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Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle is #1 ranked solution in top Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools and #3 ranked solution in application security tools. IT Central Station users give Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle an average rating of 8 out of 10. Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle is most commonly compared to SonarQube:Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle vs SonarQube. Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 52% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 27% of all views.
What is Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle?

Nexus Lifecycle gives you full control over your software supply chain and allows you to define rules, actions, and policies that work best for your organization and teams.

Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle is also known as Nexus Lifecycle.

Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Buyer's Guide

Download the Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Customers

Genome.One, Blackboard, Crediterform, Crosskey, Intuit, Progress Software, Qualys, Liberty Mutual Insurance

Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle pricing:
  • "The license fee may be a bit harder for startups to justify. But it will save you a headache later as well as peace of mind. Additionally, it shows your own customers that you value security stuff and will protect yourselves from any licensing issues, which is good marketing too."
  • "In addition to the license fee for IQ Server, you have to factor in some running costs. We use AWS, so we spun up an additional VM to run this. If the database is RDS that adds a little bit extra too. Of course someone could run it on a pre-existing VM or physical server to reduce costs. I should add that compared to the license fee, the running costs are so minimal they had no effect on our decision to use IQ Server."
  • "It's expensive, but you get what you pay for. There were no problems with the base license and how they do it. It was transparent. You don't have to worry. You can scan to your heart's delight."
  • "Given the number of users we have, it is one of the most expensive tools in our portfolio, which includes some real heavy-duty tools such as GitLab, Jira, etc. It is definitely a bit on the expensive side, and the ambiguity in how the licenses are calculated adds to the cost as well. If there is a better understanding of how the licenses are being calculated, there would be a better agreement between the two parties, and the cost might also be a little less. There is no extra cost from Sonatype. There is an operational cost on the BT side in terms of resources, etc."

Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Reviews

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Ricardo Van Den Broek
Software Architect at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5
Checks our libraries for security and licensing issues

Pros and Cons

  • "With the plugin for our IDE that Sonatype provides, we can check whether a library has security, quality, or licensing issues very easily. Which is nice because Googling for this stuff can be a bit cumbersome. By checking it before code is even committed, we save ourselves from getting notifications."
  • "One of the things that we specifically did ask for is support for transitive dependencies. Sometimes a dependency that we define in our POM file for a certain library will be dependent on other stuff and we will pull that stuff in, then you get a cascade of libraries that are pulled in. This caused confusing to us at first, because we would see a component that would have security ticket or security notification on it and wonder "Where is this coming in from?" Because when we checked what we defined as our dependencies it's not there. It didn't take us too long effort to realize that it was a transitive dependency pulled in by something else, but the question then remains "Which dependency is doing that?""

What is our primary use case?

We use the Nexus IQ Server. That is the only product that we use, though there are other affiliated products Sonatype offers which integrates with it. We use it to categorize and index all libraries used in our software. Every time that a new build is created in our CI server, Nexus IQ server will check exactly what libraries that we're using. It does this for our Java libraries, JavaScript, and other things that it finds. Then, it checks a number of things for each of those libraries. E.g., it checks the license that is being used in it. Sometimes with open source software, the license is a bit more restrictive than might be convenient for what you are doing. Maybe it doesn't allow you to make changes to the library. Or, it's free to use for nonprofits, but if you're using a product which does make a profit, then you might have to purchase a license. Therefore, it protects us from accidentally misusing open source software and is protection against legal issues.

A bigger, ongoing use case is security. Sonatype checks security vulnerabilities that come up for all these libraries. Oftentimes, as a developer, you add a library that you want to use, and then you might check for security issues. Sometimes a problem comes up after your product is already live. IQ Server checks all libraries that we're using for security issues, reporting these, and allowing us to go through and see them to determine, "Is this something that we can waive?" It might be a very specific use case which doesn't actually affect us or we might have to mitigate it. Also, if a vulnerability or security issue is found in libraries later, it will send out alerts and notifications if a library is being used in our production environment, letting us know there is an issue. This allows us to address it right away, then we can make the decision, "Do we want to do a hotfix to mitigate this? Or is it something that isn't an issue in our case because we're not using it in a way that exposes the vulnerability?" This gives us peace of mind that we will be notified when these types of things occur, so we can then respond to them. 

How has it helped my organization?

One of the things that it detected was a small library that we use to generate PDFs. It pointed out this needed a purchased license. We had already bought the license because we did have some people in-house who were aware of that. However, it's still one of those things where I can see this easily going wrong for companies who are younger and don't pay as much attention to this type of stuff.

When IQ Server finds a problem a Jira ticket is created and an email is sent out. Usually, one of our technical people will check it out right away to see if this is something that can be simply scheduled in the next sprint or if it's something big. If it is something big that affects us and needs to be addressed right away, I know that we would likely be able to address it almost immediately, either by doing an update of the library or mitigation. We should be able to start work on it almost immediately. In very severe cases, we should be able to do this in just a matter of hours. We should be able to update our environments after we get a notification that the problem exists.

We have had cases where we wanted to add certain libraries, but the Nexus IQ IDE plugin showed there were some security issues with this library. Instead of using it, we found an alternative right away. Because it is easy to have this information available, it saves us the hassle of having to refactor later.

Nexus IQ Server has made it easier to address company or legal policies when it comes to the libraries we use. Sometimes, as a developer, you don't think about the legal aspects of a free and open source software. While we were aware that you occasionally need to buy a license for something, we're also paranoid of falling victim to giant lawsuits because we overlooked something in the license. We did have some enforcement of this before using Nexus IQ Server, but it would be done periodically and sometimes long after implementation of a problematic library was already done. Now it's all categorized in one place and we can very easily check license issues ahead of time. The awareness was there before, but now we have a definite way that it's all completely indexed. Enforcement is now easier and nothing can slip through the cracks. Everything is checked and will be reviewed unless someone specifically says, "This license is okay and you can use it."

It triggered a review of everything that's used and their licenses, since there are so many different open source licenses. Someone does have to go through each license and actually check off on it, with IQ Server we were able to do that more easily. It provides an ease of mind that if anything really bad would pop up, then it would easily show us in the report that it's there.

Since we started using IQ Server we have received a number of alerts regarding newly discovered security vulnerabilities in libraries we use in production. When that happens we delve in to it almost immediately. Up until now all of them have turned out to be for specific use cases that didn't actually occur in production. Just as a precaution though, we still schedule tickets to have such libraries updated anyway, in case it's later discovered that there are additional use cases that would allow exploitation of the vulnerability in production.

What is most valuable?

IQ Server also checks the overall quality of library. Often as a developer, to solve a certain programming problem we do some research online and may find suggested open source libraries that would address what we need. However, we don't always check how old it is or how maintained it is, but that is another thing that IQ Server will point out. "This version (or the whole library) you are using is like five to six years old. Maybe it's time to check if there are alternatives which are better kept up." That's another useful thing for us.

We enjoy how it works together with other stuff that we have. We integrated it with Jira to keep track of things. We have it set up so it will generate tickets in Jira automatically when it finds something, then those can be added to our sprints.

The quality of data seems very thorough. It compiles data from a couple of different sources. Sonatype double checks the vulnerability itself. I've seen instances where there will be a message saying something like, "According to official sources, this only occurs in version 4.2 or later, but our research team indicates that the vulnerability also exists in versions 3.x." This shows IQ Server gives you more information than what we previously would find, unless we did a lot of research and happened to stumble on that piece of information. Busy developers will usually prefer to spend the majority of their time implementing features and fixing bugs to meet customer time lines rather than indefinitely research possible vulnerabilities in a library they want to use. The information that we're getting through IQ Server makes it all easily accessible, and it's also thorough and comes with steps and descriptions of when this issue occurs for specific use cases, so it allows our developers to not lose a lot of time on research.

What needs improvement?

One of the things that we specifically did ask for is support for transitive dependencies. Sometimes a dependency that we define in our POM file for a certain library will be dependent on other stuff and we will pull that stuff in, then you get a cascade of libraries that are pulled in. This caused confusing to us at first, because we would see a component that would have security ticket or security notification on it and wonder "Where is this coming in from?" Because when we checked what we defined as our dependencies it's not there. It didn't take us too long effort to realize that it was a transitive dependency pulled in by something else, but the question then remains "Which dependency is doing that?" This is the biggest thing that we have talked to Sonatype about. Even though we have found an way to see where transitive dependencies are coming from, it would be nice if this was visible through IQ Server as well.

Another issue is that, although Sonatype categorizes and indexes a lot of different repositories, it doesn't index every single repo in existence. One of the components we used switched where it came from, so a later version was actually coming from a different repository that Sonatype didn't index, as it was relatively smaller. They cover a large amount of available libraries, but they don't cover 100 percent of them. In this case, that component that was marked as an unknown component. When we get this kind of notification, we have to double check it. That is how we found out that these are components aren't covered by Sonatype yet. We have put in requests to have this particular repository added to the sources Sonatype indexes. It's something to be aware of if you use obscure repositories.

For how long have I used the solution?

We set it up in July 2019. Therefore, we have been using it about seven or eight months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. We have never had an issue with it being unreachable. I've not noticed any downtime with it. 

The single issue and change that our administrator ran into was that after he setup the solution, it used a file database locally. After he switched it from running in the foreground to running as a service on a VM, we realized that the database was gone, it had somehow reset. He was able to find the previous file used as the database though and successfully migrated the data to Postgres. That was all the way in the start and we noticed the issue right away. After that, we've had no issues with it.

Our system administrator has not had any issues installing updates to IQ Server.

We haven't had any major security things that we had to fix last minute or on production, which is a good thing. However, we have had vulnerability issues come up. We were able to check them out and notice that they wouldn't affect us immediately because they applied to a specific use case which doesn't occur in our application. However, it does show that things come up. Security issues are found, and if we would've done a manual scan with our previous product/project, we may not have known that something happening on production or we would have found it a lot later. Whereas now, these things pop up right away. It has seemingly increased the overall stability and how fast we can respond to things.

We think about software issues in healthcare. We always want to be very careful of security things in this application because of HIPAA and patient privacy and vulnerabilities to applications from things like ransomware. We get questions about this stuff from potential clients about how we can protect ourselves. We have continuous monitoring of security vulnerabilities, which is very good advertisement for our company. This was not something we could say before because we'd have to do it manually. Sometimes, a few months would go by before we could run another scan.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have a relatively small number of people using IQ Server, consisting mostly of a few developers and project managers. Under those conditions it is performing very well. We have plenty of room to grow with it. We don't have any huge plans to expand use of the solution because it's fulfilling our current needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

We filed a ticket for some unknown components and got quick feedback. They gave us pointers on how to figure out what it is. One of the things that we were impressed with was that they wanted to do a review of how we were using it after a few months. I guess this is a problem with us technical people. We often don't like reading manuals and like to figure out how stuff works. I initially was skeptical, but I figured that if they were offering it we should do it.

They had us show them how we had set it up, then they had a number of pointers for how we could improve it. E.g., we weren't fully using the JIRA integration and notifications and they pointed that out. There were a few other things they pointed out as well, such as a list of things for us to double check, like whether all our Javascript libraries and open source Javascripts were indexed correctly. Double checking that is what actually triggered the unknown component notification because we weren't 100 percent sure what it was. They then talked us through how to handle those. I'm happy they reached out to do the review. A lot of times, after you buy a piece of software, you just cost the vendor money every hour that they spend on you. In this case, the review was offered and initiated by them. We really appreciated that and we have had good experiences with them as a company.

It has been fun to work with Sonatype. We have been happy with them as a company.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using a product before and weren't super happy with it. I found this solution through an Instagram ad. I don't even know how it popped up there, but it was an ad on Instagram that was from Sonatype about one of their free publications that you could get about issues in DevOps. After that, we talked as a team, decided to check it out, and that's how it happened. As annoyed as I've been by those Instagram ads, this one actually worked out very well for us. I guess for Sonatype too.

We used a different enterprise solution (Palamida/Flexera) previously which was a bit cumbersome to run. It would only check when we manually triggered it. Previously, because the scan was sort of deferred, you would find out a month or two later (or whenever you did the scan) that the library might have an issue. Then, we would have to find an alternative library. However by that time, you've already used it and have to refactor what you were doing before. A refactor like this will take time away from our developers and testers and also will require a redeploy. The process now is a lot smoother because the scan is done automatically and immediately after each build, so we get feedback right away.

Additionally, with the plugin for our IDE that Sonatype provides, we can check whether a library has security, quality, or licensing issues very easily. Which is nice because Googling for this stuff can be a bit cumbersome. By checking it before code is even committed, we save ourselves from getting notifications at all.

Nexus IQ Server integrates well with our other ecosystem. Palamida required us to run it locally, like physically, because they would send you the hard drives that had all the mappings on it. These were used to index the components our software is using. We had trouble trying to figure out how to keep it up to date because they would have to send this to us every couple of months or so. Whereas now, we're running IQ Server in AWS and it actually connects to Sonatype's own service for updates. These live updates are a huge improvement to what we were using before.

Releasing a new version of our application used to take between three to six months. What would happen is before we would release it, that's when we'd do a scan and see if there was anything that we needed to fix. We have had it where enough issues came up where we're like, "We need to decide should we still release this or continue trying to work out all these different issues, then release it?" This would push back the release by two to four weeks. Now, because it's a continuous process and we can evaluate new components early on, it doesn't mess with that timeline so much. We know what the status is already at this point. If something comes up, then we can address it right away instead of having to do it near the end. It has helped us to solidify timelines a bit. Because of it, we have not had a delay in a release due to unknown security issues that we found near the end of our version release cycle.

How was the initial setup?

On June 26, we got our license key for it. It was a week or so to get the whole thing up and running, from getting license keys to telling our IT department to set up the VM and install it, and then logging in to configure it.

The initial installation was rather straightforward. It was easy for me because we have a system administrator who takes care of it. But he did not report having any problems installing it. He had to also set up a database, then figure out some of the networking stuff, as sometimes the connectivity with the cloud services behind a VPN gets a bit tricky. But all in all it was fairly straight forward to integrate it. Once in the same virtual network, our VMs, Bamboo service, and Jira talked to each other and didn't have any issues. Installing updates has been straightforward as well.

Obviously there's a learning process that starts when you first log in. But things are pretty easy to figure out. Besides that Sonatype's support has been very good. They showed us how to use it immediately after installation, and they followed up some time later to see how we've implemented using it. They had some very useful tips and pointers at that time too. We've been impressed by their user support.

What about the implementation team?

We had a call with the Sonatype team and they talked us through the setup. Their assistance with it was really good. That may have mitigated any complications that we would've had. As far as I'm aware, even the installation of the application was easy.

The DevOps stuff is a combo between the system administrator and developers. After he does all the VM and networking setup, we do the configuration from within the application once it is ready. I did some of the integration with Bamboo, then another developer set up the integration with Jira. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have the skill set which covers all those things and would be able to do the deployment with just one person. 

All our system administration is done by a company called Infidati. We've been using them for a long time, about five to six years and our experience with them has been excellent. They are fully remote, my immediate boss is the only one who has met people from their company. We mostly communicate with them through their email ticketing system. They're an easy, wonderful company to work with that has great response times.

What was our ROI?

This product was cheaper than the one we were using, so that is a direct savings. Though, it's hard to estimate time saved.

There is definitely a lot less frustration with it, because we had some frustration earlier with the last product. Some of the frustration that we still have was trying to find an updated version of the library, which is not really Sonatype's fault. That is just how open source software works. However, there is definitely a lot less frustration with a lot more clarity about what exactly we're looking at and what the step is needed to get rid of the vulnerabilities that we do find. It's hard to measure the impact of reducing developers' frustration, but I think we can all agree that having happy developers is good for a company!

Another thing that's hard to measure is the positive impact on company image. We get security questionnaires from potential clients, which will ask how we detect and address security issues. In our industry, what is that worth to a health system that houses patient information that we continuously monitor for security vulnerabilities? And that we are able to address these concerns as soon as they come out? It's a marketing thing and it's hard to quantify what that's worth, but we know in healthcare these things are definitely valued and appreciated.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In addition to the license fee for IQ Server, you have to factor in some running costs. We use AWS, so we spun up an additional VM to run this. If the database is RDS that adds a little bit extra too. Of course someone could run it on a pre-existing VM or physical server to reduce costs. I should add that compared to the license fee, the running costs are so minimal they had no effect on our decision to use IQ Server.

The license fee may be a bit harder for startups to justify. But it will save you a headache later as well as peace of mind. Additionally, it shows your own customers that you value security stuff and will protect yourselves from any licensing issues, which is good marketing too.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options. Though, we did compare it to what we were using. When we looked at what Sonatype did and how it was able to run in the cloud, we were eager to give it a shot. We honestly didn't do extensive research into other alternatives. We knew we wanted to switch from what we were using rather quickly and Sonatype's response time was very good.

What other advice do I have?

Do it as early as possible. You will have to clean up sooner or later. I remember when we fired it up it immediately found things that the last solution didn't find. This made sense after we realized that IQ Server gets continued updates and our last solution was just getting updates whenever we were able to get new hard drives sent to us. Our first scan popped up with a number of high vulnerability and security issues. At that time the Sonatype people were on a call with us to help us out setting it up. We asked them if seeing this many alerts was pretty average and they told us it was pretty normal in their experience. So that's when the cleanup started.

Our awareness of how many of these open source libraries have things that you got to watch out for has increased a lot. We would find some stuff out through our previous solution, but sometimes it was unclear exactly how serious it was, where it came from, or how to fix it. Additionally we've gotten a lot better at manual dependency resolution, because sometimes the problematic version of a component you're trying to eliminate is a transient dependency. so you have to figure out which alternative version you can use and then tell the top level dependency to use that instead.

None of our people who went to college to learn how to write software or do Java certification remembers ever getting a class on how to deal with these kind of things. Nobody remembers taking a class where they warn future developers: "You're going to have licensing issues that you will need to solve. You will need to do dependency resolution and be asked to mitigate security issues in this stuff as you use it." But this is actually a pretty important aspect of proper software development. Our team already had this awareness, but now it is now something we can also easily check. It is a continuous part of our sprints to check and handle notifications of these security issues. We've had to learn a lot more about how to fix transitive dependencies.

While we don't have integrations directly with our version control systems, we do integrate with our continuous integration service and ticketing system. We use a host of Atlassian products: Jira is one of them and Bamboo is another. You can use this solution to automate open source governance and minimize risk. E.g., we could have a build fail when it finds security issues, but we have not done that for our development and test environments as of yet. The solution also integrates with things like user directories.

We did look through the default policies. We also received some help from Sonatype to go over them. As a default, the security policies were good. Therefore, we decided to stick with them.

I would give the solution between an eight and nine (out of 10). If there was a way to easily see where a transient dependency is pulled in from, and if Sonatype would add a few more of the repositories that we pull dependencies from, then I'd probably give them a 10 (out of 10).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
ME
Sr. Enterprise Architect at MIB Group
Real User
Top 10
Provides us with ease of development, the ability to automate a lot of the build-and-deploy process

Pros and Cons

  • "Some of the more profound features include the REST APIs. We tend to make use of those a lot. They also have a plugin for our CI/CD; we use Jenkins to do continuous integration, and it makes our pipeline build a lot more streamlined. It integrates with Jenkins very well."
  • "Some of the APIs are just REST APIs and I would like to see more of the functionality in the plugin side of the world. For example, with the RESTful API I can actually delete or move an artifact from one Nexus repository to another. I can't do that with the pipeline API, as of yet. I'd like to see a bit more functionality on that side."

What is our primary use case?

We are using the Nexus Repository Manager Pro as exactly that, as an artifact repository. We tend to store any artifact that our application teams build in the repository solution. We also use it for artifacts that we pull down from open-source libraries that we use and dependencies that come from Maven Central. We use it to proxy a few places, including JCenter. We also use it as a private Docker registry, so we have our Docker images there as well.

We're on version 3.19. We also have Nexus IQ server, which wraps up within it Nexus Firewall.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a lot of legacy applications here and they're all built with Ant scripts and their dependencies come from a shared folder. There's not a lot of "accountability" there. What we get out of using Nexus is that all of our dependencies are in the same place and we can specify a specific version. We no longer have a situation where somebody has pulled down a .jar file and stuck it in this folder and we don't know what the version is or where, exactly, it came from. That's one of the benefits.

Another of the main things we get is what Sonatype calls a "bill of materials." We can go into our Nexus product and say, "Okay, here is our ABC application. What are its dependencies?" And we can be specific down to the version. We know what's in it and, if a vulnerability gets reported, we can look and see if we use that particular component and in which applications, to know if we're vulnerable. If we find we're exposed to that vulnerability we know we need to go and remediate it.

The biggest benefit we get out of it is the overall ease of development. The ability to automate a lot of the build-and-deploy process comes from that.

The data quality helps us solve problems faster, as in the security vulnerability example I just mentioned. In those circumstances, we have to solve that problem. Previously, we wouldn't have seen that vulnerability without a painstaking process. Part of the Nexus product, the IQ Server, will continually scan our components and if a new CVE is reported, we get that update through Nexus IQ. It automatically tells us, "Hey, in this open-source library that you're using, a vulnerability was found, and you use it in these four applications." It immediately tells us we are exposed to risk and in which areas. That happens, not in near real-time, but very quickly, where before, there was a very painstaking process to try to find that out.

A year ago we didn't have DevOps tools. We started building them after I came on. But Nexus definitely integrates very well with our DevOps tools. Sonatype produces plugins for Jenkins to make it seamlessly interact, not only with the repo product, but with the Nexus IQ product that we own as well. When we build our pipelines, we don't have to go through an array of calls. Even their command-line is almost like pipeline APIs that you can call. It makes it very simple to say "Okay, upload to Nexus." Because Jenkins knows what Nexus is and where it is — since it's configured within the Jenkins system — we can just say, "Upload that to Nexus," and it happens behind the scenes very easily. Before, we would have to either have run Maven commands or run Gradle commands via the shell script to get that done. We don't need to do that sort of thing anymore.

The solution has also brought open-source intelligence and policy enforcement across our SDLC. We have defined policies about certain things at various levels, and what risks we're willing to expose ourselves to. If we're going to proxy a library from Maven Central for example, if the Nexus IQ product says it has a security-critical vulnerability or it's "security high" or it's "component unknown," we can set different actions to happen. We allow our developers to pull down pretty much anything. As they pull something down from say, Maven Central, it is scanned. If it says, "This has a critical vulnerability," we will warn the developer with the report that comes out: "This has a security-critical vulnerability. You're allowed to bring it down in development, but when you try to move to QA or staging, that warning about the 'security-critical' component will turn to a failure action." So as we move our artifacts through that process, there are different stages. When someone tries to move that component to our staging environment, it will say, "Oh no, you can't because of the security-critical thing that we've been warning you about. Now we have to fail you." That's where we get policy enforcement. Before, that was a very manual process where we'd have to go out and say, "Okay, this thing has these vulnerabilities, what do we do with it?" It's much more straightforward and the turnaround time is a whole lot faster.

Automating open-source governance and minimizing risk is exactly what Nexus is for. Our company is very security conscious because we're governed by a number of things including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is very stringent in terms of what we can and cannot have, and the level of security for data and information that we maintain. What Nexus does is it allows us to look at the level of risk that we have in an application that we have written and that we expose to the companies that subscribe to us. It's based on the components that we have in the application and what their vulnerabilities are. We can see that very clearly for any application we have. Suppose, all of a sudden, that a Zero-day vulnerability — which is really bad — is found in JAXB today. We can immediately look for that version in Nexus. We can see: Do we have that? Yes, we do. Are we using it? Yes, we are. What applications are we using it in? We can see it's in this and that application and we can turn one of our teams to it and get them to address it right away.

I don't know exactly how much time it has saved us in releasing secure apps to market, but it's considerable. I would estimate it saves us weeks to a month, or more, depending upon the scope of a project.

And it has definitely increased developer productivity. They spend a lot less time looking for components or libraries that they can download. There was a very manual process to go through, before Nexus, if they wanted to use a particular open-source library. They had to submit a request and it had to go through a bunch of reviews to make sure that it didn't have vulnerabilities in it, and then they could get a "yes" or "no" answer. That took a lot of time. Whereas now, we allow them to download it and start working with it while other teams — like our enterprise security team — look at the vulnerabilities associated with it. That team will say, "Yeah, we can live with that," or "No, you have to mitigate that," or "No, you can't use this at all." We find that out very much earlier in the process now.

It allows us to shift gears or shift directions. If we find a component that's so flawed that we don't even want to bring it into the organization from a security standpoint, we can pivot and say, "Okay, we'll use this other component. It doesn't do everything we needed, but it's much more solid."

What is most valuable?

I won't say there aren't a ton of features, but primarily we use it as an artifact repository. Some of the more profound features include the REST APIs. We tend to make use of those a lot. They also have a plugin for our CI/CD; we use Jenkins to do continuous integration, and it makes our pipeline build a lot more streamlined. It integrates with Jenkins very well.

The default policies and the policy engine provide the flexibility we need. The default policy was good enough for us. We didn't really mess with it. We left it alone because the default policy engine pretty much works for our use cases.

The integrations into developer tooling work just fine. We primarily use Gradle to build our applications. We just point the URL to what we call our "public repository group" in Nexus. It's a front for everything, so it can see all of the other underlying repositories. Our developers, in their Gradle builds, just point them to this public repository and they can pull down any dependency that they need. It doesn't really integrate with our IDE. It's just simply that we use Gradle and it makes it very straightforward.

Nexus blocks undesirable open-source components from entering our development lifecycle because of the IQ policy actions. We define what sort of level of risk we're willing to take. For example for "security-critical," we could just fail them across the board; we don't want anything that has a security-critical. That's something we define as a CVE security number of nine or 10. If it has a known vulnerability of nine or 10 we could even stop it from coming down from Maven Central; it's quarantined because it has a problem that we don't want to even introduce into our network. We've also created our own policy that we call an "architecture blacklist," which means we don't want certain components to be used from an architectural standpoint. For example, we don't want anybody to build anything with Struts 1. We put it on the architecture blacklist. If a component comes in and it has that tag, it fails immediately.

What needs improvement?

Some of the APIs are just REST APIs and I would like to see more of the functionality in the plugin side of the world. For example, with the RESTful API I can actually delete or move an artifact from one Nexus repository to another. I can't do that with the pipeline API, as of yet. I'd like to see a bit more functionality on that side.

For how long have I used the solution?

I, personally, have used Nexus for a number of years. I have been with my current company, MIB, for just over a year. We brought it in just over a year ago right after I started.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've had no trouble with it. We're currently running it even on a single server and we don't have many problems with it. It seems very easy to move into what we call a high-availability mode. Upgrades to a new version are done within a 30-minute timeframe, so we can easily schedule them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Even though we don't employ it in a high-availability mode, looking at the documentation, it's very easy to scale out. You can put up multiple servers and point them at the same shared file system. Sonatype also has a cloud offering if you want to go completely hands-off. But it seems to scale very well. We haven't had to scale it yet, but it seems very straightforward to do so.

How are customer service and technical support?

We talk with John Burke, our rep at Sonatype. He was originally our sales rep and now he's their regional sales director and we have a new sales rep. But we still keep in very close contact with John.

Sonatype also has a concept, a position called a success engineer. We have regular meetings every two weeks with a representative from Sonatype. We talk about our implementation, where we are, where we want to go, and how we can get to the point that we need to be at. We are still very engaged with them.

Technical support is great. But because we also have this customer success engineer, a lot of times if we have questions on how something works, we can ask him. While he's not a technical expert, he's a very good end-user person. He can say, if we need to change how a policy works or we want to do this or that, "Well here, you go in here and you do that." We get some ongoing customer support from that customer success engineer. 

We have only set up two technical support tickets with them and they've been pretty good about them. I have nothing bad to say about the technical support. They've stepped up when we have needed them to.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We weren't using anything prior to this.

How was the initial setup?

Having set it up myself in previous companies, I know there are ways to set it up that are easy. You can just drop a .war file into a Tomcat container and you're set up. You then just have some configuration to deal with. 

We didn't do that. We set it up as a process on a host server and set it up with specific memory and a very specific file system for it. We had help with that from Sonatype. We had a Professional Services person here who set that up with us.

We were done in one day. From downloading the executable, to running it, to installing it, to having it set up and configured, it was done in a day, but again, we had Professional Services here for that day.

Our strategy was to implement the repository first. But we also added Nexus IQ. Sonatype has best practices for this and, while we were close to what they offered, we weren't exactly it. So both of those servers are on the same physical hardware. Sonatype recommends separating Repository and IQ Server on different servers, but we didn't do that. Our implementation isn't fast enough to really warrant that. We're a smaller shop so we don't really need that vastness of setup.

What about the implementation team?

The person who came out to help us actually runs Sonatype's customer service center. We keep in very close contact with them.

What was our ROI?

In the productivity, and the turnaround time of producing new applications and updating old applications, the return on investment is that it takes much less time to add features or produce a new product out to our subscribers than it did before. That allows us, obviously, to start billing for those services sooner. Without Nexus, it would take a considerably greater amount of time. Our return on investment is based upon how many applications we bring out and the turnaround time of the development team.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not involved in the financial aspects, but I don't think it's overly expensive. We use the professional version. There's an open-source version that would cost us next to nothing, but we do use the professional version.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at Artifactory and one other solution when we were doing our due diligence before picking a product. We did a proof of concept for Artifactory, but we ended up choosing this one.

What other advice do I have?

Nexus Repository is a very specific product. It does very specific things. It's an artifact repository. I would suggest, if you're starting out, to start out with the open-source version and see if it meets your day-to-day needs. If it does, as you start to use it your development teams come to rely on it and it becomes one of those things that if it were to go down, all of your development would stop. So it mandates you to look at the professional version so that you get some backend support from Sonatype in the case that something should happen to it.

Our company, as a whole, has about 150 employees, but not everybody uses it. There's a group repository that's open and anyone can go to it. You can pull down anything you want, anonymously. You don't even have to log in. But there are very few people — four Nexus admins — who can upload stuff. And on our continuous integration server, Jenkins, those four are the only users who can upload anything or push anything into the repository. Our developers don't push anything into the repository. They build some stuff, they check it into Source Control, and then the continuous integration engine sees that, picks it up, builds it, takes the artifacts, and puts them into Nexus. The lion's share of the users who use it are pulling stuff down from it to their desktops and into their IDEs. There are about 25 of those users. They use it to pull dependencies and other things and then they check it into a source code repo and Jenkins takes over from there and does the building and the deploying, etc.

For maintenance and deployment, we usually have a staff of two, although we currently have only one. I will back-fill that as needed. But there's really no maintenance that we have to do to, other than updating to newer versions from time to time.

I would rate it at about a nine out of 10. A perfect 10 comes from what I mentioned earlier. I would like to see a little bit more functionality from the CI plugin aspect. I'd like to be able to do more of what I can do with the REST APIs, in the plugin, so I could automate some of those tasks. But that's the only negative thing I have to say about it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Learn what your peers think about Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
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RS
Senior Architect at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Helps us drive down our technical debt due to components with known issues

Pros and Cons

  • "We really like the Nexus Firewall. There are increasing threats from npm, rogue components, and we've been able to leverage protection there. We also really like being able to know which of our apps has known vulnerabilities."
  • "Overall it's good, but it would be good for our JavaScript front-end developers to have that IDE integration for their libraries. Right now, they don't, and I'm told by my Sonatype support rep that I need to submit an idea, from which they will submit a feature request. I was told it was already in the pipeline, so that was one strike against sales."

What is our primary use case?

We use Nexus as a local repository of both JavaScript and Java components, and we're starting to look at Python. We also connected up to the Nexus Firewall, so that new components that are proxied are looked at to see if they have malicious components or if they are components without vulnerabilities. We're able to establish policies about whether we want to allow those or quarantine them. 

Our main use case for IQ Server is to scan software builds for components with existing vulnerabilities and malicious components. We're working to drive down our technical debt due to components with known issues, and it's been helpful. We're still expanding the program to different software languages. We started with Java and then extended the JavaScript. We want to extend to Python, but we're not quite there yet. We don't have too many Python users, so that's less of a priority.

How has it helped my organization?

It's been pretty good. I'm the one who has to un-quarantine things, but the false-positive rate is not too bad, or else I'd be doing that all day. From that point of view it's been good.

The solution enables us to manage and secure the component part of our software supply chain. That is done between the policies, their data, and configuring. You have to make sure everybody's actually pointing to the repo. We started talking about blocking public repos from within the networks, so that would force people to go through the solution, but we haven't quite gotten there yet. However, we have definitely have a lot of people going through the repo. We can see how many components are cached and how many are quarantined. We have definitely had 1,000 or more components quarantined during our use of the product. That's all technical debt we would have accrued if we hadn't been using it.

What is most valuable?

We really like the Nexus Firewall. There are increasing threats from npm, rogue components, and we've been able to leverage protection there. We also really like being able to know which of our apps has known vulnerabilities. 

Specifically features that have been good include

  • the email notifications
  • the API, which has been good to work with for reporting, because we have some downstream reporting requirements
  • that it's been really user-friendly to work with.

Generally speaking, the configuration of all the tools is pretty good; the admin screens are good.

We have been able to use the API for some Excel-based reports to compare how many of our application deployments were covered by scans, and to do charts on that. That has been good and worked really well.

The default policies are also good. We deviated a little bit from those, but we have mostly used them, and they have been good. They provide us with the flexibility that we need and probably more flexibility than we need.

It has brought open source intelligence and policy enforcement across our SDLC. We have policies and SLAs that say, for example, critical findings have to be fixed within 90 days, and "high" findings have to be fixed within 120 days. That's tracked and reported on. We use the API to do some downstream reporting into some executive dashboards and when executives see red and orange they don't like it, and things get done. We've also made it part of our standards to say no components with existing vulnerabilities. Enforcing those standards is integrated into our software development life cycle.

Sonatype also blocks undesirable open source components. That is also done through policies that you can set, and configuration of the repo.

What needs improvement?

The integration is one sore spot, because when we first bought the tool they said JavaScript wasn't really part of the IDE integration, but it was on the roadmap. I followed up on that, and they said, "Oh, you can submit an idea on our idea site to have that added." The sales team said it was already in the pipeline, but it was actually not in the pipeline. 

Overall it's good, but it would be good for our JavaScript front-end developers to have that IDE integration for their libraries. Right now, they don't, and I'm told by my Sonatype support rep that I need to submit an idea, from which they will submit a feature request. I was told it was already in the pipeline, so that was one strike against sales. Everything else has been pretty good.

Also, when Nexus Firewall blocks a component, it doesn't really give us a message that tells us where to go; at least it doesn't in our setup. I have to tell all the users, "Here's the URL where you can go to look up why Firewall is blocking your stuff. And that is odd because when it finishes a scan, the scan results give you the URL. But when you get blocked by Firewall, it doesn't give you the URL where you can go look that up. You can definitely work around that, but it's a bit strange. It's almost like something they forgot to include.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle since October of 2019.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've only had the server go down one time in about two years, so that's good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is fine, as far as I can tell. We only have so many developers, and haven't really grown our development teams at all in the past few years. We have about 200 users of Sonatype who are either developers or application security or myself as senior architect. We haven't had problems with capacity, but we haven't had to scale it.

It does seem to scale okay for adding new software artifacts, because we continue to add more stuff to it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Overall, tech support is good.

When submitting a support ticket, I've seen other vendors basically regurgitate what the tool is saying, instead of actually looking at what I'm trying to say. Sonatype has done a good job of at least saying, "Yeah, we looked at this pull request on this open source component, and this is where we're seeing something. I have even had to coordinate a discussion between an open source maintainer, Spring Pivotal, and Sonatype, to let them hash out who's right.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used OWASP Dependency-Check. It's a good resource for security standards and, occasionally, free tools, and it was a good command-line checker. It matched heuristically, so it would find a lot of false positives. It got us started and gave us an idea of how much debt we had, so it was useful. It just required a lot of tuning to weed out false positives.

How was the initial setup?

They have good documentation about how to configure things and get it set up, and it's easy to find what you're looking for, generally speaking. I found the setup to be pretty straightforward. I had to spearhead that effort, solo, and get it socialized out to all the teams. Most people seemed to be able to configure it pretty well without a lot of hand-holding. The rollout went really well.

We run it on our own Windows box. It's a little tricky to get it to run as a Windows service, but they have instructions for it and we finally figured out how to get that working. I think they intend for it to be run on Linux, but it's Java, so it runs on either. It's running fine on Windows.

I just used the online documentation and did it all myself. It took about three months to roll it out.

What was our ROI?

How do you prove that you've not gotten hacked because of the tool? We've definitely gotten better visibility into how we're using older components and when we need to migrate away from them. We're much better positioned now to keep things patched and if there's another Struts 2, armageddon-type vulnerability in a library we use, we'll be much quicker to get on it.

It's like any security tool. How do you know that the door lock paid for itself? You really don't know who would have knocked your door down. But once our developers get more used to the tool over time and we get the technical debt driven down, they will be more productive in terms of making sure the libraries are up to date.

In the meantime, when they're onboarding and trying to figure it out, it's going to slow them down a little bit, to get oriented. If they're dealing with a legacy of technical debt and there are a lot of things that have to be fixed, because nobody has updated an internet app in 10 years, it's not going to make them more productive. But if you're willing to pay down that technical debt, it's totally worth it, but it's hard to quantify. But if you consider keeping your apps up to date as productivity then it helps with productivity.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's expensive, but you get what you pay for. There were no problems with the base license and how they do it. It was transparent. You don't have to worry. You can scan to your heart's delight. They're pretty much based on co-contributing developers, so if you have auditors or AppSec, that doesn't count against your total.

We're not using their Advanced Development Pack because it costs more money. That is a sore spot. We're not using the Infrastructure as Code Pack or the Advanced Legal Pack because there hasn't really been a lot of appetite to use the DLC mode. That's a criticism I have of Sonatype. I understand they want to get paid, everybody does, but they're adding new features to the product as add-on purchases, as opposed to just improving the product. You pay for a subscription to the product. If we had bought a permanent license and we weren't paying a subscription, I could see it working that way. But I don't like the fact that we pay a subscription but we're not getting these features because they want to charge more for these packs.

I have told them that. I have said, "I don't like this model. We're paying you guys a lot of money already. Why are we having to be quoted to pay even more?" Maybe our subscription only pays for the data and the support, and if so, that's fine, but they weren't very transparent. They're saying, "Hey, we're going to be developing new features and capabilities, but they're going to cost more." As far as vendors go they're a good vendor, but this is one thing that they started doing that I don't like.

I don't like the whole "pack" mentality they've got going now. "We're going to come up with cool new features, dangle them in front of you, and then say, 'Hey, we know you're already paying a bunch of money per year for a sub, but you're going to have to pay more if you want this.'" It rubs me the wrong way.

They only started coming out with these packs in the past year or so. I'll say, "I wish the product did this," and they'll say, "Oh, we're working on a pack to do that, but it'll cost money." I had to move mountains to get the money to pay for the base product. It's not cheap. I don't know if they think we've got a money printing machine hiding in the back, but we don't.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The solution's data quality is good. It's a lot better than what we had before, which was OWASP Dependency-Check. That was okay, but just okay. Sonatype seems to have higher fidelity, but there have been times when I've had to reach out and say, "Hey, is this a false positive? It seems a little off." Sonatype's data research team seems pretty good. It's good data, for sure, but they're also willing to accept feedback on it, and that's good too.

If we can't afford Sonatype in 2025, we might go back to OWASP.

We briefly used SourceClear. We didn't use it very long. It wasn't very good. It seemed that the quality of data wasn't as good. There were no IDE integrations and more false positives. It was totally cloud-based. I'm not sure if the guys who set it up configured it correctly, and that might not be their fault. But we had a lot of issues with it breaking builds and just not working correctly. The reliability and uptime wasn't good. But the biggest problem was probably that they charged per scan, as opposed to per app or per developer. You couldn't really scale to let your developers scan locally without worrying about blowing your budget. The whole licensing model for SourceClear was bad.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you know what packs you're getting with your buy. They also tried to sell some sort of training about how to customize policies, training that they didn't include in the original estimate. So make sure whether your quote includes packs or not and whether you need training for an administrator or whether they'll be able to self-serve from the documentation. It was like we were in the checkout line and then they asked, "Would you also like this training?" instead of including it in the original estimate. It's annoying. If that is part of the package, let us know how much it costs up front, in our estimate, and we'll decide. Don't try to bolt it on midway through the purchase process, which is what they did.

Depending on how old your code set is, brace yourself. You're going to have to figure out a way to report on the stuff. You're going to have to figure out a way to socialize the value, and you're going to have to constantly answer questions about, "How should I fix this?" My advice would be to make sure you have a champion who not only knows how to administer the tool, but who knows enough about software development to help provide guidance about how to remediate issues. I feel that if I didn't have both of those skill sets, this would have been a complete flop, just another tool rotting on the shelf.

When it comes to data quality, occasionally it helps us solve problems faster, but sometimes it creates confusion because their data team tries to monitor above and beyond the National Vulnerability Database. Occasionally you get conflicting messages between that and what Sonatype is saying. They're trying to go above and beyond and say things like, "Hey, the bulletin says it's version four or five, but we see it's in version three." But it can get a little confusing when the maintainers don't agree with Sonatype. It's not Sonatype's fault. They're trying to cover for the maintainers not being really thorough with their notifications. 

But when they come into conflict, it is confusing for the end-user because you're trying to figure out, "Well, what do I really need to do here?" But overall, most of it is really straightforward. The technology can be confusing, but that's software libraries and their features. All that stuff can be confusing, period. But that's not because of how it's communicated, rather it's because it's complicated technology. For example, the vulnerability might be talking about the second-tier cache and that's something I've never even heard of, so I have to go research it. But generally, their communication is effective.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Shubham Shrivastava
Engineering Tools and Platform Manager at BT - British Telecom
Real User
Top 20
Integrates easily and finds all vulnerabilities and categorizes them pretty nicely

Pros and Cons

  • "Its engine itself is most valuable in terms of the way it calculates and decides whether a security vulnerability exists or not. That's the most important thing. Its security is also pretty good, and its listing about the severities is also good."
  • "One area of improvement, about which I have spoken to the Sonatype architect a while ago, is related to the installation. We still have an installation on Linux machines. The installation should move to EKS or Kubernetes so that we can do rollover updates, and we don't have to take the service down. My primary focus is to have at least triple line availability of my tools, which gives me a very small window to update my tools, including IQ. Not having them on Kubernetes means that every time we are performing an upgrade, there is downtime. It impacts the 0.1% allocated downtime that we are allowed to have, which becomes a challenge. So, if there is Kubernetes installation, it would be much easier. That's one thing that definitely needs to be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We basically use it for open-source vulnerability. It is completely on-premise as of now, but we will be exploring other options.

How has it helped my organization?

IQ Server is part of BT's central DevOps platform, which is basically the entire DevOps CI/CD platform. IQ Server is a part of it covering the security vulnerability area. We have also made it available for our developers as a plugin on IDE. These integrations are good, simplistic, and straightforward. It is easy to integrate with IQ Server and easy to fetch those results while being built and push them onto a Jenkins board. My impression of such integrations has been quite good. I have heard good reviews from my engineers about how the plugins that are there work on IDE.

It basically helps us in identifying open-source vulnerabilities. This is the only tool we have in our portfolio that does this. There are no alternatives. So, it is quite critical for us. Whatever strength Nexus IQ has is the strength that BT has against any open-source vulnerabilities that might exist in our code.

The data that IQ generates around the vulnerabilities and the way it is distributed across different severities is definitely helpful. It does tell us what decision to make in terms of what should be skipped and what should be worked upon. So, there are absolutely no issues there.

We use both Nexus Repository and Lifecycle, and every open-source dependency after being approved across gets added onto our central repository from which developers can access anything. When they are requesting an open-source component, product, or DLL, it has to go through the IQ scan before it can be added to the repo. Basically, in BT, at the first door itself, we try to keep all vulnerabilities away. Of course, there would be scenarios where you make a change and approve something, but the DLL becomes vulnerable. In later stages also, it can get flagged very easily. The flag reaches the repo very soon, and an automated system removes it or disables it from developers being able to use it. That's the perfect example of integration, and how we are forcing these policies so that we stay as good as we can.

We are using Lifecycle in our software supply chain. It is a part of our platform, and any software that we create has to pass through the platform, So, it is a part of our software supply chain. 

What is most valuable?

Its engine itself is most valuable in terms of the way it calculates and decides whether a security vulnerability exists or not. That's the most important thing. Its security is also pretty good, and its listing about the severities is also good.

The plugins that are there on the editor are also valuable. Engineers don't have to wait for the entire pipeline to go in and show some results. While they are writing code, it can stop them from writing something that might end up as a security vulnerability.

Its default policies and the policy engine are quite good. So far, we haven't found anything that went through IQ but wasn't caught. We are quite happy with it. The policy engine pretty much provides the flexibility that we need. I haven't seen a case where any of my customers came in and said that they don't have a certain policy in place for IQ, or they wanted to change or remove any policies. At times, they wanted to suppress warnings or altogether skip them if possible, but it doesn't happen or is required very often. 

What needs improvement?

One area of improvement, about which I have spoken to the Sonatype architect a while ago, is related to the installation. We still have an installation on Linux machines. The installation should move to EKS or Kubernetes so that we can do rollover updates, and we don't have to take the service down. My primary focus is to have at least triple line availability of my tools, which gives me a very small window to update my tools, including IQ. Not having them on Kubernetes means that every time we are performing an upgrade, there is downtime. It impacts the 0.1% allocated downtime that we are allowed to have, which becomes a challenge. So, if there is Kubernetes installation, it would be much easier. That's one thing that definitely needs to be improved.

Some of our engineers came from outside of BT, and there are some features that they are used to from rival products, but they are currently not there in Sonatype IQ. For example, Snyk has a feature to stop a particular check-in from happening at the merge stage in case something is different or wrong. This feature is still in the development phase in IQ. Such a feature would be handy in IQ.

Another area where Nexus can severely improve is the licensing model. I am not worried about the licensing cost, but the way they calculate the number of licenses being used needs to be improved. They have been quite ambiguous in terms of how they calculate who is using Nexus or IQ, and this ambiguity has not been good. At times, we think we have a certain number of customers, but Sonatype says that it is not true, and we have some other number. They haven't been able to explain very well how they calculate that number, which has been a challenge for us.

For how long have I used the solution?

BT has been using Nexus solutions for almost three years. I myself have been associated with Nexus for two years since I joined BT.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

IQ Server is quite stable. I get a report from my team about the availability of my tools, and IQ Server stands pretty great. Its stability is 99.99% for sure. 

Repo has had some challenges with our setup. I'm not sure if that has to do with Repo itself or our own infrastructure. There have been some challenges, but there is nothing noticeable. So, overall, they have been quite good. The only thing is that whenever we have to update the tool, there has to be mandatory downtime, which I would like to avoid with something like a Kubernetes-based system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't faced any challenges in the scalability of Nexus solutions. We have gone from pretty minimal usage to pretty high usage, and I haven't seen any challenges. It is good. It is not similar to some of the other tools that I have where scalability has been an issue.

We have around 3,000 to 4,000 engineers who use Repo daily. We have around 1,000 to 2,000 users who use IQ Server. Our usage is moderate. It is not extremely heavy. As compared to the other tools that are being used by around 30,000 engineers, the usage of Nexus is not heavy. It is moderate.

How are customer service and technical support?

My team works more closely with them, but I do get feedback from them. I have worked with their architect, Sola, multiple times, and I can easily rate him a nine out of 10. He has been pretty good. The architecture that he provided has been crystal clear around what we have here in BT. Whenever there was a problem with Nexus Repo, he came to the rescue. He understood what the problem was and could fairly quickly implement it. It provided more help than support. We were trying to scale Nexus to a certain extent, and he was able to assist us quite well. The only area where I felt I did not get what I needed was related to licensing. They have been quite ambiguous in terms of how they calculate the number of licenses, and even he couldn't clearly tell me how the calculations are done. Other than that, he has been fantastic.

How was the initial setup?

Its initial setup was done by someone who is retired now. He did it five or six months before I joined.

For its maintenance, we have a team of three people. We have one SME and two support engineers who are dedicatedly there for Nexus and any services that we do through Nexus.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI is moderate. It has definitely helped us in avoiding a lot of security miscues., but the adoption of IQ hasn't been as much as I would have liked. It has nothing to do with Sonatype. It has more to do with BT's culture and BT's engineers adopting it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Given the number of users we have, it is one of the most expensive tools in our portfolio, which includes some real heavy-duty tools such as GitLab, Jira, etc. It is definitely a bit on the expensive side, and the ambiguity in how the licenses are calculated adds to the cost as well. If there is a better understanding of how the licenses are being calculated, there would be a better agreement between the two parties, and the cost might also be a little less. 

There is no extra cost from Sonatype. There is an operational cost on the BT side in terms of resources, etc.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated Snyk but not for the same capabilities that IQ has. We didn't evaluate Snyk for open-source vulnerabilities. We evaluated it for container security, Infrastructure as Code security, and other aspects. Snyk does OSS as well, but we are not looking at OSS as a solution offering from Snyk at this time. We are doing a pilot with Snyk to see how they can do other things.

In terms of the open-source vulnerability checks, Snyk has a few more features around stopping mergers to happen and stopping check-ins to happen with integration with Git. This is not something that we have evaluated. It came as feedback from our engineers.

What other advice do I have?

It is quite easy to integrate across the tooling board, but that it does lack a couple of modern and shiny features. It does a pretty good job around the core things of open-source vulnerability check, and it categorizes vulnerabilities pretty nicely. To anybody who wants to use Nexus, I would advise seeing how they can create a bit of a scalable and multi-instance model between IQ and Repo so that they can save on some of the update time that I have to go through.

It has delayed some of the deployments across our supply chain, which is not necessarily a bad thing because delay is only in the case it identifies any issues. One of the challenges in terms of adoption has been that not everybody wants to know how bad their code is. It has been a challenge to make more and more people adopt Nexus IQ, but the quality has definitely improved for those who have onboarded it. There is no doubt about that.

In terms of the reduction in the time taken to release secure apps to market, it doesn't improve the time if you look at a small picture and a single pipeline or component. It reduces time if you look at the larger picture in terms of how many cycles would have been there if you had identified a security vulnerability in the final environment rather than the earlier environment. In such a scenario, it saves time. It doesn't save time in making the code reach production quicker, but it saves time with fewer cycles happening between the development code and the production code. If I go completely by the test count or the engineering count of around 2,000 folks, there is definitely a saving of around 4,000 to 5,000 hours every quarter.

It has not increased the level of productivity for our developers because that's not why we are using Nexus. It has definitely reduced the number of cycles between the production code and the development code.

We don't use the Nexus Container feature. We have a different container that is our own instance. It is a strategic instance for BT that is owned by our own team.

Nexus definitely has been a key component in our portfolio. The big lesson that I have learned from using Nexus is that there are a lot of open-source libraries that are considered okay in a common area. A lot of times, we identified a library that almost everybody considers okay to use but then realized its vulnerability. So, one of the lessons is that you have to be vigilant all the time with what you are using inside your code.

I would rate it an eight out of 10, and that's quite good. I have deducted two points. One of them is related to the licensing model, which should not be that ambiguous. Another one is related to becoming more forward-looking and supporting modern products such as Kubernetes or EKS. The demand of the hour is to have our services up for more than four-nines or five-nines. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Austin Bradley
Enterprise Infrastrcture Architect at Qrypt
Real User
Top 5
Has brought open-source intelligence and policy enforcement across our software development life cycle for almost all of our applications

Pros and Cons

  • "When I started to install the Nexus products and started to integrate them into our development cycle, it helped us construct or fill out our development process in general. The build stage is a really good template for us and it helped establish a structure that we could build our whole continuous integration and development process around. Now our git repos are tagged for different build stages data, staging, and for release. That aligns with the Nexus Lifecycle build stages."
  • "They're working on the high-quality data with Conan. For Conan applications, when it was first deployed to Nexus IQ, it would scan one file type for dependencies. We don't use that method in Conan, we use another file type, which is an acceptable method in Conan, and they didn't have support for that other file type. I think they didn't even know about it because they aren't super familiar with Conan yet. I informed them that there's this other file type that they could scan for dependencies, and that's what they added functionality for."

What is our primary use case?

We have a few applications that we're developing that use several different languages. The first ones we did were Python and Yum Repository applications. Recently we've started scanning C and C++ applications that use Conan Package Manager. We will soon start doing node applications with NPM. Our use case is that we primarily rely on the IQ server to ensure we don't have open source dependencies in our applications that have security vulnerabilities, and to ensure that they're not using licenses our general counsel wants us to avoid using.

How has it helped my organization?

When I started to install the Nexus products and started to integrate them into our development cycle, it helped us construct or fill out our development process, in general. The build stages are a good template for us to help establish a structure that we could build our whole continuous integration and development process around. Now our git repos are tagged for different build stages that align with the Nexus Lifecycle build stages.

Going to the Nexus product encouraged me to look for a package manager solution for our C and C++ development. My customer success engineer, Derek, recommended that we go to one that Sonatype was considering integrating with the product, which was called Conan Package Manager. I started doing research with Conan and realized how beneficial it would be for our C and C++ development cycle. Transitioning to that has really changed our whole C and C++ development. It was because we needed to have Nexus scanning for our C applications and I needed Conan to do that.

It's because of Conan that we've reduced our build timelines from weeks because we have so many architectures that we build for. After we figured out how to use it, we can build everything with only a couple of commands. Now, it's a really integrated process for our C and C++ applications, from development to the build pipelines to the IQ scanning, and the Nexus Repository manager repositories that we're using for building and packaging. It's been a fun process.

In terms of the data quality, everything has been really good for our Python and our Yum repositories. I know that they are still building their capability for the Conan repositories, the C dependencies. Right now, what Derek has told me, is that Conan application are analyzed with what they call Low Quality Assessment, or LQA. Essentially, any package that has identified vulnerabilities will show up, otherwise, there's not much information on the package. So scanning for Conan is not as good as Python right now, but I know they're working on higher quality data for Conan packages.

Comparing LQA in Conan to something like the higher quality data available in Python repositories does show a difference. For example, Nexus IQ identified a vulnerability in a Python package that we don't use, but it's a transitive dependency in four packages that we do use. We discovered the root vulnerability causing the problem in our four packages with the higher quality data, but we may not have been to do that as easily with a vulnerability identified in multiple C packages without the higher quality data. I'm not sure.

Nexus will block undesirable open source components from entering our development life cycle. We've agreed on the governance of our policies for blocking builds automatically and we've set a date, for example, to start failing builds automatically on July 15.

It integrates very well with our existing DevOps tools. The Azure DevOps Nexus IQ plugin was really easy. All we did was go to our DevOps portal, go to the add-ins, and then search the list for Nexus. We just clicked on it and it installed in DevOps. There are a couple of help pages on Sonatype's webpage, and I send those to the developers, they add the IQ plugin to the build pipeline and it just works. It's really nice also because the IQ plugin for DevOps gets updated before I can even go check on it. They've released two updates since we installed it. Every time I hear from Derek that they've updated the IQ plugin, I go to the IQ plugin page on our DevOps server, and it's already been updated. It's totally seamless for us.

It has brought open-source intelligence and policy enforcement across our software development life cycle for almost all of our applications. We're still integrating it with all of our applications, but it definitely has brought the kind of intelligence that we needed.

What is most valuable?

Part of our use case is that we use Azure DevOps, so we have continuous integration, continuous deployment pipelines in Azure DevOps. The Nexus plugin for DevOps allows us to just include the IQ scan as part of the pipeline deployment. It's very seamless for our users. They don't even have to think about it until they have a violation. IQ informs them or stops the build, and the developers have to resolve it. 

The default policies were very good for us. We're using all of the default ones except for setting the warning and the stop features at different build stages. It definitely provides the flexibility we need.

We're not at the point in our deployment of the software to where we're doing automated git pulls and where it will automatically resolve vulnerabilities by downloading new packages. We haven't done that, but the integration with our Azure DevOps pipeline has been very seamless. I don't know of any developers that are using the integration with visual studio IDE.

What needs improvement?

The thing that they're already addressing is high-quality data for the Conan dependencies. They're very responsive to user needs. We're one of the first organizations to use Conan, so I identified a discrepancy in how they were scanning the dependencies, and they added the functionality within four weeks or so. The team is incredible. I can't think of any other ways that it could improve it.

When Conan support was first added to Nexus IQ, it would only scan one file type for dependencies. We don't use that specific method in Conan, but rather, another acceptable method for declaring dependencies that IQ wasn't scanning. I think the Sonatype developers  didn't even know about it because they learning Conan as much as we were. I informed them of the other file type for declaring dependencies and they quickly added the functionality.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started installing it at the beginning of this year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've never had any problems with it, so it's been very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't know about the scalability yet because we are small and we don't have that many applications or packages yet. I haven't had to scale it. I designed, from the beginning, the storage architecture of my Repository Manager to be scalable because I knew a lot of the large data will sit there. I designed that upfront to be scalable to other storage volumes or even other servers. I know there are features for having multiple IQ servers or Repository manager servers and load balancing or having automatic failover and things, but I haven't done those things yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been great. I've never had any problems. When I do have an issue, sometimes I'll email Derek or I talk to him about it during our weekly meetings. He'll send off an email or a chat right away and get an answer back quickly about a resolution or resolution timeline.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We weren't doing automated vulnerability scans or license scanning. We were pulling straight from the public repositories so everybody had local caches of varying packages, which was different from the repositories of packages on our build servers. It was like the Wild West, but the Nexus products have helped us consolidate our repositories.

The primary reason why our senior director of product management decided he wanted to do this was that we develop sensitive software and need to ensure we don't have vulnerabilities from third party open source packages. We needed an automated way to do scanning instead of having the developers look at a list of their packages and compare them to a list of new vulnerabilities themselves. That would've been a nightmare. That central repository management was a secondary reason, but it was also important.

As important as vulnerability scanning, the licensing was essential to us too because around the time we were evaluating the Nexus product, there was a large company that was getting sued for violating open source GPL-2 license requirements. We wanted to avoid problems like that. Those are the two primary reasons.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy. We're hosting on-prem and I put Nexus IQ on a VM I created according to Sonatype's recommended specs. It was really easy to install and it's really easy to update. The only thing that took a little longer to do was settings up HTTPS. It was my own fault because I had typos in configuration files that I'd overlooked. Following their instructions makes installation and upgrading really straightforward.

I did the IQ server and the repository manager server at the same time, and it took around less than a day for both of them.

When I first installed the two servers, I followed their recommended system requirements guidelines. In hindsight, because we are so small and we don't yet have that many applications, I probably could have started with IQ and Repository manager as containers. That would be okay for smaller companies that might be restricted on what resources they have available for hosting the servers. They could probably do containers in the beginning and then expand if they needed to later.

The deployment was given to me as a project. I didn't have an implementation strategy when I started building the servers, but Derek and I created implementation strategies as we went, after I installed the servers.

Initially after installing IQ and I putting some Python applications into, we had all of our policies set to warn and not fail builds automatically because we hadn't decided our governance process. That was part of the implementation strategy that we had to figure out. We had to decide a time to roll out our test applications and test groups. Derek was really instrumental in helping me see it in stages. We would test with the Python applications and then move on to other types of repositories and other types of applications for a broader adoption strategy.

What was our ROI?

Since the developers weren't doing really thorough vulnerability assessments in the past, I can only estimate how many hours it's saved and allowed them to continue developing the applications.

For example, if one of our pipeline applications has 15 dependencies and a developer had to look for vulnerabilities in that list of 15 dependencies, it could take a half-hour every day for one application. If they're developing six applications at once, then it could be a couple of hours a day per developer. It would quickly get out of hand.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't know anything about the pricing. I know that our license is the most encompassing one you can get. It includes the IQ server (Lifecyle, Firewall) and the Repository Manager Pro. Firewall is really useful for us to keep an eye on our proxy repositories for vulnerabilities. That's another layer of helping us make sure that we don't have vulnerable products. The expense is justifiable because of the potential to save a company a lot of money in lawsuits and risks from having vulnerable packages in their applications.

What other advice do I have?

I don't have any reason to rate it less than 10 out of ten. It's been really solid, really helpful, and it will pay off hugely as we continue to expand.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Julien Carsique
DevOps Engineer at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
We no longer have to write or maintain scripts, but important features are still missing

Pros and Cons

  • "The REST API is the most useful for us because it allows us to drive it remotely and, ideally, to automate it."
  • "We do not use it for more because it is still too immature, not quite "finished." It is missing important features for making it a daily tool. It's not complete, from my point of view..."
  • "It's the right kind of tool and going in the right direction, but it really needs to be more code-driven and oriented to be scaled at the developer level."

What is our primary use case?

We have many use cases. Our main use case is focused on Nexus Repository and a little bit on Nexus IQ, including Lifecycle. The basic use case is storing Maven, Java, JavaScript, and other kinds of artifacts. For some years now we have implemented more complex solutions to manage releases and staging. Since Nexus Repository introduced that feature for free and natively, we moved to the feature provided for managing release staging.

How has it helped my organization?

It has only improved things very little because, for now, we use the reports from IQ to improve the libraries, but it doesn't yet have enough coverage.

It has helped to enforce open-source intelligence and policies across our software development lifecycle, mainly by automating controls that we had put in place before. It has helped to enforce things. It has blocked some open-source components or, more accurately, raised warnings about them. It's not a blocker in our system because, for now, it's only implemented as an informative system.

The solution has also improved the time it takes to release secure apps to market. We have been able to replace homemade scripts, which took a few hours to create, by very much simpler workflows provided natively by Nexus, which are working in a few minutes, or tens of minutes. It has saved us about 40 percent, in terms of time. But more than the duration, it's helpful that we don't have to maintain or make scripts. That's the most important thing.

It has improved developer productivity and accuracy. That happened a long time ago because we have been using it for so long, but as soon as we deployed the Nexus solution in the company, people didn't need to locally build a lot of stuff. So we were much more easily able to work together, to collaborate, and consume other teams' products. That was a long time ago, but it was definitely an important step.

What is most valuable?

The REST API is the most useful for us because it allows us to drive it remotely and, ideally, to automate it.

We have worked a lot on the configuration of its capabilities. This is something very new in Nexus and not fully supported. But that's one of the aspects we are the most interested in.

And we like the ability to analyze the libraries. There are a lot of filters to output the available libraries for our development people and our continuous integration.

The solution integrates well with our existing DevOps tools. It's mainly a Maven plugin, and the REST API provides the compliance where we have everything in a giant tool.

What needs improvement?

We do not use it for more because it is still too immature, not quite "finished." It is missing important features for making it a daily tool. It's not complete, from my point of view. All the Lifecycle tools are not yet finished and usable in production. We are using it in production, but it's not fulfilling all our needs. It's not yet finalized.

It's the right kind of tool and going in the right direction, but it really needs to be more code-driven and oriented to be scaled at the developer level. Nowadays, developers need to be autonomous, so we need to be able to supply them tooling and then everything should be orchestrated around the principle of GitHubs. That is really important in IQ because developers will want to make changes and they need things very quickly. Everything should be driven by that but that is not yet the case. The features are interesting but the way those features are configured and tuned is not quite there yet.

There is room for improvement in the way it is managed, having code-driven configuration, and automation. It needs not to be an old-style tool. Today, a computer tool must be usable in many ways: as a client for developers, as a webpage and reporting tool for managers, and as an automated blocker for continuous integration. It must have a REST API and it must have many features that make it usable in many ways. Currently, that's not the case. 

One thing I can say that is very positive is that it is much better than the other tools. But regarding usage, it's not perfect. It's missing everything around the tuning and usage.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Nexus Repository, version 2, for about 10 years or so. We switched to the Nexus 3 a little bit more than one year ago, along with Nexus Lifecycle.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Nexus 3 is not yet stable enough. IQ is perfectly stable. We have not had any stability issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is currently not scalable. While we haven't encountered a scalability issue regarding Nexus IQ directly, but for maintenance and configuring there is a scalability issue because developers need to make modifications and reports. And those modifications must follow our workflow model, things like a code review and evaluation by a manager. Currently, this is not possible. They cannot make a request for changes in the software. There is no solution to contribute changes and that is a scalability issue. That is with respect to Nexus Lifecycle.

With Nexus Repository, we had a lot of scalability issues with version 2. With the new version 3, we tried to set up a certain type of architecture but it is not available. So scalability is an issue regarding the load, not the amount of data. We have been using Nexus software for 10 years now with very big storage and that is not an issue. But when the number of users increases, that's an issue. We are an open-source company, so we have many consumers of our artifacts, and that means there can be a heavy load on the projects.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Twelve years ago we tried other solutions, like Artifactory. But we quickly moved to Nexus. We may change the solution in the next month or year. It's a possibility. It depends on the pricing and whether the solution provides HA.

The main purpose of using the IQ solution was to have an efficient solution to spot and block security risks. We tested and compared a lot of solutions and found that IQ was the best and the most evolved. But a lot of it is not completed, it's still a prototype, from my point of view. That means it cannot yet be used exactly the way it is marketed. There are some features that are missing. But compared to other products on the market, it appeared to be the most accurate one.

How was the initial setup?

My team was responsible for setting up the whole system. It was complex in the end because the way we wanted to set it up was not yet defined. It was not designed to be used the way we want to use it.

For IQ, the deployment only took a few days, but it's not usable yet. We set it but we are not really using it as we wanted to. For Nexus Repository, it took many months and many issues are not resolved yet. The fact is that IQ is not very useful without the repository.

Internally, we had a deployment plan, but a lot of those requirements were not met by Sonatype and we have had to work with support to make it work. But there are still remaining issues.

What about the implementation team?

Sonatype assisted us with the initial setup and their help was average. It was pretty good most of the time, but sometimes it was not because we were outside of their defined environment. I feel that they are a little bit behind in this field, that they are missing modern requirements. So their support was pretty good, but not enough.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Artifactory by JFrog. It also seemed very good, very similar. The other solutions we tried were not as good. Nexus and Artifactory were the finalists.

At the time, the UI was a difference between them, but that is not true anymore. The two are very similar now. The integration with development tools was very important; the ability to implement GitHubs, and so on. The fact of being open-source is very important to us; being able to contribute to and look at the code for reliability and quality.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to look at your needs and the features the solution provides. In the last version they released, we were a little bit disappointed by the difference between the marketing and the reality. The product was not yet finished compared to how it was described. Aside from this bad aspect, it's mainly about good practices and looking at common, standard practices. Start with the basics and common stuff and try to evolve it eventually and change some things. Don't try doing something too much complex at the beginning.

The tool's default policies and the policy engine seem pretty good. We have been using it for so long that we are using our own policies. Regarding Lifecycle, we have not gone far enough with it to have a real opinion on it, although it looks consistent.

In terms of its integrations into developer tooling like IDEs, Git repos, and automated pull requests, we have not used it enough. It is a little bit too soon for us. It's a goal, but we want it to be done in a transparent way through the automation. It's not used yet because all of the developers are free to choose the tools they use, the IDEs, and only a few people are looking at this kind of stuff.

Internally, we have about 50 developers for Nexus Repository. We have five to 10 specialists for the Nexus IQ. We don't know many customers there are for Nexus Repository in our public sphere.

It is used across the whole company. It's a central tool and most people in the company cannot work without it. Everybody uses it either directly or indirectly or by proxy. Some people use it without knowing it, but all the technical people in the company are using it, so around 150 depend on it.

For deployment and maintenance of the solution there have been three people on my team doing this, but that was not the only responsibility of the team and they were not enough. We spent a lot of time setting up automation, including maintenance and deployment, and that made it scalable for three people in maintenance. We had to work on this. It was not provided natively, but now three people are enough.

I would rate IQ at six out of ten. That's very good compared to other products on the market.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
BS
Application Security at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Gets our developers to think about the third-party libraries they're pulling into the system, in terms of security

Pros and Cons

  • "The component piece, where you can analyze the component, is the most valuable. You can pull the component up and you can look at what versions are bad, what versions are clean, and what versions haven't been reported on yet. You can make decisions based off of that, in terms of where you want to go. I like that it puts all that information right there in a window for you."
  • "One thing that it is lacking, one thing I don't like, is that when you label something or add a status to it, you do it as an overall function, but you can't go back and isolate a library that you want to call out individually and remove a status from it. It's still lacking some functionality-type things for controlling labels and statuses. I'd like to be able to apply it across all of my apps, but then turn it off for one, and I can't do that."

What is our primary use case?

We have it implemented and integrated into our CI/CD pipeline, for when we do builds. Every time we do a build, Jenkins reaches out and kicks off a scan from the IQ Server.

We use it to automate open source governance and minimize risk. All of our third-party libraries, everything, comes through our Nexus, which is what the IQ Server and Jenkins are hooked into. Everything being developed for our big application comes through that tool.

We have Nexus Firewall on, but it's only on for the highest level of vulnerabilities. We have the firewall sitting in front to make sure we don't let anything real bad into the system.

Our environment is your standard, three-tiered environment. We have the developers develop in their Dev and Test environments, and as the code moves through each environment — Test and a QA environment — it goes through a build process. We build each time we deploy.

We're addressing anything that is a nine and above. If it's a 10, we don't let it into our system; the firewall server stops it. If we have nines we'll let it in, but I'll tag the developers and they'll have to do a little triage to figure out if the problem that is being reported is something we utilize in our system — if it's something that affects us — and if it's not, we flag it as such and let it go. We either waive it or I'll acknowledge it depending on how much it's used throughout the system and how many different components are being built with that bad library.

How has it helped my organization?

It really hasn't an improved way we function, but it's helped us to get the developers to start thinking about the security posture that we want to have, going forward, with applications that we develop in-house. It's helping to educate the developers who don't think about these things when they're throwing code together.

It has also brought open source intelligence and policy enforcement across our software development life cycle. That's what we're moving to. We're not 100 percent there, but that's the goal. It's getting the developers to actually think about the third-party libraries they're pulling into the system and to think of them in a different light, in terms of the security aspects of them. I was a developer for 20 years before I got into security. As a developer, you don't always think about the security aspect of things. You're looking for a library that does X, Y, and Z. Lifecycle helps keep that security issue front and center, because as you're bringing it into the system, or as you're doing the build, it's breaking a build or it's doing other things.

It's helping to block undesirable open source components from entering our development lifecycle at least once or twice with every round of releases or library upgrades.

It has also improved the time that it takes to release secure apps to market, although we haven't put a number on that. 

And we have seen an increase in developer productivity because the tool allows them to go out and look for the libraries that aren't affected, or that don't have all the negatives in them. The component piece and the IQ Server aspect has saved time. Without this solution in place, the developers wouldn't care. If this tool wasn't in their face, making them care, a lot would slip by. This is our way to make sure we're watching the gate. Without it, we would be in a much worse spot in terms of exposure, risk, and data exfiltration.

What is most valuable?

The component piece, where you can analyze the component, is the most valuable. You can pull the component up and you can look at what versions are bad, what versions are clean, and what versions haven't been reported on yet. You can make decisions based off of that, in terms of where you want to go. I like that it puts all that information right there in a window for you.

The default policies are a good start. Within our environment, I tweaked each level to have its own policy, just because of the control it gives us. It provides us with the flexibility we need.

The data quality is pretty good. I have not had any major problems. It helps us solve problems faster.

It integrates well with the existing DevOps tools. We plugged it right in. It was an "after-the-fact" thing that we added into our pipeline and it integrated quite easily. We use Jenkins and it was a nice fit with that. We don't have it creating tickets yet, so we don't have it integrated with a ticketing system, but it is integrated with our Jenkins platform.

What needs improvement?

One thing that it is lacking, one thing I don't like, is that when you label something or add a status to it, you do it as an overall function, but you can't go back and isolate a library that you want to call out individually and remove a status from it. It's still lacking some functionality-type things for controlling labels and statuses. I'd like to be able to apply it across all of my apps, but then turn it off for one, and I can't do that. I have to go to all 100 apps and do it individually in order to get something on each one, and I don't like that. I should be able to add it as a group and remove it as a single.

Everything else has been really good.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle for a year and a half, going on two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. There have been no problems that I'm aware of.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's handling a lot of code but if we wanted to roll out more servers and do more build outs, I wouldn't think that it would involve much more than just adding a few servers. So the scalability should be good.

It is being fully utilized in our build process — where our applications are built and deployed. Where we're lacking use is getting the developers to get it plugged into their Eclipse environments and actually using it on a more regular basis. That's where the struggle has been. That's not the tool, that's more an issue with our developer management side. The adoption is just not happening at the pace it should, because of a whole multitude of other things that are going on right now in our company.

The only other thing we might eventually want to do is get it hooked into a ticketing system where it could create tickets if there are libraries that are bad. Outside of that, it's pretty much integrated into our pipeline as far as we're going to integrate it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their tech support is pretty good. I only know of one or two instances where the gentleman in our company who does the upgrades had a question, and they were answered and resolved quite quickly.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

As I was moving into my security role, the pipeline team was already looking at something and it played nice with Nexus. It was an extra add-on piece or something like that. They were the ones who actually introduced it. I liked it and pushed it along.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward and easy. I didn't set it up but I know there weren't any problems. It took less than a day and it took one person to deploy it. We had one person, at that time, setting up the servers. 

Sonatype came in and did a little demo for us and, while they were here, we got the information set up. It was really easy. We didn't have any major issues that I'm aware of.

In terms of maintenance, we just went through a library upgrade and that was done by one person. It took about a day. We have one person who knows the administrative aspect of it at our company. He works on the pipeline team. I'm on the security aspects and the security policies.

Overall, we have over 50 people using it across our organization. They are developers, architects, managers, and in security.

What was our ROI?

I'm not sure it's saving us anything. I don't have a way to gauge that as far as return on investment goes.

The return on investment for us is that we have the process in place that has our security aspects tied into it. That's more the type of return on investment we were looking for, and it is doing that. We're still in the early stages.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not familiar with the pricing in detail, but I believe it was pretty reasonably priced, compared to the market.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest thing we've learned from using it is that, from a development point of view, we just never realized what types of badness are in those third-party libraries that we pull in and use. It has been an eye-opener as to just how bad they can be.

As far as Lifecycle's integration into developer tooling like IDEs, Git Repos, etc., I don't set that up. But I have not heard of any problems from our guys, from the team that set that stuff up.

I like the tool overall and would rate it at about nine out of 10. There are a few UI-type things that I don't like, that I would like to work a different way. But overall, the tool is good.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Ryan Carrie
Security Analyst at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Enables me to choose a vulnerable library and see versions that don't have any listed vulnerabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "The policy engine is really cool. It allows you to set different types of policy violations, things such as the age of the component and the quality: Is it something that's being maintained? Those are all really great in helping get ahead of problems before they arise. You might otherwise end up with a library that's end-of-life and is not going to get any more fixes."
  • "The biggest thing that I have run into, which there are ways around, is being able to easily access the auditing data from a third-party tool; being able to pull all of that into one place in a cohesive manner where you can report off of that. We've had a little bit of a challenge with that. There are a number of things available to work with, to help with that in the tool, but we just haven't explored them yet."

What is our primary use case?

Our use case for Nexus is to monitor all of our dependencies and the main thing we're using it for is tracking vulnerabilities listed against those.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives alerts for new vulnerabilities before our clients do, so we have time to review them, audit them, and determine how we need to proceed with resolving the issues before we get any client communication.

Before we had this in place, we had a much more reactive approach to CVE listings.   Since integrating this, and as we've refined our process over the past eight months or a year, we have moved to a proactive approach allowing auditing and decisions on mitigation before any incoming client submissions.

In addition, it has brought open-source intelligence and policy enforcement across our software development lifecycle. As a component of the lifecycle, it gives us more controls in place. As far as bringing in dependencies goes, we're able to see what a dependency is introducing, from a security and licensing perspective, before we publish a release to the public. So within the build stage, if we pull in a new dependency, Nexus will very quickly tell us whether it has issues or not. And we catch it. It scans in the build stages; we have it checking our staging where we're doing our regression; and it's also monitoring our released branches and letting us know if issues are found in our releases. It really does hit all stages of that lifecycle.

What is most valuable?

I like the JIRA integration, as well as the email notifications. They allow me to see things more in real-time without having to monitor the application directly. So as new items come in, it will generate a JIRA task and it will send me an email, so I know to go in and have a look at what is being alerted.

The policy engine is really cool. It allows you to set different types of policy violations, things such as the age of the component and the quality: Is it something that's being maintained? Those are all really great in helping get ahead of problems before they arise. You might otherwise end up with a library that's end-of-life and is not going to get any more fixes. This can really help you to try to get ahead of things, before you end up in a situation where you're refactoring code to remove a library. The policy engine absolutely provides the flexibility we need. We are rolling with the default policy, for the most part. We use the default policy and added on and adjusted it a little bit. But, out-of-the-box, the default policy is pretty good.

The data quality is good. The vulnerabilities are very detailed and include links to get in and review the actual postings from the reporters. There have been relatively few that I would consider false positives, which is cool. I haven't played with the licensing aspect that much, so I don't have any comment on the licensing data. One of the cool things about the data that's available within the application is that you can choose your vulnerable library and you can pull up the component information and see which versions of that library are available, that don't have any listed vulnerabilities. I've found myself using that a lot this week as we are preparing for a new library upgrade push.

The data quality definitely helps us to solve problems faster. I can pull up a library and see, "Okay, these versions are non-vulnerable," and raise my upgrade task. The most valuable part of the data quality is that it really helps me fit this into our risk management or our vulnerability management policy. It helps me determine: 

  • Are we affected by this and how bad is it? 
  • How quickly do we need to fix this? Or are we not affected?
  • Is there any way to leverage it? 

Using that data quality to perform targeted, manual testing in order to verify that something isn't a direct issue and that we can designate for upgrade for the next release means that we don't have to do any interim releases.

As for automating open-source governance and minimizing risk, it does so in the sense of auditing vulnerabilities, thus far. It's still something of a reactive approach within the tool itself, but it comes in early enough in the lifecycle that it does provide those aspects.

What needs improvement?

The biggest thing that I have run into, which there are ways around, is being able to easily access the auditing data from a third-party tool; being able to pull all of that into one place in a cohesive manner where you can report off of that. We've had a little bit of a challenge with that. There are a number of things available to work with, to help with that in the tool, but we just haven't explored them yet.

For how long have I used the solution?

We're going on our second year using the solution.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've never had any stability issues with the application. I haven't performed any of the upgrades, but we've never had any downtime and we've never had any issues with notifications or an inability to access the information we need.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is fantastic. I reached out with a suspected false negative and had a response within hours, and within the next day they had determined that, yes, it was a false negative and, that same day, the notification came in when they had resolved the issue. So within less than 48 hours of reporting a false negative, I had a full turnaround and the result returned in the tool.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before IQ server we used an open-source solution called OWASP Dependency-Check. We wanted something a little more plug-and-play, something a little more intuitive to configure and automate.

How was the initial setup?

For the initial deployment, it was in place within a couple of days of starting the trial.

We did have an implementation strategy sketched out as far as requirements for success during the PoC go. The requirements were that it would easily integrate into our pipeline, so that it was very automated and hands-off. Part of the implementation strategy was that we expected to use Jenkins, which is our main build-management tool.

In terms of the integrations of the solution into developer tooling like IDEs, Git repos, etc., I wasn't really part of the team that was doing the integration into the pipeline, but I did work with the team. We didn't have any problems integrating it. And from what I did see, it looks like a very simple integration, just adding it straight into Jenkins. It integrated quite quickly into the environment.

At this point we haven't configured it to do any blocking or build-blocking just yet. But that's something we'll be reviewing, now that we have a good process.

What was our ROI?

We have absolutely seen ROI with Sonatype. The more proactive approach is definitely a return on investment. It significantly lowers the turnaround for responding to incoming issues. It also empowered our support staff to be able to pass along audit results without having to loop in the security team directly. There is a much lower overhead involved when doing it that way.

Also, the ability to better manage our vulnerability management by getting the detailed information from the scan results or the listings, and being able to audit them thoroughly and test them really helps with development resources in our case. We do not have to cram in a bunch of upgrades just for the sake of upgrading if we're constrained elsewhere. It really helps prioritize dev resources.

I don't know if it has directly saved time in releasing secure apps to market. It has definitely made everything more efficient, but unless things are critical and can definitely be leveraged, we don't necessarily delay a release.

The upgrade processes are definitely a quicker turnaround because it allows us to actually target versions that are not vulnerable. But it is hard to quantify whether, in the grand scheme of things, our developers are more productive as developers.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at things like Black Duck, White Source, and White Hat.

The biggest issue, and this is why we went with Nexus, is that there were more results and there were far fewer false positives than in the other tools.

What other advice do I have?

Take some time configuring your notifications and your JIRA integration properly, along with the policy tweaks. As you integrate and as you first deploy the tool, don't block any builds until you start to catch up on any issues that may be there. Really spend some time with that policy review and make sure it encompasses and aligns with your vulnerability management policy appropriately.

It is incorporated in all of our software branches, and we keep our most recent end-of-life branch active in it just to monitor for critical issues, so we can notify the community to upgrade. We may also add our new mobile application to it.

Nexus Lifecycle is definitely a nine out of 10. I would say 10 if it were a little easier to get the audit information out. Again, there are ways around that so I am not taking off much for that. It's a solid nine. The results are amazing. The quality of the data coming back is great. The audit interface is easy to use.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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