Virtualization and Cloud Storage: What’s the Difference?


If we had to pinpoint two of  biggest trends for 2011, which we expect to continue and expand in 2012, it would be virtualization and cloud storage. 

If you’re new to the IT world, or are responsible for managing an IT staff but don’t know much about it yourself, the two terms may confuse you. Some people mistakenly use the words interchangably, but they’re not the same thing at all.

Defining Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is simply storage “in the cloud,” or via the Internet. When you put your data in the cloud, though, it still resides on a server somewhere. Cloud storage is considered one of the safest forms of data storage, since your data is protected off-site, housed on servers with much better security and better protection against natural disasters, shock or power surges, than most individuals can provide.

However, data “in the cloud,” is still on someone’s server. And no storage media is completely secure or safe from failure. Make sure to keep back-ups of your data in another format, just in case your data becomes inaccessible for any reason. 

Defining Virtualization

Virtualization is something else entirely, and has little do with the Internet — although you can certainly have a virtual machine using cloud storage. When you have a virtual machine, you (or, more accurately, your IT staff) create a separate Operating System, or multiple Operating Systems, on one server. It’s like a machine within a machine. Virtualization improves storage capacity and processing speeds. You can click here to read more about virtualization and its benefits. 

However, if your VMware machine should crash, it requires experts in data recovery to navigate the complicated landscape of a virtual machine and recover your mission critical data.

We hope we’ve cleared up some confusion regarding these two common IT terms; we know you’ll be hearing a lot more about them in 2012.

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