What do you need to know about the MACH architecture?

MACH architecture

Future-proof and customer-centric – that’s what your online store should be to thrive in the market. There are many ways to get there, but lately, the MACH architecture has been one of the most efficient. In this article, we will show you what the MACH architecture is and how you can use it to grow your eCommerce business.

The first thing you need to know is that MACH is an acronym comprising four modern IT technologies:

  • Microservice-based
  • API-first
  • Cloud-native
  • Headless

In short, stores using the MACH architecture use all of them to create an online business that’s resilient, flexible, and modern. Let’s take a look at each of these four ingredients of the MACH architecture.

Microservice-based: A modern and flexible solution

Some time ago, applications were primarily so-called monoliths. This means they were single, unified units. You could use everything or nothing. Every function and every feature was permanently built-in in the application’s architecture. With microservices, it’s a different story. These are small modules that do just one thing. As a result, they can be developed and managed independently, without the need to affect other pieces of the puzzle. In the eCommerce world, such a microservice can be a search engine on your website or an online payment feature. Modifying one of them does not affect the rest of your store.

There are lots of benefits to this solution. If one element becomes outdated and needs some improvements, you can implement them without updating the whole platform. You save a lot of time and money this way.

API-first

The API acronym stands for an application programming interface. It’s a common way of communicating between different online tools, platforms, and plugins. An API-based store can easily integrate external solutions (e.g., analytics features, product tracking plugin, push notifications, and tons of other services) without the need to rebuild its architecture. Therefore, if you need to add a new service to your store, you can do so quickly and easily via API. If you have an experienced programmer on board, it can take just a little time to finish the whole process.

Cloud-native

Cloud is without a doubt the future of IT and eCommerce. Cloud-based apps and platforms are quick, safe, and, more importantly, scalable. This means that you can grow your business with ease, and you don’t have to invest in new resources and IT infrastructure. It’s all on the shoulders of the cloud provider! When you run out of bandwidth, you simply opt for a bigger plan and… that’s it! You’re ready to go again.

Cloud-native apps and platforms don’t need to be migrated to the cloud. They have been designed to operate in this environment from the very beginning. If currently, you use a solution that doesn’t work in the cloud, sooner or later, you’ll have to migrate your resources (eCommerce platform, data, and other solutions that you use) to the cloud. That can be an expensive and time-consuming process. It’s much better and easier to opt for cloud-native solutions.

Headless

Headless commerce has been one of the hottest industry topics for some time now. What’s it all about? 

In general, every eCommerce platform works on two levels:

  • Frontend
  • Backend

Both these layers are tightly connected with each other. Changes in the front end affect the back end and vice versa. In the headless model, these two layers operate separately. The back-end layer becomes headless, which means that you can modify the way your store works and looks in every way you want without changing the back-end layer. It’s a great solution because it enables almost limitless flexibility. With headless commerce, you can implement new solutions and features seamlessly, even when it comes to technologies that aren’t available yet!

M + A + C + H = MACH architecture

When you combine all these four technologies in your store, you end up with a MACH architecture. Your store becomes extremely flexible, safe (both from your and your users’ point of view), and resilient to future challenges. It can grow with the market with no limitations or obstacles. What’s more, you don’t have to rely on one system to deal with all the functions and features. With MACH, you can pick the best available solutions and integrate them together to create one fully-functional platform.

Things to consider

Of course, there are some things that you need to be aware of before you make a decision to turn to the MACH architecture. Here are the most important ones:

  • Make sure all the tools and features that you use are/can be API-based.
  • Find out whether you will be able to develop, update and scale all the elements independently.
  • Ensure your cloud provider offers sufficient scalability and SLA (service-level agreement).
  • Check how your future headless commerce solution will work in real-life conditions.

Once you clarify these four essential questions, you are on the straight course to making your store truly future-proof.

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