Often, cloud computing and virtualization are considered one and the same. Though they are similar in concept, they are not interchangeable. Their difference is significant enough to impact your decisions. Therefore, it is important to know the significant differences between the two.What is virtualization?Virtualization refers to enhancing the scalability of traditional computing so that multiple operating systems and applications can run on a single server simultaneously. It effectively deals with the infrastructure sprawl that forces you to allocate your budget towards maintenance instead of building innovative IT solutions.You can leverage virtualization in several ways to augment efficiency, availability, and agility of your computing infrastructure.What is cloud computing?Cloud computing extends your current IT capabilities through the sharing of resources. It enables you to scale up or scale down to match business needs. Cloud computing provisions shared resources on-demand and as a service via the Internet.What differentiates the two?Virtualization is a component of cloud computing that is essential for delivering cloud-based services. While virtualization is a technology, cloud computing is a service whose foundation is formed by the virtualization technology.When using cloud infrastructure, you can compound the benefits of virtualization. Cloud infrastructure services let you optimize capacity and migrate and balance workloads based on your requirement.There are a number of other factors that separate virtualization from cloud computing. These include self-service for users, network access, and the ability to scale resources. If you are looking for a server environment that includes these features, opt for Sungard Availability Services.