Virtualization is software which allows companies to, essentially, do more with less equipment through the utilization of certain software within their servers. If you’ve ever divided your hard drive into different partitions for whatever reason – this is a form of virtualization. In creating the different partitions, virtual versions were created, hence the virtualization of your hard drive. Essentially, there are three main versions of virtualization: server, storage and network.
A growing phenomena of the internet is cloud computing. If you do anything with the internet, odds are you cloud compute, whether you know it or not. From editing documents with Google docs to cropping and sharing pictures on Flicker to filing taxes on TaxAct … it’s all cloud computing. If you store any information in a web-based program for retrieval at a later date, you’re cloud computing. Another example of cloud computing is paying for offsite data storage.
Now, which is best for your personal or business needs? I will not assume that responsibility for you, that’s on you. What this article will do is help you know the differences between the two, better educating you. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering which data storage option is best:
Access: To have or to want, that is the question. Though cloud computing has its obvious benefits, accessibility is not always one of them. Sure, it would be great to be able to pick up and leave for an impromptu week off, knowing you can access any and all information needed without dropping any of the balls constantly being juggled. Unfortunately, access can, from time to time, be an issue, especially with busy servers and crazy internet traffic. But then again, on site servers get busy from time to time too, don’t they?
Security: In this day and age, especially with the scare of 9/11, security is a big issue for most people. Your data, whether stored onsite behind firewalls or offsite at pay-as-you-go data storage facilities, is always susceptible to attacks from hackers wanting what you have. The question is whose security do you trust more?
Reliability: As with any mechanic will tell you, your vehicle is only as reliable as your diligence to the maintenance and upkeep. The same holds true with electronics. If you do decide to keep your IT department onsite as opposed to in the clouds, remember, maintenance is a key factor. With maintenance comes the cost of maintenance. With cloud computing you don’t have to worry about the cost of maintaining your hardware.
Cost: With virtualization you pay for the servers, the equipment and IT staff. With cloud computing, you pay a monthly fee commiserate with the size of storage needed. Obviously, the more storage needed the higher monthly fee, but you won’t have the large cost of purchasing the equipment yourself.
So what will it be for you; will you virtualize or cloud compute?