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What is zot?

👉 zot is a production-ready, open-source, vendor-neutral container image registry server based purely on OCI standards.

Two broad trends are changing how we build, distribute, and consume software. The first trend is the increasing adoption of container technologies. The second trend is that software solutions are being composed by combining elements from various sources rather than being built entirely from scratch. The latter trend raises the importance of software provenance and supply chain security. In both trends, zot intends to play an important role by providing a production-ready, open-source, vendor-neutral container image registry server based purely on OCI standards.

What is an OCI image registry?

An OCI image registry is a server-based application that allows you to store, manage, and share container images. A developer uploads (pushes) an image to the registry for distribution. Users can then download (pull) the image to run on their systems. The OCI Distribution Specification, published by the Open Container Initiative (OCI), defines a standard API protocol for these and other image registry operations.

An image registry can be a part of your continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline when you host zot on your public or private server. In its minimal form, you can also embed a zot registry in a product. In either case, zot provides a secure software supply chain for container images.

Why zot?

👉 zot = OCI Distribution Specification + OCI Image Format

At its heart, zot is a production-ready, vendor-neutral OCI image registry with images stored in the OCI image format and with the OCI distribution specification on-the-wire. zot is built for developers by developers, offering features such as minimal deployment using a single binary image, built-in authentication and authorization, and inline garbage collection and storage deduplication.


Some of the principal advantages of zot are:

  • Open source

  • OCI standards-only both on-the-wire and on-disk

  • Clear separation between core distribution spec and zot-specific extensions

  • Software supply chain security, including support for cosign and notation

  • Security hardening

  • Single binary with many features built-in

  • Suitable for deployments in cloud, bare-metal, and embedded devices

zot fully conforms to the OCI Distribution Specification.

The following table lists additional advantages of zot:

Distribution Spec conformance yes
CNCF project accepted as a Sandbox Project
License Apache 2.0
On-premises deployment yes
OCI conformance* yes
Single binary image* yes
Minimal build* yes
Storage Layout OCI v1 Image Layout
Authentication built-in
Authorization built-in
Garbage collection inline
Storage deduplication inline
Cloud storage support yes
Delete by tag yes
Vulnerability scanning built-in
Command line interface (cli) yes
UI yes
External contributions beta available
Image signatures built-in

✏ * The minimal build feature is the ability to build a minimal Distribution Spec compliant registry in order to reduce library dependencies and the possible attack surface.

Last update: May 18, 2023