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Disadvantages of virtualization in cloud computing

Originally posted on techrepublic.

Cloud virtualization can support organizations’ digital operations, but it has drawbacks. Here are some of its disadvantages and use cases.

Virtualization in cloud computing can reduce the resources and costs involved in running operating systems, making it easier to test applications in multiple environments. As more organizations adopt cloud computing technologies, virtualization has become a favorable method for digital transformation.

According to a recent report from IndustryARC, the cloud computing market size in 2020 is estimated at $283 billion and is expected to continue to grow at a CAGR of 12.8% during the forecast period 2021-2026.

The ongoing popularization of virtualization software for cloud computing is fueled by positive aspects like increased flexibility, energy efficiency and improved uptime. But while virtualization may have its perks, there are downsides to the technology that makes some developers hesitant to take this approach for their cloud computing.

What is cloud computing virtualization?

Virtualization in cloud computing describes the utilization of software solutions to run multiple operating systems on an abstraction layer. The software takes operating systems that are disjointed from their underlying hardware and creates virtual machines acting as stand-alone computers. This makes it possible for users to run these systems on the abstraction layer simultaneously on one physical server.

Drawbacks to virtualization

The use of virtualization software is still an imperfect strategy in cloud computing that comes with its fair share of drawbacks. Below are some aspects of virtualization that could still use improvement.


While some may view virtualization as cost-effective, implementing virtualization software can be expensive. This is because virtualization involves upfront costs that are required for the acquisition of the software and hardware that the process relies upon.

Purchasing new tools for virtualization may be more burdensome for some organizations than others, depending on the resources they already have access to within the existing network. While virtualization can save your organization costs in the future, the price of servers and software licenses necessary to make this transition is a hefty investment, especially for smaller businesses.


Not all software solutions have adapted to virtualization yet, which means that using virtualization in cloud computing could limit the servers and applications you can utilize.

As vendors are still working toward the adoption of virtualization, software licensing can still pose problems. While this issue is lessening with the growing adoption of virtualization, it is still vital for organizations to inform themselves about how their resource vendors interpret the use of their products in virtualized environments.

Scalability complications

Virtualization can cause complexities in scaling your operations, as each solution that your operations depend upon would need to be available through virtualization cloud computing. The time-consuming task of ensuring the availability of all necessary components may cause some to reconsider this option.

Another consideration involving scalability is that virtualization networks are prone to lagging due to growth, as multiple entities would be relying on the same resources within a network. Therefore, organizations that grow to maintain a more significant presence in the network may cause issues for smaller organizations trying to access these shared resources.

Security risks

Data virtualization software requires users to rely on third-party providers to host their servers that will contain their organizational data. Unfortunately, entrusting third-party solutions with sensitive information can increase the risk of data security breaches, which can be highly damaging to the integrity of an organization.

Another option to protect sensitive data would be to make additional purchases supporting your data security within the virtualized environment. Solutions like security software, insurance and risk monitoring tools could help to ensure the safety of sensitive data but would require these additional expenditures.

Server sprawl

Server sprawl refers to the state of creating too many servers when allocating resources. Creating more servers with virtualization is simple, but managing them is not quite as easy. This means that generating unnecessary servers can cause more stress and difficulty, as users are then required to manage them.

Knowledge requirements

Installing virtualization software and operating within this new infrastructure can be a significant change for users. An organization may need to help its teams to adjust to this transition by using training resources that would likely require effort and expenses to be effective. This could also mean that your organization would need to be able to dedicate the time necessary for learning this skill set.

Virtualization use cases

Making the transition to virtualization in cloud computing can present challenges, but developing a strategic approach toward your virtualization software implementation can reduce some of the complexities and limitations involved in cloud computing virtualization. Though not all servers and software tools are adaptable to virtualization, users can still function with access to virtualized solutions by utilizing a hybrid system.

Some common use cases for cloud computing virtualization include operations requiring content to be divided separately and securely between systems and users. Virtualization enables users to store sensitive content, which is why many organizations that handle highly private data choose to protect it by using virtualization technology. It can also make it easier to perform fast disaster recovery, as organizations can back up or transfer entire operating systems.

Virtualization supports the cloud streaming process and is likely to gain more traction as organizations continue to transition to digital environments. Maintaining knowledge about the potential risks of virtualization can enable users to operate their virtual environments wisely and solve the difficulties of maintaining cloud computing.

Source: techrepublic

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