Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Review

Enables our developers to proactively select components that don't have a vulnerability or a licensing issue


What is our primary use case?

We're using it to change the way we do our open-source. We used to actually save our open-source and now we're moving towards a firewall approach where we are proxy to Maven repos or NPM repos, and we are using those proxies so that we can keep ourselves from pulling in known bad components at build time. We're able to be more proactive on our builds.

How has it helped my organization?

It's allowed our developers, instead of waiting till the last minute before a release, to know well ahead of time that the components are bad and they are able to proactively select different components that don't have a vulnerability or a licensing issue.

Also, the solution's data quality seems to be good. We haven't had any issues. We're definitely able to solve problems a lot faster and get answers to the developers a lot faster.

And Nexus Lifecycle integrates well with your existing DevOps tools. We were able to put it right into our build pipelines. We use Jenkins and we're able to stop the builds right in the actual build process whenever there's a quarantined item.

In addition, it has brought open-source intelligence and policy enforcement across our SDLC. It has totally changed the way we do our process. We have been able to speed up the approval process of OSS. Given the policies, we're able to say, "These are okay to use." We've been able to put in guardrails to allow development to move faster using the product. Our pipelines are automated and it is definitely a key component of our automation.

Finally, the developers like it because they're able to see and fix their issues right away. That has improved. For example, let's say a developer had to come to us and said, "Hey, scan this. I want to use it," and we scan it and it has a vulnerability. They've already asked us to do something that they could have done through the firewall product or Lifecycle. Suppose it takes us a day and then we turn around and say, "Okay, here are the results," and we say they can use this version of that product. They've got to download it and see if it works. So we're already saving a day there. But then let's say they have to send it off to security to get approval on something that security would probably approve anyways. It's just they didn't know security would approve it. They would have to wait two or three days for security to come back and give them an answer. So we're looking at possibly saving four days on a piece of code.

What is most valuable?

The proxy repository is probably the most valuable feature to us because it allows us to be more proactive in our builds. We're no longer tied to saving components to our repository.

The default policies are good, they're a good start. They're a great place to start when you are looking to build your own policies. We mostly use the default policies, perhaps with changes here and there. It's deceptively easy to understand. It definitely provides the flexibility we need. There's a lot more stuff that you can get into. It definitely requires training to properly use the policies.

We like the integrations into developer tooling. We use the Lifecycle piece for some of our developers and it integrates easily into Eclipse and into Visual Studio code. It's a good product for that.

What needs improvement?

It would be helpful if it had a more detailed view of what has been quarantined, for people who don't have Lifecycle licenses. Other than that, it's pretty good.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for about a year now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been great. We haven't had any issues in the year that we've had it running. So far, so good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's probably not that scalable in its current state. That has to do with the way that the applications are designed. I think they're working on that when they start working on the HA solutions. For Nexus and Nexus IQ I think that will change. But right now, it's not very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Sonatype's technical support for this solution has been great. They answer my questions, even my stupid questions. I might be asking them, "Hey, how do I do this? I can't find it." and they'll say "Oh, it's just this button right here." They never make me feel too bad about it.

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

We didn't have something that does what a firewall does. We used a different repository and used Nexus IQ to do the enforcement of policies by scanning OSS's individually. It's nice having it happen automatically on the repositories now.

How was the initial setup?

The directions on the site are good. Once you follow those, you're good. But if you're looking to set it up by just clicking around, you will probably have a hard time figuring it out. But it's easy once you know what you're doing.

From inserting the license file to proxying my first repos, it took about an hour, at the most.

We were doing a conversion. So the implementation strategy, if we're just talking about firewall, was that we already had Nexus. We bought Nexus and the firewall at the same time. Once Nexus was installed and set up, it was a matter of importing our repositories from Artifactory Pro and then connecting the proxy repositories. I can't say there was any "super-strategy." It was just turning it on, getting it going, and then moving the developers over to it using their settings, XML, etc. And we had to set our NPM RC files to point to our new repository using the firewall and, for those repositories that have a firewall, they had to be turned on with them.

What about the implementation team?

We did it ourselves.

What was our ROI?

We don't have any evidence that the solution improves the time it takes us to release secure apps to market because we haven't released an app yet, but I'm sure it will.

Just the dev happiness is already a type of ROI, in addition to how fast they're able to go using it.

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

We pay yearly.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I looked at a few others, like Black Duck, and I was not impressed by them. I didn't get a chance to actually use Black Duck but everything I read said that Black Duck came up with more false positives than Sonatype.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to use it as soon as you can. Get it implemented into your environment as quickly as you can because it's going to help. Once you get it, get your devs on it because they're going to thank you for it.

All of our development is happening using the firewall. All our build pipelines are going through there. As far as licensed users go who can look at Nexus, we've got about 35. They range from devs to security personnel to DevOps people.

All our applications are moving over to it, so that's definitely going to increase the usage. We've got about another 200 applications on the board that will come into our greenfield process so they will be pulled straight into that repository using the firewall. It's definitely going to keep growing.

For deployment and maintenance of this solution there is really just our DevOps team of about four people, but I'm primarily responsible.

I would rate it a 10 out of 10. It does everything I need it to do.

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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