Different Types Of Virtualisation In Cloud Computing

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 August 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Virtualisation is a process that entails separating user interfaces, applications and services from the physical hardware that powers them. It is a very useful technique that has numerous applications in the domain of cloud computing. If you are a professional working in the domain of cloud computing, you may benefit from understanding what this process is and how you can use it to achieve favourable outcomes. In this article, we examine what virtualisation is in the context of cloud computing, explore its benefits and discuss various types of virtualisation processes in cloud computing.

What is virtualisation in cloud computing?

Virtualisation is a process where developers and cloud architects create virtual components to launch and run a web application or user interface, thereby separating it from the physical hardware that is typically required to run and maintain such processes. Cloud architects and developers may use specialised virtualisation software to create virtual computation resources and components that power websites, applications and user interfaces. This procedure offers a range of benefits and enables a computer system with finite hardware resources to process and run many applications and operating systems simultaneously. This significantly improves the utility and flexibility of physical components and resources.

Virtualisation helps reduce costs, save energy and eliminates the need for additional computational hardware, such as physical servers, memory repositories and graphics processing units. It does this by extending the availability of a computational resource or physical component to multiple enterprises or users simultaneously. Each physical component receives a unique name within a logical framework and the virtualisation software issues pointers that enable applications and users to access a resource on a requirement basis.

Read more: What Is Virtualisation? (Definition, Types And Uses)

Different Types Of Virtualisation In Cloud Computing

The different types of virtualisation in cloud computing include application virtualisation, network virtualisation, desktop virtualisation, storage virtualisation, server virtualisation and data virtualisation:

1. Application virtualisation

Through this type of virtualisation, individual users and enterprises can remotely access and operate applications through a server infrastructure. The key parameters and working information pertaining to a virtualised application exists on a server. Users can access this information and utilise an application remotely, through a workstation in their home or office. For example, if you are a graphic designer who wants to use multiple variations of a particular software or application, you can use application virtualisation services to do so.

Some common examples of application virtualisation pertain to packaged and hosted applications. A hosted application refers to a software or a component of a software that executes on a host's computational infrastructure, rather than on-site. Users can access application screens and interact with them, with just an Internet connection. A packaged application typically consists of components which users can compose and customise to achieve specific functionality.

Related: What Is Application Software? (With Definition And Types)

2. Network virtualisation

Through this type of virtualisation, individual users and enterprises can operate and manage several computer networks with dedicated information pipelines and system control mechanisms. Virtualised networks typically connect to a parent network or a physical network and operate parallel to it. This configuration enables individual users to ensure confidentiality of data and processes.

Network virtualisation creates virtualised networks with all the common components of regular physical networks. This includes firewalls, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), routers, switches and load balancers. Virtualisation also speeds up the process of setting up computer networks, as it does not require purchasing and assembling physical components.

Related: Top 50 Network Interview Questions And Answers

3. Desktop virtualisation

In this type of virtualisation, a central computational unit or server stores and maintains the information, applications and the operating systems of individual users and enterprises. This enables users to access their computer system and modify its contents remotely, through any external computer system. This configuration offers several benefits in addition to easy remote access for users. It favours professionals who work on portable systems and makes it easy to update and install software and operating systems on-the-go.

For example, professional video editing workflows typically require a large amount of computational power, which desktop computers can provide. If you are a professional video editor who has to travel for work, you can benefit greatly from virtualising your desktop. You may just carry a laptop or a netbook on your travels and access your primary system from any place with an Internet connection. The primary system can house all your heavy files and software components, and provide you with the computational power required for video editing workflows.

4. Storage virtualisation

Through this type of virtualisation, individual users and enterprises can utilise virtual storage infrastructure to store and maintain their data and files. The infrastructure involved in storage virtualisation consists of two primary components, namely storage modules and servers. The storage modules house information pertaining to multiple users simultaneously and the servers help manage information storage and retrieval mechanisms, and address user requests. Storage virtualisation significantly enhances efficiency in data storage and data security for enterprises, as the storage infrastructure is de-centralised.

Related: All You Need To Know About Data Warehouse Architecture

5. Server virtualisation

This type of virtualisation involves making server-side infrastructure and resources ambiguous, for increased security and privacy. The virtualisation procedure in this process compartmentalises a physical server into multiple virtual or cloud-based servers. Each compartment or component may have a unique identification code and characteristics. For example, different virtual servers which compose a physical server may all have different operating systems. This virtualisation solution greatly reduces operational costs and boosts efficiency. It can also help reduce the consumption of energy, since it requires only a single operational physical server to function.

Related: 6 Apache Server Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

6. Data virtualisation

In this type of virtualisation, data pertaining to multiple stakeholders like enterprises or users consolidates at a single physical location from which individual users can access it independently. Cloud-based data hosting services enable individuals and businesses to access their data remotely from anywhere using an Internet connection. Some examples of companies that provide data virtualisation services on a large scale include IBM and the Oracle Corporation. Most such services which have the potential to scale significantly target enterprises, as opposed to individual users.

Data virtualisation has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency of processes and reduce operational costs related to procuring, maintaining and managing data storage infrastructure. Virtualisation involves the creation of data pointers, which act as records of the location of data volumes. Utility of this technology revolves around the application of pointers to locate and access different data volumes. This eliminates the need for storing the entirety of a database on-site, as users can access data if they have access to individual data pointers.

Related: 13 Examples Of Useful Data Virtualisation Tools

What Are The Benefits Of Virtualisation?

Virtualisation offers enterprises and individual users a range of benefits. Some prominent benefits include:

  • Efficiency and flexibility in resource allocation: Since applications and user interfaces do not require physical resources to operate and function, a virtualised computing environment typically offers more flexibility and enhances the efficiency of processes.

  • Improved productivity: Virtualisation enables multiple stakeholders and users to utilise the same physical resources simultaneously, and this typically contributes to an increase in productivity.

  • Reduced expenditure: Without virtualisation, users and enterprises may spend large amounts of money to procure hardware solutions to meet their computational requirements.

  • Remote access: Users can utilise virtualised resources on-the-go and access solutions remotely, as they operate separate from the physical computational infrastructure.

  • Enhanced scalability: Most virtualisation platforms allow users to scale their applications and operations rapidly, without incurring substantial hardware-related costs.

  • Efficient data recovery: In case of loss of data, virtualisation offers users several options using which they can recover the lost data efficiently.

  • Monetisation: Enterprises who capitalise on providing virtualisation solutions can generate income by charging a reasonable fee from users for utilising physical resources through a virtualisation platform.

  • Choice of operating systems: Virtualisation can allows users to choose from multiple operating systems running on the same computer hardware resources.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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