Maybe not so common as one might expect.
At last year’s VMWorld, Microsoft’s Corporate VP Brad Anderson raised a few eyebrows when he stated, in no uncertain terms that “Virtualization is not cloud computing.” Journalists whipped themselves into a frenzy over what he said. Trouble is…he was right. They aren’t the same thing, and it seems not as many people understand that as should.
Virtualization has very little to do with cloud computing. It is, at its core, a tool for system administrators, designed to run multiple systems off of one piece of hardware. While this is often done through a network connection, the Internet is not strictly necessary for virtualization to exist.
Cloud Computing requires access to the Internet, and involves accessing applications and/or data stored in a non-local environment. Particularly in the data center, we see virtualization run through the cloud fairly often, but the latter isn’t strictly necessary for the former to exist. The difference between the two lies in connectivity, and the fact that the cloud is frequently utilized to virtualize servers or hardware.
It’s easy to see why the two so often get mixed up, truth be told – there’s a lot of similarities to be found, and the nature of the cloud is such that it’s often leveraged to provide virtualized solutions to customers and clients – this forms the basis of the SaaS market, which is inextricably bound up in the cloud.
Now that we’ve defined the two, let’s have a look at how they interact in the data center.
If used correctly, both the cloud and virtualization can vastly simplify the operation of a data center, reducing costs across the board and making everyone’s job far, far simpler than it would be otherwise. The same goes for mobility. The power of these three tools, when used together and utilized correctly, is downright unprecedented.
So why, then, do they seem to be causing so much trouble in the data market?
One of the issues we looked at in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post was the fact that a number of emerging technologies are making the management of a data center far more complicated than it used to be – at least, according to almost 80% of the respondents in Symantec’s survey. Many businesses – too many, if you ask me – are dealing with cumbersome, difficult-to-manage data centers, the intricacy of which is owed almost entirely to the massive flood of business apps and mobile devices.
Why is this so? Aren’t all these solutions supposed to make data center management easier?
Brian Dye, Vice President of Symantec’s Information Intelligence Group, shed a bit of light on the issue. “As today’s businesses generate more information and introduce new technologies into the data center,” said Dye, “these changes can act as either a sail to catch the wind and accelerate growth, or an anchor holding organizations back. The difference is up to the businesses, which can meet the challenges head on by implementing controls such as standardization or establishing an information governance strategy to keep information from becoming a liability.”
So, basically, the word of the day is organization. Both virtualization and the cloud provide powerful and useful opportunities within the space of the data center, but only if they’re implemented correctly. Otherwise, you might well be better off without.