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Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Room for Improvement

Software Architect at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees

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.

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ME
Sr. Enterprise Architect at MIB Group

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.

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RS
Senior Architect at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees

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.

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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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Engineering Tools and Platform Manager at BT - British Telecom

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.

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Enterprise Infrastrcture Architect at Qrypt

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.

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DevOps Engineer at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees

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.

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BS
Application Security at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees

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.

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Security Analyst at a computer software company with 51-200 employees

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.

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Information Security Program Preparer / Architect at Alef Education

Nexus Lifecycle is multiple products. One drawback I've noticed is that there are some differences in the features between the products within Lifecycle. They need to maintain the same structure, but there are some slight differences.

Other than that, the tool is very user-friendly and gives the right reports to the right teams.

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VP and Sr. Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

Overall, it's pretty good. The drill-through and search capabilities are pretty good, they're not horrible. 

As far as the relationship of, and ease of finding the relationships between, libraries and applications across the whole enterprise goes, it still does that. They could make that a little smoother, although right now it's still pretty good. It's taking an eight out of ten and asking it to be a ten.

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FT
IT Security Manager at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The GUI is simple, so it's easy to use. It started as great to use, but for larger scale companies, it also comes with some limitations. This is why we tried to move to more of an API approach. So, the GUI could use some improvements potentially.

Something else that's a bit lacking is most of our components are not explicitly included but are transitive dependencies. We have 50 applications that all report security issues, but they all come from one central library that we built ourselves, which is also scanned by Lifecycle. So, we have 51 components, and we are not seeing that only one of them is really the one we should be targeting. What would be really great in the solution would be some dependency graphing, or at least collecting the transitive dependencies. That would help for larger scale implementations.

The Success Metrics report is really focused on very specific numbers that are not interesting to us. They are for when you are much further along in the onboarding process. There is an API which allows you to retrieve the data on which the Success Metrics are based. We use this API to create our own charts, reflecting what we're looking for.

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MA
Computer Architecture Specialist at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

The reporting capability is good but I wish it was better. I sent the request to support and they raised it as an enhancement within the system. An example is filtering by version. If I have a framework that is used in all applications, but version 1 is used in 50 percent of them and version 2 in 25 percent, they will show as different libraries with different usage. But in reality, they're all using one framework.

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Sr. DevOps Engineer at Primerica

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.

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Product Strategy Group Director at Civica

We use Azure DevOps as our application lifecycle management tool. It doesn't integrate with that as well as it does with other tools at the moment, but I think there's work being done to address that. In terms of IDEs, it integrates well. We would like to integrate it into our Azure cloud deployment but the integration with Azure Active Directory isn't quite as slick as we would like it to be. We have to do some workarounds for that at the moment.

Also, the ability of the solution to recognize more of the .NET components would be helpful for us.

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IV
Product Owner Secure Coding at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees

The user interface needs to be improved. It is slow for us. We use Nexus IQ mostly via APIs. We don't use the interface that much, but when we use it, certain areas are just unresponsive or very slow to load. So, performance-wise, the UI is not fast enough for us, but we don't use it that much anyway.

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RH
Application Development Manager at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees

One thing that I would like to give feedback on is to scan the binary code. It's very difficult to find. It's under organization and policies where there are action buttons that are not very obvious. I think for people who are using it and are not integrated into it, it is not easy to find the button to load the binary and do the scan. This is if there is no existing, continuous integration process, which I believe most people have, but some users don't have this at the moment. This is the most important function of the Nexus IQ, so I expect it should be right on the dashboard where you can apply your binary and do a quick scan. Right now, it's hidden inside organization and policies. If you select the organization, then you can see in the top corner that there is a manual action which you can approve. There are multiple steps to reach that important function that we need. When we were initially looking at the dashboard, we looked for it and couldn't find it. So, we called our coworker who set up the server and they told us it's not on the dashboard. This comes down to usability. 

There is another usability thing in the reports section. When the PDF gets generated, it is different from the web version. There are some components from some areas which only reside inside the PDF version. When I generate the PDF for my boss to review, she comes back with a question that I didn't even see. I see on the reporting page whatever the PDF will be generating. The PDF is actually generating more information than the web version. That caught me off guard because she forwarded this to the security officer, who is asking, "Why is this? Or, why is that?" But, she has no idea. I didn't have anything handy because I saw the PDF version, which should be same as what I see on the web. This is a bit misrepresented. I would like these versions to speak together and be consistent. Printing a PDF report should generally reflect whatever you have on the page.

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Learn what your peers think about Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,136 professionals have used our research since 2012.