People often get the terms “virtualization” and “cloud computing” confused, believing that they can be used interchangeably when, in fact, they are diametrically opposed.
Virtualization tricks your software into believing that it’s running on a real server, network or storage that is actually there, but it’s not: it’s virtualized. Essentially we are hiding the infrastructure from software, which allows software to believe that nothing is changing even if we move the ‘server’ to a new machine or new location. Portable and easy to get running on new hardware.
Cloud computing is the exact opposite. A real public or private cloud richly exposes the infrastructure to the application which is not only infrastructure-aware; it is dependent on its interactions with the infrastructure. This allows companies to turn off resources when they’re not using them and add additional resources when required, basically making a server more powerful when needed.
The PR teams will tell you Cloud Computing is the way to go, the destination and ultimate goal of business computing. Complete horse crap. It’s probably the next ‘leaky condo’ with more central points of failure than any system in existence (because you need to connect to it the entire path is vulnerable from failure).
Cloud computing and data storage bind client to the service providers like nothing else the monthly fees are reasonable on a per user basis but company wide they can become onerous without offering any local hardware maintenance (which is often the largest cost). One special consideration for Canadian customer is you are not allowed to have any government communication or documents leave the country, which mean even GMail violates government contracts let alone files on the cloud.