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Cloud Computing

Can Virtualization Help Cloud Computing?

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Earlier in the year I asked, How Different is Cloud Computing from Virtualization, so can virtualization help cloud computing?  If so, how?

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  • I tend to take a more purist approach to the cloud and don't necessarily consider virtualization to be a cloud technology per se, but from the perspective of being a mental "bridge" to help folks make the conceptual leap from traditional IT architectures to cloud-based architecture I think it will definitely help lead many down the path to true cloud computing - i.e. service-oriented, globally distributed, and multi-tenant service delivery.

  • The Cloud without virtualization would have a much lesser value proposition. Virtualization enables efficient multi-tenancy, easy self provisioning and configuration etc.

  • You can't have cloud computing without virtualization, it plays a key role for meeting some of the characteristics of cloud like elasticity and scalability, workload migration and resiliency. However, you can have virtualization without cloud computing.

    Check out this blog post from IBM developerWorks, it has some good intro materials to cloud and some bits on virtualization.


    If you have any questions on Twitter you can reach me @jhodge88

  • Can it help? Certainly. Can it hurt? Absolutely. Virtualization is certainly one of the enabling technologies behind cloud computing but the danger lies in overkill. Not everything that can be virtual should be, and those components that are virtualized still require management that goes much deeper than the rapid provisioning and migration offered by virtualization.

    Virtualization is for deployment, it can't replace good architecture, processes, and operational fu.


  • In my mind, virtualization is an integral part of cloud. First because it abstracts the application from the underlying infrastructure, allowing the workload to be moved around the cloud. Second because elasticity can in practice only truly be achieved with virtualization. Third, to achieve the pricepoints expected in the cloud, CPU usage needs to be maximized, and virtualization is a good way to do that by allowing multiple workloads on the same server.
    High Performance Computing (aka Grid Computing) may wish to avoid virtualization, but is that Cloud? In my mind not, because in HPC environments a small amount of users each use a very large pool of resources, while in Cloud a large amount of users each typically use a small pool of resources....

  • I tend to look at virtualization as a precursor to cloud computing, although obviously, it doesn't necessarily need to be like that. Bad thing is, to masquerade as though it is cloud computing itself.

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