Part 3 of 3 in a Series

Evaluating Service Mesh

GigaOm Solution Profile: Solo.io Gloo Mesh

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
  5. About Chris Grundemann

Summary

Originally launched in early 2019 by Solo.io, Gloo Mesh (previously known as Service Mesh Hub) is a modern Kubernetes-native, cloud-native control plane. The solution enables the configuration and operational federated management of multiple heterogeneous service meshes across multiple clusters via a unified API. The Gloo Mesh API streamlines the configuration, operation, and lifecycle management of multi-cloud, multi-mesh environments. Gloo Mesh comes in two editions: an open-source version and the commercial, enterprise-ready Gloo Mesh Enterprise, sold as a standalone product.

Gloo Mesh can be run either in its own cluster or co-located with Kubernetes pods, enabling global traffic routing, load balancing, access control, and centralized observability of multi-cluster environments. It discovers Kubernetes-based microservices and workloads and establishes a federated identity, aiding the configuration of different service meshes through a single API. Gloo Mesh supports multi-platform service meshes spanning clouds and zones, locality-aware routing, and cross-cluster failover for zero trust networks.

Solo.io also provides Gloo Edge, a decoupled control plane for the Envoy Proxy. It allows customers to iteratively add API gateway capabilities to their cluster ingress without investing in a full-blown service mesh. Moreover, it integrates with Flagger—a delivery tool that automates the release process for Kubernetes workloads using GitOps pipelines—for canary automation.

Solo.io also created WebAssembly Hub, a streamlined service for building, sharing, discovering, and deploying WebAssembly (WASM) extensions for managing traffic and delivering near-native performance of Envoy Proxy-based service meshes.

In August 2021, the company announced Gloo Mesh Gateway, a full-featured API gateway and ingress controller based on Istio, for north-south application traffic at the edge.

In October 2021, the company announced GraphQL integration with Gloo Mesh, enabling developers to query their APIs directly through their service mesh.

Gloo Mesh At-a-Glance

According to Solo.io, Gloo Mesh is a critical component of the Gloo API Infrastructure Platform, providing a modern approach to API management and accelerating innovation across distributed cloud workloads and environments. Additionally, Gloo Mesh Enterprise includes the Istio-based Gloo Mesh Gateway and/or integrates with the Envoy Proxy-based Gloo Edge API Gateway for end-to-end encryption, security, and traffic control. This incorporates traffic management into both east-west and north-south data transfer flows.

An enhanced version of open-source Istio (as opposed to a fork), Gloo Mesh Enterprise also includes an extended version of the Envoy Proxy. This enables the consistent configuration and orchestration of services across multiple VMs, clusters, clouds, and data centers from a single point of control. Focusing on ease of use, Gloo Mesh Enterprise validates upstream Istio software and incorporates built-in best practices—including role-based APIs—for extensibility and security .

Gloo Mesh is designed to simplify the operations and lifecycle management of multi-cloud, multi-mesh environments, providing both graphical and command-line UIs, multi-cluster observability, and debugging tools.

While the community supports the open-source version of Gloo Mesh, Gloo Mesh Enterprise provides production and long-term support (LTS) with patches and backported hotfixes for the last five releases (N-4) of validated upstream Istio implementations with dedicated SLAs. In addition to traditional support channels, Solo.io also provides a Slack-based support channel for customers.

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.

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