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Why MACH Architectures Are Building the Future of Open Technology Systems

Cloudinary recently made the Forbes Cloud 100, marking the fifth time we’ve made the list since our debut in 2017 as a ‘Rising Star.’ We attribute every success, every milestone to our commitment to our customers, our culture and people-first values, and the innovative products we’ve built together.

We could wax poetic about how important this honor is to us — and our founder and CEO Itai Lahan did just that in this blog post — but here we’re highlighting a cause bigger than our own: the MACH Alliance. Some MACH Alliance members are also Cloudinary partners who also made the Forbes Cloud 100 list and made some pretty impressive leaps from their 2021 positions.

MACH is an acronym that stands for technology architectures that are:

  • M (Microservices): Individual pieces of business functionality that are independently developed, deployed, and managed
  • A (API First): All functionality is exposed through an API
  • C (Cloud Native): SaaS that leverages the cloud beyond storage and hosting, including elastic scaling and automatic updating 
  • H (Headless): Front-end presentation is decoupled from back-end logic, channel, and programming language, and is framework-agnostic.

The MACH Alliance is a vendor-agnostic organization founded in 2020 that is dedicated to advocating open and best-of-breed tech ecosystems. The MACH Alliance aims to “future-proof enterprise technology and propel current and future digital experiences” through MACH technology.

Since its inception in 2020, the MACH Alliance has rapidly gained momentum. Member companies have been gaining notoriety in  the cloud world, as evidenced by the five members that made the recent Forbes Cloud 100 list. 

Cloudinary jumped ahead 22 spots this year compared to 2021 (from #70 to #48) and others also performed well, including 2021 absentee Algolia who re-entered the list this year at an impressive 39th. Other MACH Alliance members include Contentful, Netlify, and Vercel.

MACH Alliance has generated enough interest to organize its first user conference, aptly titled MACH One, in the summer of 2022. It was clear from the 2-day event that businesses are more eager than ever to make the switch from monolithic to MACH-enabled technologies. 

Interest in the MACH approach is growing rapidly. MACH Alliance co-founder Sonja Keerl noted that the alliance’s latest research shows that 79% of digital leaders plan to move toward composable architectures at some point to gain the flexibility, scalability, and speed that these systems provide. Turning those plans into reality can be a long journey, and MACH One attendees agreed on the need to further explore this paradigm shift in digital experience architecture.

Also on stage with Keerl during her opening remarks, Forrester analyst Joe Cicman shared his thoughts on why MACH vendors are poised to overtake the market. “Technology should enable brands to bring innovative digital experiences to life. It should not be what hinders companies from acting on great ideas,” he noted. The future, Cicman believes, is all about microservices. “The monoliths still provide value, but they cannot keep pace,” he explained. 

The clear consensus at the MACH One user conference and from the many companies committed to an open and best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystem was this: enterprise suites are no longer “the safer choice;” the MACH ecosystem is. Agile, nimble, and always up to date, the MACH ecosystem is helping brands across the globe achieve their business, e-commerce, and digital experience goals effectively and efficiently.

One example of a brand deploying MACH-based solutions with success is UK retailer River Island, which recently selected Cloudinary’s Media Experience Cloud platform and its Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution to future-proof the company’s  digital media tech stack, boost the user experience, and shorten time-to-market. This investment in automation significantly reduces the amount of manual work needed to collaboratively manage media assets, including searching and sharing content.

Is your business ready to move at MACH speed? Consult these blog posts, download the Executive’s Guide to Composable Architecture, and contact Cloudinary to get set up.

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