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Software Engineering

Open Source Project of the Week: Enarx

Enarx at a glance:
The Enarx project is building an open source deployment framework for Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs). The project is being supported by Red Hat.Quick project stats:

  • 37 Contributors
  • 31 Watching
  • 88 Forks
  • 478 Stars
  • Languages Used: Rust, C

Find more info at:

(As of March 10, 2022)

What is the Enarx open source project?

Enarx allows developers to easily run applications in TEEs, without needing to be rewritten for particular platforms or SDKs. By encrypting and provisioning data and applications to secured “Keeps,” Enarx provides confidence that your data and applications are secure.

Who’s running the Enarx open source project?

The Enarx project originally started at Red Hat, and it was donated to the Linux Foundation to form the Confidential Computing Consortium, a community dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. As of 2021, Profian acts as the custodian of the Enarx project, employing many engineers and a community manager.

Enarx open source goals

The public cloud’s openness can be both a strength and a weakness. While it enables the kind of collaboration that’s critical to open source projects, there are no technical barriers preventing cloud providers from peeking at or tweaking your code, which can be a problem.

Enarx enables the simple deployment of workloads to TEEs on the public cloud. This provides a secure and isolated environment that prevents unauthorized access or modification of code. Based on WebAssembly, it allows developers to implement it using a wide variety of languages. And because it’s CPU-architecture independent, the same application code can be deployed across multiple targets. This also simplifies issues like cross-compilation and resolving different attestation mechanisms between hardware vendors.

See Zenhub at work

The beauty of open source is the variety: having an open project means anyone can contribute whenever they have the means, motive, and opportunity. But that can make scheduling tricky, to say the least.

Enarx leverages multiple Zenhub tools that can help streamline processes, without adding extra work for teams. By creating custom pipelines on its board, for example, the team can sort tickets into different pipelines based on their stage of development. This eliminates the need for the kinds of verbal handoffs that are rare and difficult to accomplish in the async open source world. Labels and workflow automation both help with simplifying and coordinating the workflows of a distributed network of contributors.

Enarx's ZenHub Board with custom pipelines
Enarx’s Zenhub Board with custom pipelines

The team also takes advantage of Zenhub’s sprints, epics, and roadmap features. Open source projects by nature don’t make it easy to operate with this level of organization, but Zenhub’s ability to centralize and automate collaboration means Enarx can take advantage of the predictability and orderliness of a private project while still working in open source.

“The Enarx Open Source project has a codebase distributed across many repositories. We needed a tool that would allow us to manage contributions from various organisations and the broader open source community, provide support and coordinate our communications and operations. There are a few key features that Zenhub provides which makes this possible: Single dashboard to manage issues across multiple repositories, visualization and tracking of dependencies, and creation of epics.”  – Paul Pietkiewicz

Enarx's ZenHub Roadmap, with predictive end dates
Enarx’s Zenhub Roadmap, with predictive end dates

Why you should contribute

In the internet age, trust can be a hard commodity to come by. And working on the public cloud means having to offer a lot of trust. Developers need to trust:

  • The operating system
  • Firmware libraries
  • Hypervisor
  • Application stack
  • Third-party libraries
  • Middleware
  • Drivers

And if anything is malicious, or even simply compromised, that can be a serious problem.

Enarx is working on making trust easier and less risky to offer. Developers will still be able to take advantage of the strengths of the public cloud without having to be concerned so much about security or without having to jump through hoops to ensure it. A simple, straightforward way to deploy applications in TEEs: no muss, no fuss.

Where you can learn more

To find out more about Enarx and how to get involved:

Zenhub offers the tools and workflows that teams working on open source projects in GitHub need. It puts core open source collaboration principles like openness and transparency into practice, enabling projects and organizations to code in the open. It’s the only industry tool that lets you manage your team’s work across both public and private repos. And it makes it easier for all team members to communicate with each other, set goals, plan with more transparency and participation, and ship releases more predictably. Get a free 14-day trial.


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