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The Power of Virtualization in Cloud Computing

July 7, 2023
Giulia Borgoni

In the digital era we live in, cloud computing has revolutionized the management and processing of enterprise data. At the heart of this transformation lies virtualization, a process that enables more efficient utilization of physical computer hardware. Virtualization uses software to create a layer of abstraction over the hardware, allowing the hardware components of a single computer - processors, memory, storage, and more - to be divided into multiple virtual computers commonly known as virtual machines (VMs). Each virtual machine runs its own operating system and functions as an independent computer, even though it is running on a portion of the underlying physical computer hardware.

The use of virtualization in cloud computing:

Today, virtualization has become a standard practice in enterprise IT architecture and is the underlying technology driving the cloud computing economy. Through virtualization, cloud providers can meet users' needs with their existing physical computer hardware. Additionally, it enables cloud users to purchase only the computing services they need, when they need them, allowing them to efficiently scale resources in terms of costs as their workloads grow.

How server virtualization works in cloud computing:

Server virtualization in cloud computing involves partitioning physical servers into multiple virtual servers. Each virtual server runs its own operating system and applications within the virtualized system using special software called a Virtual Machine (VM). This VM takes charge of the physical server hardware, dividing the resources among the different virtualized servers and isolating them from one another. This approach simplifies and makes workload management more dynamic.

Categories of virtualization:

When discussing virtualization, it's important to divide the topic into three main categories:

  1. Hypervisor: The hypervisor, also known as a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM), is the most crucial component of a virtualized system. It handles the control and supervision of all installed virtual servers, managing any I/O issues or hardware request overloads. The hypervisor acts as a control tool between the virtual operating systems and the hardware.
  2. Paravirtualization: This approach differs from traditional virtualization. Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are "mounted" on the hardware through a resource-sharing system. However, in case of critical situations, there might be an impact on the entire cloud server and the paravirtualized environments within it.
  3. Full virtualization: In full virtualization, individual instances or VPS are mounted on dedicated virtual hardware. Each virtual server in the cloud has its own resources available, and in case of critical situations, only the affected VPS would be impacted.

Virtualization represents a fundamental pillar in the field of cloud computing. Through this technology, companies can make the most of available hardware, reducing costs and ensuring dynamic and efficient workload management. Server virtualization in cloud computing offers numerous advantages, including resource scalability, optimization of hardware utilization, and the ability to adapt to changing business needs.