News travels fast – and in this case, at MACH speed.
Yesterday, the rapidly-growing MACH Alliance announced the addition of AWS to its roster of Enabler members, joining MongoDB and Netlify at an exclusive level of visibility. This is a huge point of validation for the movement as the world's largest Cloud infrastructure provider throws its weight behind the foundational principles of MACH.
As the banner in their press release observes, "Great MACH often runs on AWS," and it certainly seems to be the case for many MACH Alliance members tapping services from the Cloud behemoth.
"Since the launch of AWS in 2006, we have espoused the importance of employing a modern architecture for retailers that facilitates rapid change and innovation," said David Dorf, Global Head of Retail Industry Solutions at AWS. "This includes the use of microservices, APIs, and a built-for-the-cloud design. Having been at the very forefront of this movement, we at AWS are proud to join the MACH Alliance to advocate for MACH as an industry standard to deliver the best digital experiences for makers and users."
In December, the MACH Alliance expanded its charter to include the Enabler membership status: a new class of ecosystem partners that are sometimes used by MACH organizations to deliver a service or technology but are not a direct MACH solution provider. To that end, they are "enabling" MACH through their services, which is a key distinction – but also an evolution of the collaborative's fierce governance around certifying members to their cabal.
"Especially in today's volatile commercial environment, businesses must arm themselves to be agile, resilient, and future-proof," said Sonja Keerl, President at MACH Alliance. "Having a flexible, digital backbone plays a critical role in all of those things, as it helps companies adapt to meet ever-changing consumer demands and deliver superior buying experiences. It's a tremendous win to have AWS on board to help champion the MACH principle and its myriad benefits for businesses of all shapes and sizes."
The monoliths versus the MACHs
Forrester's Joe Cicman fired a shot heard 'round the world when he described the MACH Alliance as "the bouncers controlling the velvet rope at the entrance of the Coolest Tech in Town Club."
Sounds like a hip place to be, unless you're caught in a dance-off between the Jets and the Sharks... AKA the monoliths and the MACHs.
While the debate over the MACH Alliance's certification policies continues to be vigorous – particularly from monolithic enterprise players that don't fit their stringent criteria – there's no question that it has captured the market's attention, growing to over 40 members. These companies have all met the agile requirements of the not-for-profit's mantra: Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless (the "MACH" acronym).
According to their website, A MACH architecture gives companies a deeper level of agility so they can deliver new features to customers faster than ever. While this architectural approach started with commercetools and their omnichannel approach to e-Commerce stores, it is now fundamentally changing the way enterprise software is developed and used across virtually every industry – not just commerce.
The "velvet rope" allusion could not be more apropos when describing the certification of MACH Alliance members. According to a blog post by Sonja Keerl from last October, one of the rules that helps the Alliance board determine certification is that vendors don't carry and promote legacy products along with their modern API-first and Cloud-native SaaS products. This steadfast rule keeps organizations from "MACH washing" their portfolios to achieve a level of readiness – but does not support their organization's mission or focus on the MACH philosophy.
In the same blog post, Keerl said that the MACH Alliance holds itself accountable for providing clarity to buyers, ending confusion, and guaranteeing the "future-proofness" of tech stacks. It's a bold claim, but a powerful one that seems to be resonating across the software landscape.
The composable revolution cometh
While the monolith/MACH dance-off continues, Elastic Path has responded to the fierce tenants of MACH, suggesting in an opinionated blog post that MACH technologies introduce additional complexity that can be challenging for organizations to manage.
Instead, the company spearheaded its own platform called the Composable Commerce Movement, an industry-wide initiative comprised of leading digital commerce technology and solution providers including Algolia, Contentful, Amplience, Bloomreach, PayPal, and others – all with the goal of reducing the risk and complexity of using MACH-based technologies to deliver business outcomes for enterprise brands.
In addition to their industry collective, Elastic Path has also created a Composable Commerce Hub – an open exchange of composable commerce solutions. This includes a set of pre-composed solutions for B2B, B2C, and omnichannel commerce experiences. The hub also features accelerators for payment plugins, CMS and PIM integrations, and more.
What does the addition of AWS mean for the MACH Alliance?
AWS is a goliath. The mere mention of its name brings serious swagger to any brand's position – and this will pay dividends for the MACH Alliance.
While every member in the collective may not be directly tapping AWS services, there are few organizations that aren't leveraging some facet of Amazon's cloud architecture. This underscores the moniker of "enabler" when it comes to their level of commitment. It also drives greater awareness around the role of Cloud-native in the MACH delivery and how AWS supports that vision for vendors and customers.
MACH is serving a critical role in the market, shaping the voice for a free and open future in enterprise technology. Having AWS align with its principles will have a lasting impact on the organization's perception and growth.
The real test ahead: how current members remain true and steadfast to the core requirements – and avoid plunging into a more monolithic posture based on future acquisitions.
About the MACH Alliance
The MACH Alliance is a [501(c)(6)] non-profit organization, governed by an independent board and does not endorse specific vendors, members, or otherwise. The Alliance was formed in June 2020 to help enterprise organizations navigate the complex modern technology landscape. It aims to guide and show the business advantage of open tech ecosystems that are Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless. All MACH Alliance members meet certification principles that are published on the website.
The MACH Alliance welcomes technology companies and individual industry experts who share the same vision for the future. Learn more at machalliance.org, read here about MACH certification, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully-featured services from data centers globally. Millions of customers – including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies – are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster.