The Concept of a SharePoint Farm
In essence, the infrastructure responsible for your experience as a SharePoint Online end user is supported by a collection of servers, each responsible for a set of tasks. That collection of servers is what makes up a SharePoint farm. Everything that happens in SharePoint is administered at the highest level in a SharePoint farm.
For the end user, the SharePoint Online experience centers around using the technology to collaborate effectively, secure and share information, upload and download files, track tasks, manage content, and outlines other ways to stay connected with the team.
Although you may not think much about what happens to create the SharePoint Online experience, a series of services and applications are running on multiple servers on the backend to give you just the right experience.
Servers are similar to desktop computers but with a lot more power. These powerful computers serve up requests from network users either privately or publicly through the Internet, hence the term server.
When SharePoint servers and SQL (a programming language used to communicate with databases) servers come together, they provide a set of services, such as serving up HTML so you can view formatted text on your browser (Web Server), or executing search queries (Query Server), or performing calculations on Excel workbooks (Excel Calculation Services), and much more!
Don’t let SharePoint jargon deter you from exploring and using the great benefits this technology has to offer. At its core, SharePoint Online is what allows your organization to round up most — if not all — of your organization’s data collection and storage efforts, business processes, collaboration activities, and much more in one web-based application.
After you get past the confusion of how farms, tenants, and silos ended up in this technology’s dictionary, you’ll be on your way to a successful SharePoint co-existence.