When we hear about the Cloud, we often hear about VM (virtual machine). VM is important to Cloud services because it allocates the resources that you need automatically.

For those of us that use Windows, we are familiar with Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.). Since those applications make our lives easier, and our business productive, we are willing to buy Office Home and Student for $139.99 when we have a new laptop.

In this case, the Microsoft Office applications run on the Windows Operating System. Windows is responsible for allocating and managing resources (CPU, memory, etc.) needed for running these applications. As users, most of us don’t know (or really care) what it takes for Office to do the background work since it is hidden from us. We just open the application and do our work. This level of abstraction is perfect for a single server. But sometimes, we get the message “low memory” while we are running many applications at the same time. This signifies that the system design is not scalable.

How VM and Cloud help you scale

Cloud is designed to be scalable and it uses VM to facilitate resource management. VMs are created within a virtualization layer that runs on top of an Operating System. VM emulates a physical computing environment and requests for CPU, memory, hard disk, network and other resources through the virtualization layer.

Cloud usually consists of many physical servers and the virtualization layer can be used to create many individual and isolated VM environments. Applications can run on one VM or more than one VM. When an application is assigned to a VM, no other application will be assigned to the same VM. VM is responsible to manage the resources needed by the applications and is abstracted away from the user.

For example, if you have a short term project and need for Microsoft office, you might want to pay $9.99 per month to use Cloud-based Microsoft office applications rather than pay the full price for to load the software on each laptop. All of the apps that you pay for are in the Microsoft Cloud (Azure). You pay only for the services that you use and when you use them.

This business model saves a lot of money for small businesses and consumers. That’s why Cloud-based applications are becoming popular. As a Cloud user, you can pay as you go and you don’t have to worry about the resource management. This lets you focus on the tasks at hand, leaving the heavy lifting in the Cloud.

What is your preference when it comes to the software you use? Are you taking advantage of the cost-efficiencies of Cloud? What more would you like to learn about Cloud?