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Posted by Ted Schadler on November 20, 2013
Michael Facemire, John McCarthy, and I recently published a clarion call to the technology industry: It's time for a new architecture! The aging Web isn't designed to handle mobile apps or sites. And it certainly can't handle the real-time demands of connected products.
Here's how we summarize it:
Mobile is pushing aging web architectures to the brink. The three-tier architecture built for a browser-led PC world can't flex, scale, or respond to the needs of a good mobile experience or the emerging requirements for connected products. Mobile's volatility and velocity of change require a distributed four-tier architecture that we call an "engagement platform." The engagement platform separates technical capabilities into four parts: client, delivery, aggregation, and services. The new requirements of modern apps will force content distribution networks, application server vendors, mobile middleware vendors, platform-as-a-service suppliers, a myriad of startups, and enterprises to coalesce around this four-tier architecture. CIOs need to start planning immediately for the migration from three tiers to four.
It's time to throw out the old notion of a three-tier architecture -- presentation, application, data -- and replace it with a four-tier engagement platform that can handle the new demands:
An engagement platform suppports a distributed, four-tier architecture natively engineered to deliver compelling experiences, excellent performance, and modular integration on any device over any network at Internet scale.
Figure 1 The Four-Tier Engagement Platform Makes Delivery Its Own Tier
How the four tiers handle the load:
Plotting The Path Forward
Question: If engagement platforms are the future, then how do we get there? Answer: Disruptively at the architectural heart of the technology industry. The three-tier architecture long heralded by IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Akamai is already being hollowed out by an emerging four-tier approach used by Netflix, Kinvey, and Salesforce.com.
It's time for vendors, investors, enterprise architects, application developers, and CIOs to begin a thoughtful technical and business discussion about how to build and operate an engagement platform. Engagement platforms will handle the complex, contextual, real-time demands of mobile experiences and connected products and drive these disruptions:
What say you?
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