Choosing the right SBOM generation tool for your needs can be a daunting and challenging task, given the wide array of options available and ecosystems to work within. A well-formed SBOM should:

  • contain all the elements required for you to meet the NTIA “minimum element” SBOM compliance requirement
  • have the ability to output SBOMs in an industry-standard SBOM format, such as CycloneDX or SPDX formats
  • follow the SBOM guidelines to create a valid file
  • and provide accurate component details and information.

By using key criteria to compare some of the top SBOM generation tools in various ecosystems, you can gain essential insights into their strengths and weaknesses. From there, you’re able to determine if a tool can produce a well-formed SBOM that meets your needs, and make an informed choice tailored to your project’s specific requirements.


What are the key criteria that should be used to compare SBOM Generation Tools?

The key criteria that should be used to help compare SBOM tools across different ecosystems and find the best one for your needs includes:

  1. Accuracy: how well a tool generates an accurate inventory of your project’s open source components.
  2. Data Collected: what information, such as licensing and CPEs, that a tool compiles and includes in the generated SBOM.
  3. SBOM Formats: what formats the tool can produce an SBOM in, such as CycloneDX, SPDX, and CSV formats.
  4. Ease of Use: how user-friendly the tool is for your needs.
  5. Versatility: how well the tool can fit into various ecosystems and if it is compatible with more than one ecosystem, such as Linux, Python, Docker, and Yocto.
  6. Integration Capabilities: how seamlessly the tool meshes into your existing development and security tools.
  7. and Documentation and Support: what types of documentation exist for the tool and what kind of support is provided to help you use the SBOM generation tool.


What is the Best SBOM Generation Tool for Each Ecosystem?

Now that we know how to compare SBOM generation tools, it’s time to find the best tool for you to generate it.

To help you simplify the process of evaluating and comparing SBOM generation tools, we’ve curated a selection of the top ones, analyzed them based on key criteria, and identified which tool is best for which ecosystem. In each of the below linked blogs, we will delve into their specific strengths and weaknesses.

As more SBOM tools and ecosystems become available, we’ll update this list with an analysis of them.


Ecosystem: Python

Through vigorous testing conducted by our embedded device experts, we found that Syft generated the most well-formed 1.4 CycloneDX SBOM. Syft is a CLI tool and Go library for generating Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) from container images and filesystems. You can read the full analysis from testing Syft within the Python ecosystem by clicking here.


What’s next?

Now that we know how each tool compares and which is best for which ecosystem, it’s time to evaluate them against your specific project requirements. In “Making an Informed Choice Among SBOM Generation Tools,” we’ll walk through the process of making an informed choice among SBOM generation tools. We’ll provide you with practical steps and insights to align your specific project requirements with the strengths of these tools, ensuring the security and compliance of your software projects. Stay tuned for the next part of our “Choosing the Right SBOM Tool” series!