Cloud virtualization is the creation of virtual resources (such as servers, storage, networks, and even operating systems) from a single resource of its type. It allows users to disjoint operating systems from the underlying hardware, meaning that you can run multiple operating systems from the same machine simultaneously. Each operating system runs with its own set of resources, meaning that through virtualization each system is isolated. This is important because if one system crashes, it doesn’t automatically take down every other system with it. It is also a more efficient way of allocating resources and reducing costs.
The way that cloud virtualization typically works is that a cloud vendor hosts all the physical resources (the servers, storage, networks and apps as noted above) and manages them on behalf of the client. The client rents individual physical resources (such as laptops for each employee) that can connect to all the systems that are hosted in the cloud.
Cloud virtualization is an extremely efficient, secure solution for small businesses. It allows cloud users to make a financial investment in purchasing or renting the resources they actually need, making it cost-effective even for the smallest of businesses.
Cloud virtualization transforms traditional computing by managing workloads to make them more scalable, efficient, and economical. There are more options than ever before to apply these services to small businesses at an affordable price.
Key Terms and Characteristics of Cloud Virtualization
Understanding the ins and outs of cloud virtualization is a bit like learning a new language, but you don’t have to have a PhD in software engineering to understand the basics. Here are some key terms to know if you are interested in cloud virtualization for your small business.
1. Hypervisor: This is the operating system that performs on actual hardware.
2. Virtual Machine: This is the virtual computer that executes beneath the hypervisor.
3. Virtualization Software: This is the software that assists in deploying virtualization on your computer devices. It can be a piece of the software application package, an operating system, or a specific version of that operating system
4. Virtual Network: This is a separated network inside the server that can be expanded across several servers.
5. Container: This is a light-weighted virtual machine that is a subpart of the same operating system as it’s hypervisor.
Some other key terms to know have to do with the characteristics of virtualization. These can be helpful in expanding your understanding of cloud virtualization, especially when it comes time to interview cloud virtualization companies for your small business.
1. Resource Distribution: This is a single computer or a network of servers that create a unique computer environment for one host machine through virtualization. It can allow you to restrict certain user actions and scale down power consumption.
2. Isolation: This refers to the isolated, self-contained environment on virtual machines. It helps to defend sensitive information while allowing guest users to stay connected.
3. Availability: Using virtualization software provides features that are not typically available from physical servers. These features can increase uptime, availability, and fault tolerance.
4. Aggregation: This is where virtualization allows devices to split resources from a single piece of hardware. It also uses cluster management software to connect a group of computers or servers to make a unified resource center.
5. Security: Cloud virtualization prevents interruption of services by balancing load automatically across multiple host machines.
Types of Cloud Virtualization
There are a few different options for cloud virtualization and you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach. You can create a custom package of cloud virtualization options that work for your small business now, keeping in mind that you can always scale up or down based on your changing needs.
1. Server Virtualization: This divides your physical server into multiple virtual servers so that resources can be utilized more efficiently. Virtualization masks server resources (processors, memory, operating systems, etc.) and provides the user with a private virtual server. This type of virtualization is used for web servers to reduce the cost of web hosting, for development and testing environments, for simulating private clouds, and for hosting applications that have clustered architecture.
2. Storage Virtualization: This type of virtualization pools your storage devices as a single device. This allows an administrator to create or design storage units in a logical way that makes it easier to archive, backup, recover, and apply data by masking the complexity of the Storage Area Network (SAN.) This creates shared storage more easily, protects your storage so that failure of the host doesn’t compromise your data, and achieves duplication, replication, and disaster recovery far more easily.
3. Operating System Virtualization: This is where the core of your operating system, also referred to as kernel resources, gets shared and allows isolated instances of namespaces to exist. Each of those namespaces run applications on a dedicated set of resources. Kernel resources are the host, while different types of operating systems can run inside them as a container. This works faster than server virtualization as they are autonomous platforms that share the host’s operating system storage funds. They also have libraries of dependence within them. This makes migrating a container very easy.
4. Software Virtualization: This is where the cloud provides a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, where software virtualizations emulate a complete computer system and allow another Operating System (or systems) to run on top of it. The advantage here is that you can reap the benefits of multiple operating systems at the same time on the same device. Replicate that across all your small business devices, and you have a highly functional team with a host of tools at their disposal.
Each of these options offers a specific level of functionality for your small business. You can work with a third-party cloud virtualization provider to create a bespoke package that suits your exact needs.
Benefits of Cloud Virtualization
Everything that you love about working in the cloud is enhanced through cloud virtualization. From top-notch security and expert support, to behind-the-scenes upgrades, third-party virtualization works efficiently so that you can focus on other aspects of running your business. Let’s look at the specific benefits that cloud virtualization provides.
1. Enhanced system performance: Cloud virtualization ensures better efficiency and performance, since virtualization is always applied within existing parts of the system. This aids the system in storing and performing with data that is already in the system. Resources are also allocated faster through virtualization than with physical machines. Faster deployment saves time and allows virtual machines to be spread throughout the organization for easy sorting of resources.
2. Enhanced employee performance: Using cloud virtualization also has the benefit of improving employee performance and uptime. Since their work can be managed, developed, and shared online, they can work efficiently from anywhere. Because the cloud is remote, your team can continue to perform at a high level regardless of location, meaning that you can continue to offer remote work options to your employees without worrying about security or workflow interruptions. Fewer servers onsite also mean that your IT person or team are available to manage other issues and needs that arise. This is especially helpful if you have a single IT person that has to wear a lot of hats, or you are a very small business that doesn’t have a full-time IT person at all.
3. Security: Working with a third-party system gives you access to the best cybersecurity systems and technology available, deployed by experts in that field. All your security needs will be provided for and managed behind the scenes, giving you more time and energy to focus on the day-to-day and long-term needs of your growing business. With cloud virtualization, your data and networks will be protected with firewalls, end to end encryption, and backups as mentioned.
Virtual machines are logically separated, meaning that a malware attack on one virtual machine will not cascade or cause a ripple effect to infect your other virtual machines. You’ll also benefit from having experts manage all aspects of your cybersecurity needs.
4. Ongoing support: Your service provider will manage software updates, upgrades, and backups in a timely manner, allowing you to put your time and resources towards managing other aspects of your business. They’ll be available for support calls if you run into any issues or want to talk about enhancing your cybersecurity.
5. Cost-effective: With hardware virtualized, you’ll save money by not needing to constantly be purchasing new hardware due to wear and tear or damage. Working with third-party vendors means that you’ll know the costs of infrastructure and ongoing support up-front. You’ll only need to pay extra when you decide that additional storage is needed. This can help you better balance your budget and plan ahead to ensure that you have the finances needed when you are ready to upgrade.
You’ll also save money because cloud virtualization is more energy efficient for your small business. Without physical servers onsite, you won’t be paying high electricity costs in order to run and cool your servers. Through virtualization, you can integrate multiple virtual servers from one physical server, giving you more power in less space. This also reduces your carbon footprint, a value that is becoming increasingly important to consumers.
6. Backups and data recovery: Virtualization provides better backups than physical machines. It is more reliable and can recover data more quickly, when the need arises. It will also ease the stress of disaster recovery, since you will be able to access your backups immediately. You don’t have to wait to recover or replace a physical machine, and your customers will also not experience any downtime in your services. Through virtualization, you can get your servers online in a matter of hours, rather than days.
7. Scalable services: Cloud virtualization allows a high level of customization and scalability. This means that no matter how big or fast your business grows, you will have the resources you need every step of the way. You have more options than ever through cloud virtualization to fit the needs of your small business.
8. Easy data transfer: Using virtual servers, data can be retrieved and transferred easily. There are no limits to the amount of data you transfer, and recovering data from within the cloud is much easier than searching for it in your hard drives. Virtualization gives you access to live migration, where you can move information from one server to another in real time. This means that downtime due to migration is reduced to a matter of seconds, allowing you to avoid service interruptions for your clients.
9. Eliminate system failure: Cloud virtualization protects itself from failure by using multiple servers. This means that even if one server has a system failure, your data is still retrievable from another and perhaps even multiple servers.
Cloud virtualization offers efficiency, scalability, and high-level cybersecurity at affordable prices for even the smallest businesses. Whether you are new to the idea of cloud services, or you’ve deployed some cloud systems for your small business and want to know other ways that it can serve you, Tech Masters can assess your needs and provide recommendations. Schedule a free assessment to get started.
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