What is Kosli? #

Kosli records data from your CI pipelines and runtime environments, allowing you to query life after git from the command line.

Kosli overview

Below you can read about what elements Kosli consists of.

Organization #

An Organization in Kosli "owns" Kosli flows and environments - which means only members of each organization can get access to environments and flows that belong to that organization. By default, when you sign up to Kosli, a personal organization is created for you and the name of the organization matches your user name. Only you can access your personal organization.

Environments #

Environments in Kosli provide a place to track how your systems change over time.


Each runtime environment you'd like to track in Kosli should have its own Kosli environment created. Kosli allows you to define the borders of your environments. For example, if you use a Kubernetes cluster, you can either treat it as one Kosli environment or treat one or more namespaces in the cluster as one Kosli environment.

Kosli supports different types of runtime environments and the reporting command varies for each:

  • Kubernetes cluster (k8s)
  • Amazon ECS
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon Lambda
  • Physical/virtual server
  • Docker host

You can create a Kosli environment using:

Add environment form

Once the Kosli environment is ready you can start reporting the status of your actual runtime environment using one of the kosli snapshot ... commands - check client reference for details.

Reporting your environments should be automated via a cron-like schedule. It's up to you to decide how often you want the reports to keep coming, but we recommend high frequency to be able to avoid missing short lived changes. Every time a change in your runtime environment is reported, a new snapshot capturing the current state of the environment will be created.

Diagram of Environment Reporting

The change could be for example:

  • a new artifact started running
  • an artifact stopped running
  • an artifact was restarted
  • the number of instances of a service has changed
  • the compliance status of an artifact has changed

Snapshots #

A Snapshot represents the reported status of your runtime environment at a given point in time.

Snapshot 467

Using the Kosli UI, you can use the arrow buttons on the right hand side above the running artifacts list to browse older snapshots.

Snapshots are append-only immutable objects. That is once a snapshot is created, it can't be modified.

Compliant Environment #

An Environment is compliant when the following conditions are met:

  1. All the artifacts running in the environment have provenance in Kosli (are reported to Kosli) and are compliant themselves OR they were allow-listed;
  2. All the artifacts running in the environment are expected to be deployed to that environment.

You will see the status of your environment on the environments list. You will also see the compliance status of each snapshot when you browse the snapshots of the environment.

If your environment is not compliant, check the latest snapshot for more detailed info - each unknown or non-compliant artifact will be marked and the reason for the non-compliance will be provided.

Snapshot 467

Allow list #

Not all artifacts that run in your environment must be built by you - these may be publicly available artifacts, or artifacts provided by external vendors. In such cases, it is likely that those artifacts won't have provenance in Kosli.

These artifacts will -by default- be marked with "No provenance" red label and it will affect the compliance of the whole environment. If you know how and why these artifacts are present in your environment you can add them to the Allow-list by clicking a button on the snapshot page, or using kosli allow artifact command

Flows and Artifacts #

Flows #

Flows in Kosli allow you to track how your value streams produce artifacts. They provide a place to report artifact creation events as well as any evidence produced from your CI pipelines.

You can create Kosli flow using the kosli create flow command.

When you create a flow, you specify a template. The creation of a flow can happen in or out of your CI pipelines. The template declares what pieces of evidence are required for an artifact produced from that flow to be compliant.

Best practice is to create Kosli flow for each of your value streams regardless of how your CI pipelines are setup. For example, if your CI pipeline produces 3 separate artifacts, you'd create 3 different Kosli flows to report artifacts and evidence.

Once your Kosli flow is in place you can start reporting artifacts and evidence of all the events you want to report (matching declared template) from your CI pipelines. Kosli CLI provides a variety of commands to make it possible:

Diagram of Flow Reporting

A number of required flags may be defaulted to a set of environment variables, depending on the CI system you use. Check How to use Kosli in CI Systems for more details. All flags can be represented by environment variables.

Template #

Artifact evidence

When creating a Kosli flow you need to provide a template - a list of expected evidence you require for your artifact in order for the artifact to become compliant. That could be for example:

  • existing pull request
  • code coverage report
  • integration test
  • unit test
  • and more...

The template can be changed over time and it won't affect the compliance of artifacts reported before the change happens.

Artifacts #

Artifact view

Whatever you produce during your build process can be an artifact - a binary file, an archive, a folder, a docker image... sometimes you don't produce anything new while "building" and the folder containing your source code can be the artifact.

An artifact is identified by its fingerprint which is used to link the artifacts running in an environment back to their provenance in a flow.

Evidence #

You can report to Kosli pieces of evidence related to either an artifact or a git commit. This gives you flexibility to report evidence before or after you report an artifact. The evidence names have to match the names you declare in your flow template and are then used to evaluate whether an artifact is compliant or not.

Evidence that is reported to a git commit is automatically linked to any artifact produced from that commit.

Kosli supports some types of evidence that you can report, but you can also report absolutely anything as an evidence using the generic evidence type.

The supported types of evidence are:

  • bitbucket, github and gitlab pull request - verify and report if a pull request exists for a commit used to build your artifact
  • junit - report the result of your unit test (requires results as XML in JUnit format)
  • snyk - report Snyk vulnerability scan

For the built-in evidence types, Kosli determines the compliance of the evidence by analyzing the data you provide. For generic evidence, however, you need to do the required analysis and inform Kosli whether the evidence is compliant or not.

History #

Artifact evidence

At the bottom of an artifact page you can see the artifact timeline: when it was created, when evidence, approvals and deployments were reported, and when the artifact was reported running in each environment.

When you report an event related to a specific environment (expected deployment or environment report) the timeline branches out, for each environment. From now on events related to environments will have different colors - it makes it easier to follow artifacts history in each environment.

Compliant artifact #

Each artifact you report to Kosli will be displayed as being in one of three states in a Kosli flow: compliant, non-compliant or incomplete. The state depends on how the evidence received for the artifact matches with the template used for the flow which the artifact belongs to.

Compliant #

When your artifact was reported to Kosli together with all the required (as defined in the template) evidence reported as a compliant evidence, it will be displayed in your Kosli flow as a Compliant artifact:

Environment, Snapshot #1

Non-Compliant #

When your artifact was reported to Kosli together with all the required (as defined in the template) evidence, with at least one of the evidence reported as non-compliant, it will be displayed in your Kosli flow as a Non-compliant artifact:

Environment, Snapshot #1

Incomplete #

When your artifact was reported to kosli but not all the required (as defined in the template) evidence were reported yet, it will be displayed in your Kosli flow as an Incomplete artifact:

Environment, Snapshot #1

Deployments #

No matter from where and how you deploy your artifacts, you should report to Kosli that you expect an artifact to start running in an environment. You do that using kosli expect deployment command. The Environment you're deploying to has to be specified, so if you deploy to more than one environment you need to report each deployment separately.

Reporting the expected deployments in an environment ensures that what runs in your environment is what you expect.

Fingerprints #

Fingerprint is a unique immutable identifier of an artifact. It is a calculated SHA256 hash of an artifact. It doesn't matter if the artifact is a single file, a directory or a docker image - we can always calculate its SHA256.

Fingerprint is used to connect the information recorded in Kosli - about environments, deployments and approvals - to a matching artifact in a flow.

You can also use the Kosli CLI to calculate the fingerprint of any artifact locally. See kosli fingerprint for more details.