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Snyk Competitors and Alternatives

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Evan Gertis
Penetration Tester at NetFoundry
Real User
Top 20
The scanning process helps to significantly improve our standards and best practices

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution's ability to help create secure software is very valuable. We're a zero-trust networking company so we want to have the ability to say that we're practicing security seriously. Having something like Veracode allows us to have confidence when we're speaking to people about our product that we can back up what we're doing with a certification, with a reputable platform, and say, "This is what we're using to scan an application. Here's the number of vulnerabilities that are on an application. And here's the risk that we're accepting.""
  • "The JIRA integration automation aspect of it could be improved significantly. We want to have a way to create tickets that are going to allow people to work through those flaws that we're finding. We don't want people to feel like they're missing out on something or that they're not following directions in the right way."

What is our primary use case?

We use software composition analysis and static code analysis. We use a software composition analysis component to identify third-party vulnerabilities in our software. And then we use the static composition analysis to analyze flaws within our application on the front-end and the back-end.

We also use Veracode for static composition and software composition analysis and static code analysis because we need a way to identify vulnerabilities and flaws in the application and relay that information to our developers.

The manual penetration testing is not really used as much.

Having a centralized view is probably one of the most important aspects of the platform. We need to have some way of looking at all the flaws and all the vulnerabilities in one centralized view. 

Having this has improved our visibility into application status. It's very important because it's the way that we communicate flaws to our developers. And without it, we'd be missing out on an opportunity to explain what seems to be fixed and what needs to be managed.

How has it helped my organization?

Veracode helps us to reduce security debt. We're finding that issues like cross-site scripting injection, injection, and those sorts of vulnerabilities are getting addressed more quickly. And we don't really have to worry about where those are, whether that's being fixed or not because we can see them in the platform and we can see the score increase every time those get fixed.

The solution's ability to help create secure software is very valuable. We're a zero-trust networking company so we want to have the ability to say that we're practicing security seriously. Having something like Veracode allows us to have confidence when we're speaking to people about our product that we can back up what we're doing with a certification, with a reputable platform, and say, "This is what we're using to scan an application. Here's the number of vulnerabilities that are on an application. And here's the risk that we're accepting."

Using Veracode SCA helped increase productivity for our security and development teams. Every week we do a vulnerability report and we look at the flaws that were reported by Veracode. Our process essentially goes by meeting with developers, looking at the report, finding out which flaws are the most important ones to fix first. After we've done that, we set up a sprint and we have developers work out two to three of those tickets until they're complete. We've done that now for about six months. We increased our application score from a pretty low level all the way up to Veracode Level Three, so above 90. We don't have any high severity or high vulnerabilities and we don't have any mediums and applications anymore. Following that process is extremely helpful. We also utilize the Veracode dashboards as well. We use the Veracode dashboard to monitor our progress in triaging flaws. Then we want to make sure that things are actually getting fixed. And then we can count those metrics by looking at those dashboards.

It has definitely improved our security posture and communication with developers. I think that now developers are taking our security seriously, whereas before it was something that was always important, but there was no real way of actually tracking what was getting done. Now that we have the tool that we can use to track what's getting done, we're making objectives and setting goals, and working towards this.

What is most valuable?

We use the screening process to help our security professionals and developers fix flaws in the code. It's probably the most utilized security tool that we have at our company.

Scanning with Veracode SCA reduces scan times by a few seconds. It also helps to increase our fixed-rate by 14%.

The scanning process helps to significantly improve our standards and best practices.

The mitigation recommendations provided by the scanning engine of Veracode are important for developers to understand. They need to know how to fix things. So just giving them a blank vulnerability and saying, "this is the issue," doesn't really help. They need something that tells them how to fix the flaw and where to fix the flaw.

Veracode helped us with certification and audit. We're working towards Veracode Level Four right now, we've achieved Veracode Level Three status, and we're looking forward to reaching the next certification level. The goal of that is to eventually have all of our third-party vulnerabilities and mitigate them so that we're in good standing and we don't have anything coming from a third-party library that could possibly compromise our application. Once we get to that fourth certification Veracode Level Four, that would be great.

What needs improvement?

The JIRA integration automation aspect of it could be improved significantly. We want to have a way to create tickets that are going to allow people to work through those flaws that we're finding. We don't want people to feel like they're missing out on something or that they're not following directions in the right way. And we have a process in place where there's a set of tickets and people can work on them. It just seems that people are more focused. They tend to pay attention to what they're doing and there's accountability. So having a more rigorous JIRA integration would be very helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Veracode for over a year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable product, and I think that the team at Veracode is constantly putting in more effort into trying to make it into a better platform. They take feedback seriously. They constantly improve the platform. They are working towards adding features that developers are requesting. So it's always changing, there's always something new being added to it, which is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Large enterprises are probably following a very different practice from what we're following. I think that smaller organizations are going to have an easier time using something like Veracode because of the flexibility of the different API tools that they have available. An enterprise might have a more complicated time scaling it. The issue with that is that the enterprise is probably going to use a proxy and having to deal with the networking issues, it's going to become very difficult for that to scale. However, in a small company, those situations are mitigated pretty easily by getting two or three people together. So we move through those very fast, we're extremely agile. We're always forward moving. We're always rapidly developing. I think each company has its own specific way of handling scalability, it's always been easy just because we're a very collaborative team. We know how to work with each other and we're always receptive to each other's feedback. I can't really speak for other companies, but I can tell you that we find it pretty scalable. That's really just our culture though.

I run all of the administration and I direct people in what needs to be done. So, that's about it. In total, about seven people are really using it.

We are using it to its fullest extent. Even the manual penetration testing aspect of the platform is very useful. The manual penetration testing aspect of the platform is something that would be nice to incorporate because the cost is significantly less than other security companies. For example, InfoSec is about $3,000 more than Veracode, for any organization that wants an all-encompassing security platform. But what we get with Veracode is a platform that provides software composition analysis, static code analysis, Docker Container Scanning, manual penetration testing results, and dashboards that show the progress for moving through all of those issues. And that's probably the most important aspect of the platform.

Once they introduced the prebuilt dashboards that really reduced the amount of friction with upper management. Typically, my mentor said that almost all issues in any business organization come down to personal relationships and opinions, so when Veracode introduced those dashboards, it removed the ability for people to give opinions about what was being done and what wasn't being done.

We're driven by facts as people, so we can look at those metrics and say, "This is what's actually getting done." And there's no ambiguity. Then really that just removes all opinion from any sort of conversation.

How are customer service and support?

They monitor all of the conversations in the platform on the Veracode community. My rep is very responsive. He answers community questions. He votes up really important questions and the issues are getting answered quickly. That's the most important part because then the business, if we run into an issue on Monday and we spend two or three days trying to debug the issue, we haven't figured it out. You can go to a place and actually get an answer. Whereas some organizations try to use a tool that's custom made and they're going to run into an issue where it's intractable. It can't be solved. However, with Veracode, customer support has always been able to find some sort of solution. Anytime I've ever had a problem, it's always been resolved 100%. There's never been a time where it's gone unresolved. I can't say that about every tool.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We used a combination of things. We use Sonar, Veracode, and JFrog Artifactory just give us a diverse picture of what vulnerabilities are in the application and how we can fix them. Veracode seems to always provide the best feedback. Other platforms really aren't at the same level, they provide reports and those reports are usually very static and they're not very informative. Whereas with Veracode, the platform is very interactive. You can tell that it was designed for users and Sonar is the same way. Sonar is very static. Even in Bitbucket, you can now scan your code with Snyk.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. The best way to handle it is to get the Java JAR file for the upload, use the terminal on any given laptop, like a Mac or a Linux, and create a small script that uploads a couple of JAR files up to the platform.

Once that's complete, once you have a proof of concept that works with just a couple of lines, then the next step is to move that into a pipeline. Preferably something like Jenkins. Jenkins allows people to run scripts. You can just run Dash straight in a pipeline. Once you have that setup, you pull all that down into the Jenkins pipeline.

Once that's done, you now have all of the binaries that need to be scanned, and you can set the pipeline to run a scan on a weekly cadence. If you want to take it a step further, you could actually move that into a build pipeline and really follow shift-left practices where you're moving the security aspect of the development cycle further up the pipeline. Flaws are being found before they go into production rather than after they're in production. So that would be my recommended approach for working through that problem.

I went through and I actually added container scanning now, so in Veracode at this point, we're running software composition analysis, static code analysis, and on top of that Docker container scanning. So it's a pretty big product. The thing that would be more helpful is better Jira automation since that aspect keeps track of what's getting done. Then essentially you have a full pipeline setup that automates the generation of tickets, scanning, and just takes care of itself. It's a self-service security tool.

The setup took around a week.

What was our ROI?

We have absolutely seen ROI. We have buy-in from upper management and developers. We have a lot of people who are very excited about what we're doing and we're working towards that.

We've personally seen a major decrease in vulnerabilities and we've seen an increase in awareness for security. So people actually have conversations about security now, and they're taking it seriously. It's no longer an issue that gets swept under the rug. I think a lot of smaller organizations would benefit from having a tool that showed them what is being done, as opposed to someone just saying this is what we're doing if they can see the results that really improve. So, once we added that, we saw a decrease in vulnerabilities, we decreased our third-party vulnerabilities from a pretty significant level and attended the three down to single digits, which is huge for any organization.

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

The thing that I'll go back to is when one of my mentors said to me "Evan, security is a critical aspect of any organization. People don't always believe in it. And the best way to sell it is to explain what could go wrong." So when we compare what could go wrong, having a third-party vulnerability, like a graph library, such as the one that Equifax used, which led to a $3 million lawsuit, and their reputation was destroyed. When you compare that to paying $8,000 for an application, it's a no-brainer. Once the reputation of an organization has been tarnished, that's it. The whole thing is completely over. Really everyone loses faith and once people lose trust, it's almost impossible to get people to believe in a vision.

It's definitely worth it considering what could go wrong. The DevOps Mantra is to always be prepared for what could go wrong. Most things are going to go wrong.

Having a static cost gives people confidence. And once people start using it, if the price changes, then that's going to be dependent on how much they're getting out of it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I definitely looked at other security platforms, but Veracode seems to have the most performance.

With Xray, essentially you upload your builds, once you've uploaded your build, you index it. And after you index it, it'll give you a security report. Now, the thing with that is you have to make a policy, you get a report, the report comes out as a PDF and the PDF doesn't really tell you how to fix it. It tells you the fixed version.

The first path of that really was just creating a pipeline that ran a curl request over to Artifactory to generate that PDF. And then on Monday mornings, that was automated. So management can go in, look at that PDF and say, "Oh, okay, these are the things that are happening in our application." Whereas Veracode, is fully automated, it runs the full scan and then creates the tickets. So that's the contrast. 

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to start with meeting with people from Veracode. Once you meet with the team from Veracode, the best way to handle that is to start asking questions and identifying the things that would be of value so that an organization doesn't start out by paying too much money. Then you're moving away from that being too scared of what the outcome is. I think once they go in and they have a meeting with people and they can actually discuss what they want to do, that's the first step towards planning out how the platform will be used.

I would rate it a ten out of ten. 

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.
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ITCS user
Software Architect at Alfresco Software
Real User
Top 10
Prevents vulnerable code from going into production, but the user interface is dated and needs considerable work

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution's ability to prevent vulnerable code from going into production is perfectly fine. It delivers, at least for the reports that we have been checking on Java and JavaScript. It has reported things that were helpful."
  • "Veracode has plenty of data. The problem is the information on the dashboards of Veracode, as the user interface is not great. It's not immediately usable. Most of the time, the best way to use it is to just create issues and put them in JIRA... But if I were a startup, and only had products with a good user interface, I wouldn't use Veracode because the UI is very dated."
  • "Another problem we have is that, while it is integrated with single sign-on—we are using Okta—the user interface is not great. That's especially true for a permanent link of a report of a page. If you access it, it goes to the normal login page that has nothing that says "Log in with single sign-on," unlike other software as a service that we use. It's quite bothersome because it means that we have to go to the Okta dashboard, find the Veracode link, and log in through it. Only at that point can we go to the permanent link of the page we wanted to access."

What is our primary use case?

The use case is that we have quite a few projects on GitHub. As we are a consulting company, some of these projects are open source and others are enterprise and private. We do security investigating for these projects. We scan the repository for both the static analysis—to find things that might be dangerous—and we use the Software Composition Analysis as well. We get notifications when we are using some open source library that has a known vulnerability and we have to upgrade it. We can plan accordingly.

We are using the software as a service.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved the way our organization functions mostly because we can perfect the security issues on our products. That means our product managers can plan accordingly regarding when to fix something based on the severity, and plan fixes for specific releases. So, it has improved our internal process. It has also improved the image of the company from the outside, because they can see in the release notes of our products that we take security seriously, and that we are timely in the way that we address issues.

The solution has helped with developer security training because when we open a ticket with information coming from Veracode, it explains, for example, that some code path or patterns that we have used might be dangerous. That knowledge wasn't there before. That has really helped developers to improve in terms of awareness of security.

What is most valuable?

The feature that we use the most is the static analysis, by uploading the artifacts. We have two types of applications. They are either Java Server applications using Spring Boot or JavaScript frontend applications. We scan both using the static analysis. Before, we used to do the software composition on one side and the static analysis. For about a year now, we have had a proper security architect who's in charge of organizing the way that we scan for security. He suggested that we only use the static analysis because the software composition has been integrated. So in the reports, we can also see the version of the libraries that have vulnerabilities and that need to be upgraded.

It is good in terms of the efficiency of creating secure software.

My team only does cloud-native applications. Ultimately, the part that we are interested in, in testing, works fine.

There are some false positives, like any products that we have tried in this area, but slightly less. I would trust Veracode more than the others. For example, we had quite a few issues with Snyk which was much worse in terms of false positives, when we tested it for open source.

Also, the solution's ability to prevent vulnerable code from going into production is perfectly fine. It delivers, at least for the reports that we have been checking on Java and JavaScript. It has reported things that were helpful.

What needs improvement?

What could improve a lot is the user interface because it's quite dated. And in general, as we are heavy users of GitHub, the integration with the user interface of GitHub could be improved as well. 

There is also room for improvement in the reporting in conjunction with releases. Every time we release software to the outside world, we also need to provide an inventory of the libraries that we are using, with the current state of vulnerabilities, so that it is clear. And if we can't upgrade a library, we need to document a workaround and that we are not really touched by the vulnerability. For all of this reporting, the product could offer a little bit more in that direction. Otherwise, we just use information and we drop these reports manually.

Another problem we have is that, while it is integrated with single sign-on—we are using Okta—the user interface is not great. That's especially true for a permanent link of a report of a page. If you access it, it goes to the normal login page that has nothing that says "Log in with single sign-on," unlike other software as a service that we use. It's quite bothersome because it means that we have to go to the Okta dashboard, find the Veracode link, and log in through it. Only at that point can we go to the permanent link of the page we wanted to access.

Veracode has plenty of data. The problem is the information on the dashboards of Veracode, as the user interface is not great. It's not immediately usable. Most of the time, the best way to use it is to just create issues and put them in JIRA. It provides visibility into the SAST, DAST and SCA, but honestly, all the information then travels outside of the system and it goes to JIRA.

In the end, we are an enterprise software company and we have some products that are not as modern as others. So we are used to user interfaces that are not great. But if I were a startup, and only had products with a good user interface, I wouldn't use Veracode because the UI is very dated.

Also, we're not using the pipeline scan. We upload using the Java API agent and do a standard scan. We don't use the pipeline scan because it only has output on the user interface and it gets lost. When we do it as part of our CI process, all the results are only available in the log of the CI. In our case we are using Travis, and it requires someone to go there and check things in the build logs. That's an area where the product could improve, because if this information was surfaced, say, in the checks of the code we test on GitHub—as happens with other static analysis tools that we use on our code that check for syntax errors and mapping—in that case, it would be much more usable. As it is, it is not enough.

The management of the false positives is better than in other tools, but still could improve in terms of usability, especially when working with multiple branches. Some of the issues that we had already marked as "To be ignored" because they were either false positives or just not applicable in our context come down, again, to the problem of the user interface. It should have been better thought out to make it easier for someone who is reviewing the list of the findings to mark the false positives easily. For example, there were some vulnerabilities mentioning parts of libraries that we weren't actually using, even if we were including them for different reasons, and in that case we just ignore those items.

We have reported all of these things to product management because we have direct contact with Veracode, and hopefully they are going to be fixed. Obviously, these are things that will improve the usability of the product and are really needed. I'm totally happy to help them and support them in going in the right direction, meaning the right direction from my perspective.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used Veracode for quite a long time now, about two years. I have been working here for three years. In my first year, the company was using a different product for security and then it standardized on Veracode because every department had its own before that. There was consolidation with Veracode.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. What I have seen in the stats is that there is downtime of the service a little too often, but it's not something, as a service, where you really need that level of availability on. So I'm not really bothered by that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We don't have to do anything to scale, because it's SaaS. 

We started with a smaller number of users and then we extended to full single sign-on.

How are customer service and technical support?

The staff of Veracode is very good. They're very supportive. When the product doesn't report something that we need and is not delivering straight away, they always help us in trying to find a solution, including writing custom code to call the APIs.

From that point of view, Veracode is great. The product, much less so, but I believe that they have good people. They are promising and they listen so I hope they can improve.

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

We started with WhiteSource, but it didn't have some features like the static analysis, so it was an incomplete solution. And we were already using Veracode for the static analysis, so when Veracode bought SourceClear, we decided to switch.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy and quite well documented. I was really impressed by the quality of the technical support. When I had problems, that the product wasn't good enough for me, they were always there to help and give suggestions.

Being a service, there wasn't really much of an implementation. It's not complex to use.

What was our ROI?

My job is mostly technical. I don't own a budget and I don't track numbers. But as the customers are really keen on having us checking security issues, I would definitely say that we have seen a return on investment.

Most of our customers tend, especially in the software composition analysis, to apply their own in-house tools to the artifacts that we share with them. Whenever we release a new version of software and Docker images, they upload it to their systems. Some of them have the internal equivalent of Veracode and they come back to us to say, "Hey, you haven't taken care of this vulnerability." So it is very important for us to be proactive on each set of release notes. We need to show the current status of the product: that we have fixed these vulnerabilities and that we still have some well-known vulnerabilities, but that there are workarounds that we document. In addition they can check the reports that we attach, the reports from Veracode, that show that the severity is not high, meaning they don't create a big risk.

It delivers because we haven't been thinking, "Okay, let's consider another product." We might see some savings so I think the pricing is right.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For open source projects we mostly tested Snyk, which works quite well with JavaScript but much less so with other technologies. But it has some bigger problems because Snyk considers each file inside a repository of GitHub as a separate project, so it was creating a lot of false positives. That made it basically unmanageable, so we gave up on using it.

We have also been using an open source project called the OWASP Dependency-Check that was doing a decent job of software composition analysis but it required a lot of effort in checking false positives. To be honest, it would have been a good solution only if we didn't have a budget for Veracode, but luckily we had the budget, so there was no point in using it.

Another one that we tried, mostly because it was a small company and we had the opportunity to speak directly with them to ask for some small changes, was a company called the Meterian. It doesn't do static analysis, but otherwise the software composition analysis and the library report were the best of the bunch. From my perspective, if we didn't have the need for static analysis, I would have chosen Meterian, mostly because the user interface is much more usable than Veracode's. Also, the findings were much better. We still use it on the open source project because they offer a free version for open source—which is another good thing about some of these products, where the findings are available to anyone. For a company like ours, where we have both open source and enterprise products, this is quite good. Unfortunately, with Veracode, if we scan the open source project, we cannot link the pages of Veracode with the findings because they are private. That's a problem. In the end, for the open source projects, we are still using Meterian because the quality is good.

My main issues with Veracode, in general, are mostly to do with the user interface of the web application and, sometimes, that some pages are inconsistent with each other. But the functionality underneath is there, which is the reason we stay with Veracode.

What other advice do I have?

Usually, we open tickets now using the JIRA/GitHub integration and then we plan them. We decide when we want to fix them and we assign them to developers, mostly because there are some projects that are a little bit more on the legacy side. Changing the version of the library is not easy as in the newer projects, in terms of testing. So we do some planning. But in general, we open tickets and we plan them.

We also have it integrated in the pipelines, but that's really just to report. It's a little bit annoying that the pipeline might break because of security issues. It's good to know, but the fact that that interrupts development is not great. When we tried to put it as a part of the local build, it was too much. It was really getting in the way. The developers worried that they had to fix the security issues before releasing. Instead, we just started creating the issues and started doing proper planning. It is good to have visibility, but executing it all the time is just wrong, from our experience. You have to do it at the right time, and not all the time.

The solution integrates with developer tools, if you consider JIRA and GitHub as developer tools. We tried to use the IntelliJ plugin but it wasn't working straightaway and we gave up.

We haven't been using the container scanning of Veracode, mostly because we are using a different product at the moment to store our Docker images, something that already has some security scanning. So we haven't standardized. We still have to potentially explore the features of Veracode in that area. At the moment we are using Key from IBM Red Hat, and it is also software as a service. When you upload a Docker image there, after some time you also get a security scan, and that's where our customers are getting our images from. It's a private registry.

Overall, I would rate Veracode as a five out of 10, because the functionality is there, but to me, the usability of the user interface is very important and it's still not there.

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.
Shubham Shrivastava
Engineering Tools and Platform Manager at BT - British Telecom
Real User
Top 10
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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CV
CTO at a computer software company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good knowledge base and management system and helpful for discovering commercial and open-source licenses

Pros and Cons

  • "The knowledge base and the management system are the most valuable features of Black Duck Hub. It has a very helpful management environment. They offer an editor where we can check the discovered license, which is retrieved from their knowledge base. They have a huge knowledge base build over the years. It gives you some possibilities, such as this license with possibility A could cause a vulnerability issue or a potential breach."
  • "It is a cloud-only solution. In many cases, companies like to evaluate the software, but they're very reluctant to give you the software. It would be great if they could offer an on-prem component that could be used to scan the code and then upload the discovery results to the cloud and get all the information from there, but there is no such possibility. You have to upload the code to the Black Duck cloud system. Of course, they have a strong legal department, and they offer some configuration, but it is never enough. You have to give the code, which is a drawback. In modern designs like Snyk or FOSSA, you don't need to give the code. It requires more native integration with Coverity because they go together technically. You need both Coverity and Black Duck Hub. It would be really helpful for companies working in this space to get a combined offer from the same company. They should provide an option to buy Coverity for an additional fee. Coverity combined with Black Duck Hub will provide a one-step analysis to get everything you need and a unified report. It would be really great to be able to connect Black Duck Hub with Coverity unified reports."

What is our primary use case?

We use Black Duck Hub to discover commercial and open-source licenses and the licensed software used by a company. Whenever a company enters the M&A process, a preliminary step called due diligence is done. A part of it is the technical discovery that includes finding out what software the company is using and whether the software is linked with any open-source software or commercial product for which you have to pay a license.

Our main use case is to discover the license and find out if there is an obligation for the paid license. We also check the exposure of the software to open-source libraries. Open source is great, and it is a preferred solution for many companies. Around 90% of the software is now open source, but it is also exposed to vulnerabilities. So, through the dependencies that we were discovering, we were also working on the security exposure of the software product. For this purpose, we use Black Duck Hub.

What is most valuable?

The knowledge base and the management system are the most valuable features of Black Duck Hub. It has a very helpful management environment. They offer an editor where we can check the discovered license, which is retrieved from their knowledge base. They have a huge knowledge base build over the years. It gives you some possibilities, such as this license with possibility A could cause a vulnerability issue or a potential breach. 

What needs improvement?

It is a cloud-only solution. In many cases, companies like to evaluate the software, but they're very reluctant to give you the software. It would be great if they could offer an on-prem component that could be used to scan the code and then upload the discovery results to the cloud and get all the information from there, but there is no such possibility. You have to upload the code to the Black Duck cloud system. Of course, they have a strong legal department, and they offer some configuration, but it is never enough. You have to give the code, which is a drawback. In modern designs like Snyk or FOSSA, you don't need to give the code.

It requires more native integration with Coverity because they go together technically. You need both Coverity and Black Duck Hub. It would be really helpful for companies working in this space to get a combined offer from the same company. They should provide an option to buy Coverity for an additional fee. Coverity combined with Black Duck Hub will provide a one-step analysis to get everything you need and a unified report. It would be really great to be able to connect Black Duck Hub with Coverity unified reports.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two and a half years. I was serving as vice president of engineering and integration in a company in Austin, Texas. I was assigned to acquisitions of companies, more specifically to the technical due diligence that takes place during acquisition. So, we used Black Duck Hub very extensively. We had the biggest ever contract with Synopsys for almost $1 million per year, and we used Black Duck Hub to scan the license for each acquired company. We had a very aggressive acquisition plan of almost one acquisition every 15 days. So, I have accumulated quite a big experience with the Black Duck Hub tool.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From the company side, it's super scalable, but from the client's side, it's not that scalable. The issue with scalability is that if you have reserved 100 megabytes on Black Duck Hub, and eventually, you like to use 200 or 300 megabytes, the pricing policy requires extending your product permanently. This is really painful because you just need instant access to the higher, bigger space, but you don't want to buy it permanently. They should give the possibility to extend instantly by 50% or 80% more for a week or two weeks. This is quite common, and I have seen many cloud providers that let you pay instantly for a limited time, and you have the possibility to use a little bit more.

I have a team of six users who use Black Duck for the discovery, but the results are forwarded to many more things.

How are customer service and technical support?

In some cases, we have faced delays. We had reported issues, and we got the reply in 15 days or 20 days. Being a big organization, their support is rather slow. They prioritize these issues based on some logic unknown to me. If we have a big problem, we should get priority.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is super simple for the user because it is set up on the cloud. You just get an account and upload the code. You don't have to install it. There is no deployment. You just access the service from the cloud.

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

Black Duck is more suitable if you require a lot of licensing compliance. For smaller organizations, WhiteSource is better because its pricing policies are not really suitable for huge organizations.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I'm also currently testing WhiteSource, Black Duck Hub, FOSSA, Snyk, and a few more solutions. My assignment is to provide an evaluation for a blockchain platform.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to be careful with the provisioning of the space that you need. Black Duck has been the key player in the market for many years. It is totally in conjunction with Coverity and forms a suite of security and quality. It is frequently used in M&A or mergers and acquisition cases. It is the top product in the market.

I would rate Black Duck a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PC
Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good static code analysis and benchmarking but the library could support more languages

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are the segregation containment and the suspension of product services."
  • "I would like to see improvements in defining the quality sets of rules and the quality to ensure code with low-performance does not end up in production."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for static code analysis, and benchmarking our code standards according to our preferences. 

Our builds process through SonarQube and if it passes the required set of requirements we have set, it will then go through to production.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the segregation containment and the suspension of product services. Also, the library that SonarQube covers is good.

What needs improvement?

The library could have more languages that are supported. It would be helpful.

There are a few clauses that are specific to our organization, and it needs to improve. It's the reason that were are evaluating other solutions. It creates the ability for the person who releases the authorized release, which is not good. We would like to be able to expand on our work.

MicroFocus, as an example, would be helping us with that area or creating a dependency tree of the code from where it deployed and branching it into your entire code base. This would be something that is very helpful and has helped in identifying the gaps.

It would be great to have a dependency tree with each line of your code based on an OS top ten plugin that needs to be scanned. For example, a line or branch of code used in a particular site that needs to be branched into my entire codebase, and direct integration with Jira in order to assign that particular root to a developer would be really good.

Automated patching for my library, variable audience, and support for the client in the CICD pipeline is all done with a set of different tools, but it would be nice to have it like a one-stop-shop.

I would like to see improvements in defining the quality sets of rules and the quality to ensure code with low-performance does not end up in production. We would also need the ability to edit those rules.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SonarQube for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. 

The branch advanced analysis pull request declarations, they are good and highly valuable, but they are not part of the free edition. They are only available as part of the licensed one.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Currently, we have 1.2 to 1.5 million lines of code. Certainly, if that increases, so would the costs expediently. 

We have 50 developers' licenses.

There is quite a bit of maintenance that is needed. We have a couple of people from our operations team to do the maintaining.

It is integrated with our CICD department and is being used extensively.

We do have plans to increase the usage of SonarQube.

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

We have used open-source origins of the tools.

PCI is an open-source solution that we used before, and we used Snyk as well.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a vendor team, it was done by us.

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

The developer edition is based on cost per lines of code.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Now we are looking for a more mature solution and evaluating other products. We want a complete code analysis platform that is more mature.

We will either go with the paid Developer active license or solutions such as Checkmarx or MicroFocus.

What other advice do I have?

The community edition is quite informative for engineers. The actual code analysis is not conducted on the GitLab flow, but the build pipeline would show the core quantity steps which is part of the criteria.

The trial gives you a way to implement the POC and check if it can be integrated with your own stack. Once the trial expires, you can continue with the same setup for getting the license.

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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