JFrog Artifactory Vs. Sonatype Nexus
The Integration Matrix

This blog post was originally published by Shlomi Ben Haim, JFrog CEO, in February 2011, and has now been rewritten by Dror Bereznitsky, JFrog CPO, to reflect the current state of JFrog technology.


If you’re reading this, you probably Googled “Artifactory vs Nexus”, and are trying to evaluate which product to use. Well, you’re in the right place, but the text for this post was originally written way back when comparing Artifactory to Nexus (and a few other contenders in the binary repository space) boiled down to supported build tools and CI/CD servers. Since then, repository managers have moved into the mainstream, and today, they are an integral part of any DevOps toolchain. The freedom of choice we offered back then was the foundation on which we have built the nearly 5000-strong customer base we have today. But as DevOps takes over the world, your criteria for comparing Artifactory to Nexus need to change and be more DevOps driven. So when comparing these two products, here are a few things we think you should consider.

Cloud, on-prem and everything in-between

When cloud computing started making headlines, it seemed like we would all soon be sending our servers to electronic pasture, but, we soon discovered that “Cloud” is not a binary decision. So, when considering which repository manager to use, make sure it can support your cloud strategy and provide both a multi-cloud as well as a hybrid cloud solution.

Artifactory vs. Nexus support for cloud

To meet any requirements for DevOps architecture, a repository manager should give you the freedom of choice to run on-prem, on the cloud or a hybrid solution that uses both. Click To Tweet

DevOps automation

What would DevOps be without automation? Your repository manager is front and center in a fully automated DevOps pipeline. Make sure it offers all the REST API endpoints you need for development, QA/QC, CI/CD, distribution and deployment processes.

Artifactory vs. Nexus DevOps Automation

To fully support DevOps automation, a repository manager must expose an extensive and robust REST API. Click To Tweet

Meta-data is king

To support any variety of business logic you want to implement around your binary artifacts, you need meta-data, and lots of it. Artifactory is the king of metadata. In addition to the standard meta-data that come with binaries in different package formats Artifactory adds a variety of properties and also allows adding custom properties. In addition, Artifactory stores exhaustive build-info for all builds it hosts and provides Artifactory Query Language (AQL), a simple, yet highly flexible tool to search for artifacts based on this abundance of meta-data. There is no other artifact repository on the market that makes such extensive use of meta-data.

Artifactory vs. Nexus support for metadata

To support any business logic around binary software artifacts, a repository manager should provide exhaustive metadata and build info. Click To Tweet

Storage – one size does not fit all

Freedom of choice applies to storage just like it does to anything else. When choosing your repository manager, make sure it supports a variety of cloud storage providers to make sure you don’t get locked into any particular one. Then, if you need advanced storage solutions that seamlessly grow with your needs, and offer unmatched stability and reliability, look into filestore sharding.

Artifctory vs. Nexus - Support for storage

Don’t let your repository manager lock you into any particular cloud storage provider. Click To Tweet

Very quickly, you need multiple instances that collaborate

Soon after you understand the value a repository manager brings to your DevOps toolchain, you realize that a single instance is not enough to cover your global DevOps needs. Different groups spread over multiple sites need somewhere to manage their own internal binaries. But more importantly, those groups also need a way share their binaries with other groups to collaborate on their development efforts. That means actively replicating binaries from one site to another. Depending on the different needs of each group and where they are located, a combination of push and pull replication is usually the best solution. Make sure your repository manager supports a variety of replication modes to support the different multi-site topologies of your global DevOps processes.

Artifactory vs. Nexus support for replication

Your repository manager should support a variety of replication modes to meet the needs of different multi-site topologies. Click To Tweet

Be future-proof

Whatever development and DevOps tools you’re using today, the pace at which new technologies hit, and then take over the market is dizzying. Just a couple of years ago, Docker rose to container stardom, and by now is mainstream in the industry. Today, Kubernetes, Helm and Go are becoming household words. Make sure your repository manager is flexible enough to integrate with new DevOps tools and support any package format.

Artifactory vs. Nexus - Future Proof

JFrog Artifactory is future-proof. It can support any repository layout and therefore, natively accommodate any package format. Click To Tweet

There are, of course, other criteria to consider. True universal nature –  integrating with other DevOps tools and fully supporting different package formats; enterprise readiness with high availability,  massively scalable storage capabilities and security at every level. But at the end of the day, nothing can replace a fully-fledged hands-on trial that you need to go through to thoroughly evaluate a product. What’s important to remember before you start is to look at your needs today, but also, anticipate what your needs might be one, two and five years down the road. Your repository manager is going to be front and center in your DevOps ecosystem, so you need one that’s going continue fulfilling all your needs as your business grows.