Cloud Computing vs Virtualization How to Know Which to Choose

Cloud Computing vs. Virtualization How to Know Which to Choose

Figuring out what your computing needs are can seem like a daunting task, but once you do your research and compare products and services it can be quite a relief to find that one perfect product or service that can handle it all.  If you are faced with choosing between virtualization and cloud computing this article will show you the benefits and drawbacks of each to help you see which one may be best for you and/or your business.

What is Cloud Computing?

First let’s start out with cloud computing.  What is cloud computing you ask? Simply put, cloud computing is remote access computing with the only requirement being an internet connection to access the framework and use.  Much like accessing any other website on the internet such as Facebook or checking your email.

Benefits of cloud computing are:

  • It is a secure connection.  You need to be logged in just like any other account you have with any other company.  The security is constantly updated to protect your information.
  • It takes a lot less time to set up than a traditional network of servers, computers, routers, modems, etc.  In most cases even with businesses it may only take a few days to set up.  Personal accounts will take much less time to set up.  Probably only an hour or so.
  • Cloud services have the ability to save businesses and individuals money in a few different ways.  It saves you money due to the fact that you don’t have to pay for technicians to set the system up, you don’t have to purchase any expensive equipment or software, and you do not have to worry about paying the cost to service and run any equipment.
  • Cloud services are flexible.  Cloud services allow you to be able to expand or decrease your service plan as your needs dictate.
  • Cloud services have a seamless integration and you will have the ability to move in and out of the cloud easily.
  • As long as you have a good provider, the services are very reliable.  Most good providers have regular automated backups to ensure data is fully and easily recoverable.
  • ZERO MAINTENANCE, you don’t have to worry about having to have, and pay special technicians to maintain your cloud services.  That is done for you by your service provider.
  • Cloud storage is here to stay.  The long term reliability and usability is predicted to continue to grow substantially in the coming years.  Companies and individuals will come to rely on these services.

Disadvantages of cloud computing

Just like anything else, there are disadvantages of cloud computing as well, some of these are:

  • Relying too heavily on the cloud services.  While you or your business may find cloud computing a very safe and reliable service you have to make allowances for things that are solely under your control and not the service company.  For instance an employee that was terminated abruptly.  You are going to want to have a plan to deal with security issues pertaining to this point.  Changing passwords and access permissions before the termination announcement to that employee would be suggested.
  • Service provider dependency.  There is not of yet an easy way to switch service providers without having major time and expense issues.  It is not like moving one website to another via data base transfer, the company if they decide they need to switch providers would have a very hard time downloading, storing, and then re-uploading all the information and applications to another provider.  Make sure the one you purchase from can meet your needs not just for now, but in the future before you sign up.
  • Possible loss of data with upgrading your plan.  Even though this issue is not going to be a problem in the future, it is a problem now.  Some companies have had issues with expanding their services.  The main issue is loss of data from the data transfer to other servers.  Be vigilant and make sure you have a back up before you upgrade your services.
  • Integration with your local equipment, printers for example can be a challenge.  Make sure your service provider is compatible with all of your local equipment.

What is Virtualization

Virtualization is similar to cloud computing with one major difference.  The storage and control structures are not on the internet.  Virtualization is set up in the building of the business.  The individual computers are all connected to a main network port/server that controls the entire system.  All computers on the virtualization network run applications from the central hub.  They log in just like with the cloud services, but they are logging into a server that is located in the building and controlled by their technicians.

Benefits of Virtualization

  • It reduces the administration operating costs due to the fact that all necessary updates, problem solving, and technical issues can be taken care of and controlled at the central hub (Data Center).
  • Less down time.  When there is an issue the in house technicians can immediately have access to the data center to correct the issues.
  • All back ups are simplified.  These can include desktops, laptops, and other client access devices even company cell phones.  Everything can be backed up from one location at an automatic schedule or manually as long as the devices are on the network.
  • Enhanced security, virtualization networks can be configured with thin clients that protect from unauthorized access.  Data cannot be copied from any device onto a disk of any type.  This protects the companies intellectual property.
  • Easier management and monitoring of the system is another great bennefit.  Technicians can see what is being processed and accessed and who accessing it.

Disadvantages of Virtualization

  • Physical Failures are one of the major disadvantages of virtualization.  You can do a number of things to protect your information from server failure.  One of which is to have a constant virtual backup. The other is to have more servers ready to take over if a problem should occur.  These choices however will cost more time and money to do.
  • Slower response times.  Just like your personal computer, when there are many widows and/or applications running at the same time it slow down your computer’s ability to run each process.  The same theory applies to servers.  The more people and processes there are using the system the slower the system will be.
  •  More difficult and time consuming to implement.  It takes more time and more resources to set up and maintain a system virtualization.  You need more equipment, technicians, and services such as electricity to operate the system effectively.
  • Not easily scalable.  You will need to purchase more and more equipment the bigger your company gets and you will also need to employ more technicians to operate and service the systems and equipment.
  • In order to complete some tasks you will have to purchase more software.  Basic virtualization software does not include software and applications that your company may need in order to function.  Costs for such software will have to be taken into account within the company’s budget.

All in all, both Cloud Services and Virtualization are great choices for businesses that are looking for solutions to help their company and employees to be more efficient and secure.  Which one your business chooses should be based on your company’s needs, not strictly by what the hype is in the media?  Look for solutions that best serve your company, employees, and budget.

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