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Google, IBM and others launch an open-source API for keeping tabs on software supply chains

Google, IBM and others launch an open-source API for keeping tabs on software supply chains
From TechCrunch - October 12, 2017

Thanks to containers and microservices, the way we are building software is quickly changing. But as with all change, these new models also introduce new problems. You probably still want to know who actually built a given container and whats running in it. To get a handle on this, Google,JFrog, Red Hat, IBM, Black Duck, Twistlock, Aqua Security and CoreOS today announced Grafeas (scribe in Greek), a new joint open-source project that provides users with a standardized way for auditing and governing their software supply chain.

In addition, Google also launched another new project, Kritis (judge in Greek, because after the success of Kubernetes, it would surely be bad luck to pick names in any other language for new Google open-source projects). Kritis allows businesses to enforce certain container properties at deploy time for Kubernetes clusters.

Grafeas basically defines an API that collects all of the metadata around code deployments and build pipelines. This means keeping a record of authorship and code provenance, recording the deployment of each piece of code, marking whether code passed a security scan, which components it uses (and whether those have known vulnerabilities) and whether Q&A signed off on it. So before a new piece of code is deployed, the system can check all of the info about it through the Grafeas API and if its certified and free of vulnerabilities (at least to the best knowledge of the system), then it can get pushed into production.

At first glance, this all may seemrather bland, but theres a real need for projects like this. With the advent of continuous integration, decentralization, microservices, an increasing number of toolsets and every other buzzworthy technology, enterprises are struggling to keep tabs on whats actually happening in their data centers. Its pretty hard to stick to your security and governance policies if you dont exactly know what software youre actually running. Currently, all of the different tools that developers use can record their own data, of course, but Grafeas represents an agreed-upon way for collecting and accessing this data across tools.

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