Difference Between Cloud and Virtualization

For the last few months, I have been mentally pre-occupied with cloud computing. I have been trying to understand the OpenStack operating system and its various parts; what do they do and how they work together? Recently, I was mentioned the need to carry out some sort of virtualization for deploying the OpenStack cloud. I was kind of confused by the sneaking in of virtualization in the cloud. To be honest, I did not have a clear idea of what virtualization is all about. Upon contemplating more, I reached a conclusion that the OpenStack should somehow not rely on virtualization. The basis for my idea is that since OpenStack is a completely independent operating system that can be deployed on huge clusters of disparate machines, it should simply not rely on virtualization. What is virtualization by the way? Virtualization is a way to mimic the hardware of a typical computer so as to install different applications on top of it. Basically, it is meant to install different guest operating systems on a machine that is already running a host operating system.

Cloud computing should be totally different in my point of view, and indeed it is. A cloud OS installs itself on multiple machines and the interconnections between the machines come through the various components of the OS. OpenStack literally works like this. It has Nova to get all the networking done between machines so as to deliver a distributed computing environment to the user. The user is oblivious of how things are being stored, computed and communicated on the cluster. It uses each machine on the cluster to carry out the tasks at hand. And you can install a virtual machine on top of the cloud to achieve virtualization in the cloud, so as to be able to run various OSs on the same cloud. The last part is my own understanding, but I can bet a fortune on this idea.

Here is a very nice tutorial about how virtualization and cloud computing are different. And here is a very nice tutorial on deploying OpenStack in some easy ways in your enterprise. Enjoy your cloud.

After having established concepts that OpenStack is different from a virtual machine, it would be nice to talk about Hypervisors a little bit. A hypervisor is a virtual machine manager. It allows multiple virtual machines to run over your host OS, and manages how they’d be run. That OpenStack is actually a Hypervisor is also a myth. The question whether OpenStack would require a Hypervisor is well addressed through the following presentation.

Useful Links:

Here is a list of useful links about OpenStack.

More links are as follows:

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The following article presents some nice ideas, although I believe that some of them are a bit outdated.


Photo by Tony George

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Difference Between Cloud and Virtualization by Psyops Prime is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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