or a picture from one physical server to another physical server.
  • Fault tolerance: When a physical server fails, management software automaticlaly migrates instances to available servers so quickly that you don’t even realize the physical hardware has failed.
  • Cost efficiency: You need less physical servers and pay less for your power bill, operations, and maintenance.

How does virtualization work?

Physical server hardware is of course still required, but instead of directly installing an operating system on that hardware, we instead install a piece of software called a hypervisor, which allows us split one physical system into many distinct and isolated virtual environments called virtual machines.

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