You don’t have to do anything special to write a query against a remote data source other than include the name of the linked server.
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Even a DBA with many servers to manage will be tempted to build out a series of linked servers in order to capture monitoring details in a central location.
There is also the case where data is going to be too big or cumbersome to move around easily.
Sometimes an application may need data stored in another database on a different instance of SQL Server.
That different instance might be on the same physical machine or might be on another machine altogether. Your options depend on your data requirements, like how up to date does the data need to be.
I will only be discussing options and situations related to using linked servers to access information stored in a SQL Server database.