The elements that make up a cloud service are divided between front-end and back-end services.
The front-end is the part of the service provided on a user’s device, such as a laptop or smartphone. A front-end service can be delivered as a standalone program or app, or as a webpage on a web browser.
The back-end part of the service is anything provided by or stored on a remote server.
Netflix is a good example. The front-end service for Netflix is the app stored on your smartphone. But when you start watching the latest episode of Tiger King, the video you’re watching is stored on one of Netflix’s back-end systems.
The same is true for any user account information used by Netflix, such as what episodes you’ve already watched, or what shows are on your wishlist. All this information is also stored on one of Netflix’ back-end servers.
How Is Cloud Computing Technology Managed?
As you can imagine, managing all these front-end and back-end systems could become quite complicated and chaotic. This is where another type of service comes in to play: middleware.
Middleware handles all the requests made between front-end and back-end systems to ensure all the systems that make up a cloud service work as efficiently as possible. Things like user authentication, security, and data management are handled by centralized servers running various middleware services.
How Do Cloud Service Providers Store So Much Data?
I’m sure your next question is where on Earth is all this cloud data stored? Millions and millions of movies and images and songs and webpages and other files.
Well, the simple answer is, where isn’t it stored? Cloud data is stored in many many places all over the globe in facilities called server farms. These are huge warehouse-sized climate-controlled storage buildings built to contain thousands upon thousands of computer servers.
Not only that, but the files you upload to the cloud can be stored in more than one place at the same time. And yet to you, the end-user, it still feels like you have uploaded a single file. This not only ensures that your data is backed-up on multiple servers, but when you want to access your file, your cloud service ensures your file is downloaded from the fastest available server at that particular time.
This technique is known as server virtualization and maximizes the efficiency of individual servers that make up a cloud storage service.