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Virtualization versus the Cloud

If you’re not sure what virtual computing or cloud computing is, here is a good explanation from Lee Gomes at Forbes.
“It used to be that something virtual wasn’t real. And that clouds were just that–those puffy things in the sky. Today we have the tech industry terms “virtual computing” and “cloud computing,” which often get mixed up. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to tell them apart, and it involves hearkening back to the age-old distinction between hardware and software. When you’re talking about virtual computing, you’re invariably talking about hardware; specifically, making PC-style hardware available to users in a new way. A new layer of software, typically running in a far-off data center, tricks users into thinking they are using a desktop PC like before.
Cloud computing, by contrast, usually refers to the sorts of software that run once a computer gets turned on. The “cloud” indicates that the software is hosted in a data center, not sitting on your desktop. If you use Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office for your word processing or spreadsheets, that’s cloud computing. You can mix and match these two approaches, undertaking cloud computing on a nonvirtual, traditional PC. And the opposite: You can use traditional, Office-style programs on a virtual PC.”