The hybrid cloud requires foundational elements to make a hybrid model work in the real world. Although there are many issues and technical considerations when using the hybrid cloud, understanding the following elements is particularly important:

  • Virtualization services: It's not surprising that many companies have taken the time to streamline their data centers through technologies such as server virtualization. In essence, virtualization decouples the software from the hardware. In decoupling, the software is put into a separate container so that it's isolated from the underlying operating system. With the use of virtualization, applications can be managed on servers in a more efficient manner.

  • Service orientation: Organizations that have invested in creating business services that are encapsulated, and therefore decoupled from underlying business applications, are well positioned for hybrid computing. These services include well-defined interfaces so they can be integrated with other services to create value. These services, whether a simple business process or a codified way to manage a set of data elements, can provide the way to integrate services from different origins into a hybrid cloud environment.

  • Service management: Automation, optimization, and workload management are keys to making a hybrid cloud environment operational. Therefore, companies that are looking at the hybrid cloud need to focus on how a combination of services can be brought together to create a well-functioning system.

These foundational elements form the underlying infrastructure that supports a company's ability to integrate data, applications, and processes across multiple environments. For the hybrid cloud to be operationally effective, standardized interfaces are needed so that services built from a variety of environments can be linked together when needed. All these cloud services must include a method of metering based on use. Clearly, public cloud service companies will meter and bill you based on what you use. In internal clouds, the IT organization needs to keep track of usage to make sure resources are used appropriately across the organization.