Virtualization in Cloud Computing: A Beginner’s Guide in 6 Easy Steps


Virtualization in cloud computing is defined as a creation of a virtual version of a server, a desktop, a storage device, an operating system, or network resources. It is essentially a technique or method that allows the sharing of a single physical instance of a resource or that of an application amongst multiple organizations or customers. It aids to separate the service from the underlying physical delivery of the service. With the help of this technique, multiple operating systems and applications can run on the same machine and hardware subsequently. 

  1. The process of Virtualization in cloud computing
  2. Virtualization architecture
  3. Characteristics of Virtualization 
  4. Types of virtualization 
  5. Benefits of virtualization 
  6. Disadvantages of virtualization

1. The process of Virtualization in cloud computing

Under this process, a sensible name is assigned to physical storage and pointers are provided to that physical source, on demand. In addition to executing applications, the virtualisation technology also provides a virtual environment for memory, networking and storage. The machine on which the virtual machine is built is called the Host Machine and the virtual machine is known as the guest machine. Virtualisation often falls synonymous to Hardware Virtualisation, a process which plays a major role in efficiently and effectively delivering Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) solutions for cloud computing. 

2. Virtualisation architecture

Virtual architecture refers to the conceptual model of virtualisation. Virtualisation is usually hypervisor-based. The hypervisor allows the separation of the operating systems and the applications from the underlying computer hardware, to permit the host machine to run multiple virtual machines as guests that share the system’s physical compute resources. They are of two types:

  1. Type one – these are also called bare-metal hypervisors and they run directly on top of the host system hardware. They offer high availability and resource management. It provided direct access to the system hardware and enables better scalability, stability and performance.
  2. Type two – they are also known as hosted hypervisor and is installed on the top of the host operating system. The guest’s virtual machines or operations systems run above the hypervisor. It helps ease system configuration along with simplifying management tasks. However, the addition of the host operating system can also potentially limit the performance and expose security flaws. 

3. Characteristics of Virtualisation 

  1. Increased Security – virtualisation increases the hosts’ ability to control the execution of guest programs in a transparent manner which helps open up new possibilities to allow the delivery of a secure and controlled execution environment. Virtual manager machines can filter and control the activity of guest programs and thus help in preventing the possibilities of harmful operations being performed,
  2. Sharing – sharing is a key feature of virtualisation as through this process one can create a separate computing environment within the same host. This allows them to reduce the number of active serves and minimises power consumption. Aggregation – while virtualisation allows the sharing of physical resources among several guests, it also makes it possible to perform the opposite, aggregation. Groups of separate hosts can be ties together and be represented to guests as a single virtual host. This feature is used in cluster management software that aims at harnessing the physical resources of a homogeneous group of machines and represent them as one single resource.
  3. Emulation – the execution of guest programs are cone within aa environment that is controlled by the virtualisation layer, which is a program. An entirely different environment can be emulated, concerning the host, thereby allowing the execution of guest programs that require a specific set of characteristics despite them not being present in the physical host. 
  4. Isolation – virtualisation allows providing guest programs with completely separated and isolated environments for them to be executed in, be it an operating system, application =, etc. The program performs its activity by interaction with an abstraction layer that provides access to the underlying resources. The virtual machine filters the activity of the guest and prevents harmful operations against the host. It also enables tuning. Tuning helps finely tune the properties of the resources exposed through the virtual environment, making it easier to control the performance of the guest program. 
  5. Portability – portability has different applications per different types of virtualisation. For Hardware virtualisation solution, the guest is packaged in a virtual image that can be removed safely and be executed on top of different virtual machines. When it comes to programming level virtualisation, the binary code representing application components, also known as jars or assemblies, can run without any recompilation on any implementation of the corresponding virtual machine. 

4. Types of virtualisation 

There are multiple types of virtualization techniques, namely: 

  1. Application Virtualization – this kind of virtualization allows a user to have remote access to an application from a server. All the personal information and other characteristics of the application are stored on the server, but it can still run on a local workstation through the internet. For example, a user that requires to run two different versions of the same software. The technologies that use application virtualization are called hosted applications and packaged applications. 
  2. Network Virtualization – this is the ability to run multiple virtual networks that each have separate control and data plan. They co-exist together on top of a single physical network. It can be managed by individual parties that are potentially unknown to each other. The facility to create and provision virtual networks-routers, logical switches, firewalls, load balancer, a virtual private network (VPN), and workload security within days or even in weeks can be provided by Network Virtualisation. 
  3. Desktop Virtualization – this type of virtualization allows the users OS to be stores on a serves in the data centre, remotely. The user can access their desktop virtually, from anywhere by using a different machine. The users who require specific operating systems, barring windows, will need to have a virtual desktop. Its main benefits are user mobility, easy management of software installation, portability, patches, and updates. 
  4. Storage Virtualization – this virtualization is essentially an expansive set of servers that are managed through a virtual storage system. The servers aren’t aware as to where the data is being stored, instead, they have a worker bee like aloofness and systematic tasks. It makes the managing rage from various sources to be managed and used as a single repository. Through storage virtualization one can continue to maintain smooth operations, steady performance and a continuous retinue of advanced functions despite changes, differences on the underlying equipment and break down. 
  5. Server Virtualization – this type of virtualization spear the computer hardware from the operating system and allows the virtual machine to be treated as a file. It gives the user the ability to adjust their hardware to the present workload. This is called elasticity. It allows the companies to expand their own data centers without having to go through the trouble of buying new hardware. 

5. Benefits of virtualization 

  1. Increases development productivity 
  2. Diminishes the cost of obtaining IT infrastructure 
  3. Provides rapid scalability and remote access. 
  4. More flexible.
  5. Allows the user to run multiple operating systems. 

6. Disadvantages of virtualization 

  1. High-cost implementation.
  2. It also poses a security risk. 
  3. Time intensive. 
  4. Lack of availability.


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