How are virtualization and cloud computing related?
Charles Babcock has written an insightful article on the InformationWeek virtualization blog that highlights how virtualization is a foundational pillar for cloud computing. I have paraphrased it below:
“The cloud infrastructure is an abstracted, fabric-based infrastructure that enables dynamic movement, growth and protection of services that are billed based on usage.” … “In the cloud, bits, bytes, and cycles are transparent.”
… Smith and Pieravi’s presentation cites three stages of virtualization ….
Stage one is server consolidation through virtualization in the data center, along with virtualization of software development and testing. This stage already has taken place at many enterprises,
… in 2008 we entered stage two, where implementation of virtualization leads to flexible resource management, juggling virtual machine operation through the day for dynamic load balancing, high availability, and disaster recovery.
Stage three will begin in 2012, and … will take advantage of the virtualization skills gained in stages one and two. By knowing how to build and store virtual machines or design them from templates, IT managers will build virtual machines and send them over the wire to run in the cloud. The cloud might be either inside or outside the enterprise, it doesn’t matter, as long as the application and its operating system arrives in the correct virtual machine format for the target cloud.
In other words, VMware’s Life Cycle Manager and VMotion, Vizioncore’s VConverter, Fortisphere’s Virtual Essentials, and other tools for generating, converting, and moving virtual machines around are the precursors to exporting virtual machines into the cloud.
Developers like me are sharing VM’s today using USB keys or drives between neighboring machines. We use Windows network shares and nfs-mounted disks when we want to share VM’s between members of our team. In the production environment, my IT colleagues use several other tools as have been documented in our blog earlier:
- scp, VSS for Windows VHD backup, disaster recovery
- rsync vm, vhd for backup, disaster recovery, ec2
- Using a USB drive to store & run virtual machines
- How to transfer Virtual Images between machines?
Watch this space for the launch of sharevm’s tools in early 2009 that will accelrate the convergence of virtualization and cloud computing.