It’s fair to say that 2013 was the year users began taking the wherever, whenever availability of their apps for granted. Self-service access to personal and professional data has uncorked a sense of empowerment and knowledge that’s not going back in the bottle. As a result, a web architecture that seemed up to snuff at the beginning of the decade is now being pushed to the brink. Web servers and content delivery networks designed for the desktop computing era just can’t respond, flex, or scale to the new mobile world.
Forrester Research identifies the pain points of old school web architectures and prescribes the remedy in its paper, “Mobile Needs a Four-Tier Engagement Platform.” The case reads that “Mobile’s volatility and velocity of change require distributed four-tier architecture that we call an ‘engagement platform.’”
Making the Case for a Four-Tier Engagement Platform
Forrester builds its case for why the current web implementation can’t meet mobile performance expectations by addressing the lack of agility, flexibility, and scalability of the three-tier approach. First, the application layer is hard-coded to the data and presentation layers, so updates can take weeks to implement because of all the dependencies. These tightly-coupled systems don’t allow for fluid integration with third-party business partners or innovative services we’ve become so dependent on, such as Google Maps. Finally, the prevailing web-centric model wasn’t designed to scale services to meet the ebb and flow of demand in a Big Data, mobile world.
As defined by Forrester, an engagement platform “delivers compelling experiences, excellent performance, and modular integration on any device over any network at Internet scale.” This requires a shift in design thinking with three new architecture principles:
- Loosely coupled components that support wireless clients and aggregated services
- Distributed deployment for performance and rapid scaling
- Dynamically composed services that deliver contextual experiences
By embracing these principles, application developers and dev ops people can natively engineer the engagement platform replacing a single application tier with distinct aggregation and delivery tiers running between the client (mobile device) and services (data and business process) tiers.
Leading the Way Toward a Four-Tier Engagement Platform
Forrester cites some high-profile companies, such as Netflix, that have begun to apply four-tier architecture design principles to deliver a great mobile experience over any network. TIBCO customer Air France is among these four-tier engagement platform pioneers. Its commitment to a highly integrated mobile-ready system required a connected and synchronized foundation on the backend that a TIBCO-based SOA infrastructure has enabled. Air France’s commitment to evolving its infrastructure has strengthened its quality of service as it expands the role of mobility across operations, and event-enables more customer and employee actions.
Is your infrastructure meeting the needs of the emerging mobile requirements? Read this whitepaper to learn more about how a distributed, four-tier architecture will deliver users compelling experiences, excellent performance, and modular integration on any device over any network at Internet scale.