What is Virtualization in Cloud Computing and How it Works

What is Virtualization in Cloud Computing and How it Works (with Examples). Virtualization is the process of creating a virtual version of a computing resource. Well the virtualization in cloud computing allows you to create virtual instances of data centers, physical hardware, or on-premise storage. You can create simulated versions of your network, storage and cloud based servers through virtualization.

Interestingly virtualization enables you to pool resources from hardware into a virtual operating system. It separates the resource from its underlying physical state. This enables you to share a single physical instance of a computing resource among multiple users. 

How Cloud Virtualization Works?

Firstly virtualization and cloud computing work hand in hand to enable businesses to achieve complex levels of computing. In cloud computing, virtualization facilitates the smooth functioning of cloud computing and the creation of virtual machines. Cloud users can create a virtual ecosystem to run multiple operating systems and storage devices.

Secondly the cloud virtualization allows hardware and virtual systems to work together with software tools. It supports the delivery of IaaS solutions for cloud computing. It helps provide networking, memory, and storage for the successful execution of applications.

Importantly the cloud virtualization also enables businesses to run a multi cloud environment. They can pool data from multiple cloud storage platforms i.e. AWS S3, Azure Blob, File Storage, or private cloud and manage it from a single console. This prevents vendor lock in, ensuring businesses can operate optimally in the event of a disaster.

How it applies in Cloud Computing ?

Virtualization uses software to replicate or segment items in a hardware device. The virtualization software makes an abstraction layer across computer hardware. This allows the hardware components to be segmented into virtual elements known as virtual machines. So the virtualization software can create a virtual version of the physical device, storage or network system.

Examples of Virtualization in Cloud Computing

Hypervisors are the best example of virtualization computing. They enable cloud users to allocate physical hardware to virtual machines. With hypervisors they are helpful in desktop virtualization, server consolidation and data replication, among other tasks.

It can be hard to manage multiple servers running on different operating systems. A hypervisor lets you virtualize the servers and manage them efficiently from a central location. You can install hypervisors directly to the hardware or as a layer on the operating system.

Some of the top hypervisors that provide virtualization for cloud computing include:

VMware vSphere

VMWare’s vSphere server virtualization platform helps manage virtual machines at scale. vSphere acts as a virtualized data center platform that enables IT to organize application workloads in the most effective computing resources. The VMware also offers solutions for desktop, storage, and network virtualization. These include VMware Fusion, Workstation, ESXi Hypervisor, and VirtualBox.


Hyper-V is a hypervisor designed for use on Windows systems. Designed by Microsoft, Hyper-V enables Microsoft Windows users to run the application without installing the Windows server. Advantage of Hyper-V is that it allows you to create a software version known as a virtual machine. Through the virtual machine, you can run the operating system and other programs.

Citrix XenServer

Citrix XenServer provides desktop and application virtualization solutions for companies that want to provide data access to employees for remote working. It supports both Windows and Linux operating systems. With Citrix XenServer, you can simplify your IT by providing secure access to data and apps that employees need for remote working and productivity.

Types of Virtualization

There are six main types of virtualization in cloud computing:

  • Application Virtualization.
  • Server Virtualization.
  • Network Virtualization.
  • Desktop Virtualization.
  • Storage virtualization.
  • Data Virtualization.

Below is an in depth analysis of each type of virtualization:

Application Virtualization

This virtualization involves enveloping an application and separating it from the underlying operating system. Traditionally, an application would require using the existing operating system and available hardware resources to run. Additional benefit of application virtualization enables users to have remote access to server applications. You don’t have to install the application onto a native device for access.

With application virtualization, the admin installs the applications onto a server. Anyone who accesses the server can run the application as if it was installed on their devices. This way, you can run multiple instances of the application.

Server Virtualization

Undoubtedly server virtualization eliminates the bottlenecks that come with physical servers. Each physical server is dedicated to a single task or application. This leads to inefficiency problems, as each server uses only a fraction of the available processing resources.

The aid of server virtualization enables cloud users to convert a server into multiple virtual machines. The virtual machines act as physical devices utilizing server resources. This way, you can allocate the server’s processing capabilities according to your needs.

Network Virtualization

Equally network virtualization is the creation of a virtual network by combining multiple network resources into a single software-based network. It can also divide a single physical network into separate, independent virtual networks.

Desktop Virtualization

This is the process of creating a virtual desktop hosted on a centralized data center. It is the process of simulating a workstation so you can access it remotely. It allows you to abstract the desktop in such a way that multiple users can work remotely using any device and access enterprise resources.

Most enterprises with a remote workforce leverage desktop virtualization to provide employees data access. Basically the virtual desktops run on simulated servers that execute Virtual Machines.

Storage Virtualization

Storage Virtualization involves pooling data from different physical storage using software into a single virtual storage. This process helps manage data from multiple resources in a single repository. It allows you to manage data and maintain steady performance regardless of the underlying hardware issues.

Data Virtualization

Also the Data Virtualization enables organizations to centrally manage data sources such as CRM data, Excel files, analytic reports, etc. This provides a holistic view of the data from a single dashboard. Data virtualization works by separating data from its underlying logic. You can collectively view heterogeneous data sets via a single interface.

Benefits of Virtualization in Cloud Computing

Certainly virtualization is a crucial technology that enables businesses to use their storage devices, operating systems, and servers better. Some of the benefits of virtualization in cloud computing include:

Flexible Data Transfer

With Virtualization, you can transfer data to virtual servers at any time. Also, it saves valuable time. You don’t have to waste valuable time discovering data or searching out through drives. It allows you to allocate data to trusted users. With no limit to data transfer, you can share data across large distances with minimal charges.

Reduced Risk of System Failure

Most physical and on-premise systems are prone to failure. Something in the physical data center can malfunction, causing operation downtime. Moreover Virtualization helps manage these systems and cushion your organization from downtime interruptions.

Multiple users can also perform multiple tasks at a time. Thirdly virtualization enables seamless data access that is essential for remote working.

Easier Data Management

Managing data stored on multiple devices is a headache. You have to recover disks and drives all the time. This leads to improper data management and underutilization of company data.

Basically the storage virtualization brings data management to a single console. This way, a single person can manage enterprise-level data with much ease.

Reduced Computing Costs

Another benefit of virtualization reduces the costs of running physical servers and hardware. Since all the data is stored in a virtual server, you incur fewer costs. It also reduces overhead costs such as electricity bills and maintenance costs. A company running on virtualized servers incurs fewer costs than one running on-premise servers.


This model allows for the scalability of computing resources. It enables you to scale their applications and storage according to your needs. When you virtualize your resources, you can scale up to meet demand or scale down upon reduction of computing needs.

Cons of Virtualization

Here are some downsides of virtualization in cloud computing:

  • It doesn’t eliminate security risks.
  • Creates more links to data access.
  • Some areas cannot be virtualized easily.

Virtualization in Cloud Computing and How it Works Conclusion

Virtualization in cloud computing is a powerful technology that allows you to create virtual instances of physical resources. You can virtualize your data, storage, operating system, desktop, server, or network and manage your IT environment intuitively.

Read our blog for more cloud virtualization content!

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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