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GigaOm Solution Profile: Grey Matter

An Exploration Based on Key Criteria for Evaluating Service Mesh

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Key Criteria Analysis
  3. Evaluation Metrics Analysis
  4. Bottom Line

1. Summary

Developed in-house from the ground up and released in February 2019, Grey Matter is an enterprise-proven, universal service mesh networking platform offering zero-trust security, exceptional Layer 3, 4, and 7 visibility, unmatched business intelligence for modern governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) control, and automated performance optimization. Addressing many of the challenges introduced by a service-based architecture (SBA), Grey Matter combines proprietary algorithms with open source technologies, enabling granular service mesh-enabled observability, analytics, and automation to optimize traffic throughput across on-premises, multi-cloud, or hybrid environments with or without the use of Kubernetes.

Grey Matter At-a-Glance

The platform comprises an internally developed control plane for service-based architectures, and either an Envoy or Hashicorp Consul-based sidecar data plane with extended filters for east-west internal traffic routing. An API gateway controls north-south traffic flows. In addition, Grey Matter integrates with Open Policy Agent (OPA) for zero-trust, policy-based access control at every point on the mesh, and is flexible and open enough to interoperate with other service meshes.

Delivering a comprehensive audit-compliance engine and SPIFFE/SPIRE identity authorization out of the box, Grey Matter provides service audit compliance reporting without special instrumentation. (Note: SPIRE is a production-ready implementation of SPIFFE—the Secure Production Identity Framework for Everyone.) Real-time audit taps at Layers 3, 4, and 7 provide a single source of truth for every user and action on the mesh throughout the lifespan of each object.

Designed to treat proxy-based service mesh telemetry as a source of business intelligence, Grey Matter leverages AI and machine learning to analyze data, including Layers 3, 4, and 7 network insights, for automated performance optimization and resource control. Powered by recurrent neural autoencoders, Grey Matter’s anomaly detection capabilities capture minute operational inconsistencies, predict potential issues, and alert users to inconsistencies against normal operational patterns via an intuitive contextual UI to take remedial action.

Grey Matter is designed to be platform-agnostic and polyglot. The platform wraps existing IT investments in a ubiquitous Layer 3, 4, and 7 network, securely connecting existing operations support system and business support system (OSS/BSS) layers to cloud-native technologies. Capable of operating in any public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud or container orchestration platform, Grey Matter comes with built-in support for K8s, AWS EKS, Azure AKS, OpenShift OCP, OKD, Konvoy, and bare metal. It is also container-agnostic, supporting Docker, CoreOS, OpenShift, Rancher, and other containers.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.