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Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA) is an architectural model which has risen to prominence in the digital era. One of Gartner’s top 10 Strategic Technology Trends, it is referred to as the design solution which links mobile apps, web apps, desktop apps, and the Internet of Things (IoT), into a broad mesh of back-end services (on an operational or user level) to create an ‘application’. It is also responsible for creating a broad framework of Application Program Interfaces (API) that unifies multiple services and microservices to connect people, processes, content, and services, enabling the coordination of a digital business technology platform.
A DISRUPTIVE FORCE?
Mesh App and Service Architecture has consequently been propelled as a disruptive force, where it provides an optimised solution for users regardless of the device they connect with, creating a consistent experience which can facilitate a considerable number of everyday activities. For example, MASA can be used to access a pre-prepared shopping list found online, and later bring it up on the mobile device when entering the store.
MASA views applications as a mesh of autonomous apps and independent services, sharing functionality with other applications and external systems via APIs. A MASA app is comprised of several apps and services and covers a particular process or activity which serves specific user demands. As an example, the PayPal application is split into two different apps: business and personal, and it is the interconnected flow of information within this mix that illustrates the perspective of MASA.
The Internet of All Things (IoT) has also transformed the way apps are developed and deployed. Today, the transcendence in technology has driven demand for scalable applications which can reach millions or even billions of users. This level of scalability is merely a consequence of good design but has empowered mobile technology, where users can access a network of information at the click of a button, on devices that function through interconnected apps.
We experience this daily. An example would be if planning a drive or commute, it is important to avoid traffic, know the best time to travel, and assess various factors relating to the venture, including parking and the weather. Traditionally, consumers would explore the internet looking for answers, but with our recent up-to-the-minute real-time technology, one can simply enter a few details into a journey planning app, where everything is configured with minimal effort.
For the journey planning app to work, it needs to communicate with APIs in traffic applications, weather apps, geographic information systems, and data transmitted from other users. This is an example of MASA at work, and the principle continues to evolve as more information becomes available, technology advances, people’s expectations change, and the overall scope increases. MASA ultimately results in faster technology and can keep up with rapid changing user demands.
Mesh App and Service Architecture enables systems to effectively deal with workloads by tapping into applications that are running in thousands of servers, and connect millions of users. To appreciate the significance of this, it is important to understand what the digital device mesh requires, which is very relevant today considering the societal norms that thrive on handheld technology.
Web-scale: Address the volume of internet traffic and scaling with the growth of new devices.
Cloud-native: Use a cloud hosting service, which benefits high availability and native elasticity.
Modular: Work with independently developed modular services, without cross-dependencies.
Adaptive: React to rapidly changing digital modifications in a dynamic fashion.
API Management Solutions
App Development Tools
Container Management Systems and Container Engines
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
APIs: Permits connection with the digital ecosystem.
Analytics: Can be leveraged to generate greater customer intimacy.
Omni-channel: A fluid user experience.
Modern Applications: Which communicate smoothly with legacy back-end systems.
Users need scalable solutions which can be deployed in the cloud environment, primarily to support the growing requirements of the digital device mesh. The MASA mentality utilises agility and integration, combining development and operations to enable ongoing support. It is important for users to re-evaluate conventionality, where traditional server-client systems are becoming defunct, and software containers are surfacing as a method for supporting microservice architecture.
Modern Backends have managed to exceed these expectations, and the ‘Mesh App and Service Architecture’ has become a buzzword which encapsulates the leading edge, culturally prominent IT innovation of today and tomorrow. It has introduced a new benchmark for complexity in architectural design, and managing this complexity has become a focal challenge, especially in an era where consumers have high expectations.
With ever-evolving user requirements for complex architectures, managing patterns such as load-balancing, message subscription, multiple protocols, and other factions are becoming increasingly important, as technology continues to adapt and evolve in correlation with consumer needs.
MASA requires changes to technology, architecture, and the tools necessary to develop solutions. This serves as a multichannel solution which leverages cloud and serverless computing, containers, microservices, and APIs. This promotes flexible, modular, and dynamic solutions, thus supporting a diverse range of users in multiple roles while capitalising on functional devices which communicate across multiple networks. As an architectural shift, it demands significant changes to development tooling and serves to revolutionise conventional practices.
Written by Daniel Johns. ASI Solutions – Head of Services.