Cloud computing and virtualization are not the same. They are complementary technologies. While the Cloud makes the access to the virtual machines simpler, virtualization extends and optimizes the resource use in the Cloud.

Fundamentally, Cloud configurations transform computing into a utility and virtualization is subsumed by it, to be delivered as one of the services in the Cloud. This does not preclude the possibility that the enterprise road map is virtualization to Cloud computing.  Expansion of Virtualization for accelerated automation and reduction in operational expenses automatically leads to construction of private Clouds or hybrid Clouds or even public Clouds. 

Gartner, in its research report   titled “The RoadMap: From Virtualization to Cloud Computing”[1], has   a lot to say on how virtualization and Cloud computing go hand in hand and   how one may ultimately lead to the emergence of the other. They key findings   and recommendations of their study are quoted below verbatim:

Key   Findings:

  •   “Virtualization   should not be seen as just a consideration or cost-savings project, but also   as the beginning of a road map that provides an on-ramp to Cloud computing.
  •   Most   organizations will implement a hybrid of on-premises and public Cloud based   computing infrastructures.

Recommendations:

  •   Enterprises   pursing virtualization should have an overall strategic plan for Cloud   computing ad a road map for the future, and should plan proactively.
  •   Enterprises   must focus on management and process change to manage virtual resources, and   to manage the speed that virtualization enables, to avoid virtualization   sprawl.
  •   Private   Cloud should be designed with interoperability and hybrid Cloud computing in   mind.”

They conclude that virtualization   is an “entry point” for a long drawn “evolution that will lead to private and   public Cloud computing”. This will lead to changes in “technology   architectures, management tools, operational processes, customer   relationships, funding models…”

Experiential survey data indicates that organizations that have adopted Cloud computing with virtualization are reaping a rich harvest of scalable computing power with extended reach. The virtualization architecture in the Cloud brings in its wake a flexibility that allows organizations allocate resources where they are most needed. High availability is a given. Disaster recovery becomes simpler and more cost effective. IT administrators suddenly find that they have the capability of quickly and efficiently deploying and managing a large number of computing devices from a single pane of glass. Users enjoy quality computing experiences.

[1] - Research link source: http://bit.ly/11Gdr9T