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Sonatype Nexus Repository as a container registry

Over the last decade, developers have experienced a shift in the way applications and the underlying operating system are packaged and deployed. The rise in usage of Docker containers and Kubernetes (K8s), the most popular open source container-orchestration system, has transformed the software supply chain. On one side, development, testing and production teams gain the advantages of packaging code and all its dependencies into containers. While on the other hand, as each new technology is created, a complexity of new package management systems emerges. 

Open source and containerization redesigned an efficient value stream for building multiple types of applications for multiple types of ecosystems, but how do organizations store, manage and deploy their containerized applications using several different public sources (or registries)?

Simplified container management for Docker, Helm, and Kubernetes

Introducing Sonatype Nexus Repository as a container registry! Built on extensive enterprise storage capabilities, Sonatype Nexus Repository is a robust package registry for all of your Docker images and Helm Chart repositories. As a single registry for all your Kubernetes deployments, Sonatype Nexus Repository is backed by an extensive user community with over 5M instances deployed supporting over 1,200 organizations globally - 600+ large enterprise customers. Teams can choose between a high performance and completely free container registry with Sonatype Nexus Repository OSS or, when needing enterprise scalability and features, Sonatype Nexus Repository Pro.

Unlike Docker Hub or Helm, development teams leverage Sonatype Nexus Repository as their central access point for all public registries delivering a more efficient and stable solution to container management. In addition to being integrated throughout your CI/CD build pipeline, there are many benefits to using a fully supported, enterprise grade container registry.

Key differences using Sonatype Nexus as a container registry

Hybrid flexibility - On-prem/cloud

Sonatype Nexus Repository as a Container Registry offers enterprise deployment flexibility for any business with on-prem, hybrid, and multi-cloud deployments with AWS, Microsoft Azure, GCP, Red Hat OpensShift, Kubernetes, and more! Focused on container deployments, we are excited for Sonatype users to discover and launch Kubernetes-ready apps. Sonatype Nexus Repository also offers Docker foreign layer support which can be useful in air-gapped environments.

Group deployment for Docker (NEW in Sonatype Nexus Repository Pro 3.27)

New in Sonatype Nexus Repository Pro and highly requested by our customers, Group Deployment for Docker allows developers and CI servers to use a single URL for both pulling and pushing images. Without Group Deployment, developers have to use two URLs (one for pushing content, one for pulling content). For certain formats, these URLs cannot be saved to the configuration and have to be manually entered. This creates developer friction and confusion which negatively impacts the centralized tooling teams.

To begin using Group Deployment for Docker, check out the setup and configuration details and demo video below to gain the benefits of reduced Docker ports, reduced storage, and easier client and reverse proxy configurations.


Open Container Initiative (OCI) support

Sonatype Nexus Repository supports the Open Container Initiative for creating open industry standards on container formats and runtime specifications. This lightweight, open governance structure provides guidance and continued growth across all leaders in the container industry.

Multiple repository types

Sonatype Nexus Repository supports Docker images and Helm 3 repositories with Proxy, Hosted, and Group repositories, allowing users advanced container management capabilities across development teams.

Proxy Repositories - Reduce duplicate downloads and significantly improve download speeds for developers and CI servers by setting up proxy repos to Docker Hub or any other remote registry for Docker images. Locally cache your images for faster time-to-market delivery and secure local access control.

Hosted Repositories - Upload your own container images as well as third-party images to private Docker registries using Sonatype Nexus Repository. Fine-grained permissions with these registries delivers enhanced security to development teams and organizations.

Group Repositories - Allows users to pull images from all repositories in a group without needing any further client side configuration after initial setup. Group repositories give you exposure to aggregated content of multiple proxy and hosted repositories with one URL to your tools.

Enterprise storage and build management

Sonatype Nexus Repository Pro offers enterprise staging and build promotion for tagging groups of components and images through build to test and release. The building blocks for staging functionality consist of hosted repos, component tags, and the ability to move and delete components between these hosted repos directly via a REST API.

Managing artifacts for reproducible builds enforces efficient workflows of components throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC).

The Sonatype Platform

Sonatype Nexus as a Container Registry powers enterprises with an advanced Docker and Helm registry for container storage management and K8s deployments. As DevOps teams scale, it is critical to rely on precise intelligence about the quality of open source components within applications. Sonatype Lifecycle delivers open source component intelligence regarding security vulnerabilities, license risks, and architectural quality to developers and security experts. Organizations looking for a fully integrated, universal container management registry paired with the most precise component intelligence use the Sonatype Platform to meet growing demands of containerization and open source governance.

Additional resources

For further Sonatype Nexus release details and any questions you may have, please refer to the resources below:

Sonatype Nexus user community and quick-start guides at

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Written by Brent Kostak

Brent is the Director of Product Marketing connecting developers and DevOps communities to Sonatype Nexus tools and technologies.