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Mach Architecture: Buzzwords, Trends and Benefits

Mach Architecture: Buzzwords, Trends and Benefits

Adam Shallcross • CEO and Founder

from Cogworks • 22 May 2024 • 1 min read

The term “MACH” itself is pretty new, but the four principles, microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and headless have been the driving force behind the advancement of global technology for decades.

The word MACH merges the above four technology terms to form single new techilogical philosophy. For example to ‘go MACH’ can be described as a transition businesses can make when they fully embrace the MACH stack, backed up by a MACH certified seal.

The MACH alliance: the movement

The MACH alliance is the not-fot-profit organisation behind this stamp of approval; they advocate for best-of-breed enterprise technology systems where every component is pluggable, scalable, replaceable, and can be continuously improved through agile development so businesses can move fast. 

Once you’re certified MACH; it’s pretty much your last replatforming effort; what follows is small incremental changes as needed.

Groups like the MACH alliance aim to move organisations to an intelligent (and fairer) way of building technology solutions, encouraging traditional enterprise organisations to start by making small changes, such as a monolithic way of working to a microservices approach, for example.

Examining the bits that make up MACH “MACH”!


The idea behind Microservices is said to have started in 2005 when Peter Rodgers first coined the idea Micro-Web-Services. Peters's statement sparked a new way of looking at the traditional software development model, encouraging others to strive for better flexibility and simplicity in architecture. 

Fast-forward to today, everything we use to build software, from code to development practices or tools, is based on the idea of Microservices.

Just look at DevOps; this is now a widely-regarding "best practice" in the development industry, which involves the modularisation of specific tasks, resulting in better business agility and quicker time-to-market.

The Microservices Architecture Market shows no sign of slowing down. A recent survey forecasts the market will touch USD 21.67 billion by 2030!


APIs have been around for almost as long as computer programming.  Since the beginning, they have enabled organisations to facilitate communication between two (or more) pieces of software.

Salesforce, eBay and Amazon were among the first that saw APIs as an opportunity to expand their reach (and profit margins).  Since 2000 APIs have come a long way. They are often considered essential to a business technology stack and internal software development process.

Today, the most innovative enterprises, like Amazon, use API-first principles to accelerate growth in their industry and remain as agile as possible, ready for the next shift in consumer behaviour.

Adopting an API-first strategy is helping businesses in all industries modernise their technology to offer rich, more personalised experiences.


Many technical buzzwords we hear today have been around since the 90s, and "cloud-based" is no exception. The first major company to jump on the cloud bandwagon was Salesforce in 2008, with the launch of its customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Thanks to the cloud-based hosting platform, Azure,  Airbnb was able to scale down its usage rapidly, which is not something it could have done if it had been "running its gear"' (, 2022)

In 2024, 90% of large enterprises have adopted a multi-cloud infrastructure; the reasons to move to the cloud are hard to ignore.


Headless may feel like a relatively new entry to the market, but it is not. The concept of headless architecture was first proposed by Roy Fielding in 2000 in his dissertation on Representational State Transfer (REST). 

What is the headless CMS?

Headless CMSs are marketed as the go-to for headless architectures, but interestingly, traditional CMSs can also achieve headless by decoupling frontend and backend via APIs. This allows leveraging existing CMSs for headless, providing flexibility when integrating frontend/backend pipelines faces bottlenecks, without adopting dedicated headless CMSs."

In the ecommerce world, major corporations like Nike have embraced headless architecture to offer highly personalized experiences optimized for direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales. While headless is not the only way to achieve personalisation, it provides a flexible and scalable solution, allowing businesses to deliver tailored content and experiences across multiple channels and devices seamlessly.

There is a focus on architecture in 2024

Worldwide, we are more concerned about “agile” architecture now as businesses than ever. In the past five years, the term MACH architecture, and composable architecture has more than doubled.

Source: Google Trends


Why do these statistics matter? 

Technology options have burst open for enterprise businesses used to playing it safe from the comfort of their proprietary systems.  

The popularity of modern front-end frameworks like Vue.js and React.js, and others have surged (as illustrated above) as they can offer the personalised and rich experiences that some businesses need to stay afloat and thrive in today's market.

MACH architecture is composable architecture!

MACH principles and composable technology mean very similar things. 

There are many definitions of composable on the internet. We like this one from Gartner's keynote a couple of years back; "Composable [...] means creating an organisation made from interchangeable building blocks".

Technically speaking, being "composable" means owning swappable architecture that allows digital solutions to adapt quickly as time changes.

MACH architecture principles (remember, Microservices, API-first, Cloud-based and Headless) are all composable elements that are pluggable, scalable and replaceable.

So, if "the future of business is composable", as Gartner predicts, then the future of business is likely to be MACH architecture too. 

MACH architecture at a glance

MACH architecture is not a single "thing" available to purchase. It can be a gradual introduction of swappable technology or a full-scale re-platforming project containing nothing but composable elements. 

How and when leaders adopt these principles depends on the business budget and timeframe, but each introduction will help online businesses move with true agility and pace. 

Below is an example of an ecommerce site that has achieved a full "MACH" stack based on Microservices, APIs, Cloud Native services and headless technology.

Source: MACH Alliance


Each label in the diagram makes up a single composable element that can be easily updated and independently managed when the business needs to. 

In the real world, the above diagram might translate as the following:

  • The Content (CMS) might be an open-source, user-friendly CMS that works in headless mode.
  • The "Search" might be a powerful cloud-based search that uses AI to deliver personalised experiences such as Elasticsearch or Azure Cognitive Search.

The bottom line on MACH

Moving away from monolithic infrastructure has been shown to offer more business agility, resulting in a competitive edge in the marketplace, the term "MACH" and the idea of flexible infrastructure will only gain more traction in the industry.

The bottom line is it's essential to understand the benefits of MACH architecture and explore options on how your industry can incrementally or fully introduce MACH architecture principles into your business.

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