An introduction to MACH architecture (and why you might want to embrace it)

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    When it comes to technology, tomorrow always comes. Companies compete to create cutting-edge concepts as quickly as possible. While this may further the community as a whole, it also poses a problem for many users: how do you keep your organization operating at its full potential when system standards are constantly evolving?

    That’s where MACH architecture comes in. MACH structures do away with the need to constantly jump between monolithic systems with fixed lifespans. Instead, it focuses on the connective tissue between programs. Thus, there’s no risk of becoming outdated – you’ll always be able to integrate the next big thing.

    With more and more organizations embracing this revolutionary approach, MACH architecture has grown from a novel idea to the gold standard. Let’s take a closer look at how this setup can help your company quickly adapt to an ever-changing industry.

    What is MACH architecture?

    MACH stands for Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless. These are all integral parts of a best-of-breed digital ecosystem. Each element is unique and plays its own role in crafting a future-proof system:

    • Microservices based. Microservices refer to a collection of independent programs that contribute to a single functional system. They may communicate with each other, but at the end of the day are specialized tools for specific situations.

    • API-first. An API-first approach means that these tools form the foundation for the CMS. Connection to other programs is a native function of the system rather than an afterthought. This helps you seamlessly combine multiple digital elements into a singular platform.

    • Cloud-native SaaS. Cloud-based systems make adjusting digital resources far easier. You don’t have to worry about capping your growth – or indeed, even monitoring it. Instead, you can rest assured that your organization will be able to quickly and easily expand operations without hitting any resource roadblocks.

    • Headless. A headless system does away with default frontends. Instead, you have a centralized backend that can push content out to multiple ‘heads’. This gives you the freedom to expand your presence to multiple platforms without having to deal with siloed, isolated content and the extra work that comes along with it.

    A diagram demonstrating what MACH architecture stands for.

    MACH architecture relies on four main elements: microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless.

    When you choose technology that embraces these principles – those using MACH architecture, that is – you don’t need to settle for any system restrictions. Instead, you’ll be able to quickly and effectively deploy your content while remaining in full control.

    4 reasons why MACH architecture upgrades your system

    More and more people are embracing MACH architecture as the best way to future-proof their systems. Let’s take a closer look at the ways MACH architecture can help your company succeed.

    1. Helps you create a tailor-made tech stack

    Every project is unique. The same toolkit won’t work for every situation. Fortunately, MACH architecture allows you to customize your tools for a personalized approach to any problem.

    It does this by offering a best-of-breed approach. Microservices mean you can pick and choose what features you want to include rather than committing to a pre-packaged set. For example, if you run an online store, MACH architecture gives you the power to choose independent programs for tasks such as:

    • Personalized product recommendations

    • A shipping and tax calculator

    • Automated customer support

    Moreover, it isn’t enough for a program to be powerful on its own – it also needs to easily connect to others. As such, the highest-quality agile systems work with an API-first approach. That way, all of your favorite microservices can seamlessly integrate with your main system as well as communicate with each other.

    An image showing the basic structure of a headless CMS.

    An API-first approach ensures you'll never have to deal with outdated technology - simply swap our your programs whenever you need to.

    With this approach, you don’t need to settle for a system that’s missing functionality you need or overpay for a package with frivolous features. Instead, you get to craft a custom lineup calibrated to meet your exact needs.

    2. Lets you scale and grows projects with no limitations

    Businesses can grow fast. If you don’t choose MACH architecture, you might find yourself in a situation where an inelastic structure limits your growth. On the other end, you could also be stuck paying for resources that you don’t need.

    MACH embraces the power of both cloud-native technology and headless systems. The result is a setup that removes restrictions on every level:

    • Save time spent on scaling up physical resources in a traditional system

    • Manage and produce content for unlimited unique frontends from a centralized backend – websites, apps, and even virtual showrooms

    • Incorporate the latest technology as it becomes relevant to your business

    Headless also gives you the flexibility to make all these changes without altering the UX. Both you and your users can enjoy a seamless transition to bigger and better projects.

    Headless is quickly becoming the standard in content management. Learn more in our whitepaper!

    3. Provides a more efficient approach

    We’ve talked about how a cloud approach saves you time and effort with greater expansion capabilities. However, MACH architecture also comes with a few other significant advantages:

    • Start faster. SaaS solutions are almost always designed to work out of the box. Spend less time on setup and more time creating your content.

    • Automatic upgrades. Upgrades are critical to maintaining your project’s performance and security. However, they don’t have to be your problem! The cloud aspect of MACH architecture ensures that your tech will follow the latest standards without you having to interfere.

    • Developer-friendly. Your developers won’t be locked into one single language. They’re free to create using the frameworks they know best, meaning you save time on a learning curve and give them the tools to work to the best of their abilities.

    A headless system also means you’ll only have to create your content once. No need to copy over every line to a new system – just push it out to the channels you need it and move on to your next task.

    4. Gives you greater freedom to do whatever you want

    A large part of digital freedom comes from the ability to choose the technology that works best. MACH architecture is designed to maintain that flexibility: you decide what the system will do for you, not the other way around.

    Each aspect of MACH plays into this principle:

    • Microservices: Choose exactly the technology that you need so you never need to settle for less

    • API-first: Easily swap between different technologies as frequently as you need

    • Cloud-native SaaS: Quickly scale up production without unnecessary intervention on your part

    • Headless: Free yourself from default frontends, siloed content, and the restrictive rules of a traditional CMS

    This is a huge reason why MACH is so popular: it’s future-proof. It’s not defined by today’s technology, which risks quickly becoming obsolete as it advances. Instead, the focus is on providing a robust system that connects you to whatever you need - thus enabling you to endlessly evolve your project.

    Storyblok and the MACH Alliance

    As people discover the value of MACH architecture, more and more companies are making the switch. However, knowing which products truly embody these principles can be challenging. That’s where the MACH Alliance comes in:

    The MACH Alliance logo.

    The MACH Alliance champions MACH architecture as the most flexible, effective, and forward-thinking approach.

    The MACH Alliance is a vendor-agnostic organization that promotes MACH architecture as the ideal system for agile, future-proof content management systems. One way it does this is by running a community of certified members. To earn this certification, individuals or companies must demonstrate that their company embraces MACH architecture and all the benefits that it offers.

    Storyblok recently became a proud member of the MACH Alliance. We strive to embody the same ideals: freedom, power, and future-proof technology that supports your projects reaching their full potential.

    Key takeaways

    MACH architecture is the key to making your digital presence ready for the future. Thanks to its focus on connecting technology, you’ll never have to worry about it becoming outdated. By breaking free from the constraints of a traditional system, you can help your organization operate with more power and efficiency – both today and tomorrow.

    Ready to future-proof your organization’s technology? Contact our sales team to learn how we can upgrade your digital ecosystem!