Prancer Terminology

Prancer has its own set of terms that need to be understood before you delve deeper into it. Take time to understand each concept properly before going on.

Providers & connectors

A provider is a system that provides data to Prancer platform. For example:

  • Azure
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud
  • Kubernetes
  • Filesystem

A connector file holds enough information to connect to those providers. For example, address and credentials are information we usually see in a connector file.

Monitored resources & snapshots

A monitored resource, is an item that you want Prancer to observe, monitor, and validate. This resource could be in the cloud or in a filesystem. You define monitored resources through a snapshot configuration file.

A snapshot configuration file is used to define what you want to observe. It will use a connector that you previously configured to get a representation of a monitored resource on the referenced provider. By using different connectors, you can gather a broad range of snapshots of your various systems.

A master snapshot configuration file is used to define the type of resources you want to observe. The difference between master snapshot configuration file and a snapshot configuration file is that you have a type of resource in the first one. But in the latter, you have individual resources. For example, These items are content of a master snapshot configuration : Virtual Machines Virtual Networks Security Groups

but the content of the snapshot configuration file is as follows: Virtual Machine A Virtual Machine B Virtual Network a Security Group 1 Security Group 2

As you see in this example, in the master snapshot configuration file, we have the type of resources (i.e. virtual machines, virtual networks and security groups), but in the snapshot configuration file, we have the individual instances of these resource types.

The crawler processor uses the master snapshot configuration file to find new resources in the target environment and generates snapshot configuration file if we need it.

When you gather data about your monitored resources you are creating snapshots. snapshots are actual representation of monitored resources in JSON format. These snapshots are kept in a file system or database over time so you can track the changes if anything happens.

Tests, rules & reports

Prancer uses tests to validate your infrastructure. A test runs a set of rules on available snapshot items. The output of the test could be passed or failed. To figure out what to run the tests over. a test file contains various test cases against the monitored resources.

Rules are an essential part of a test. Rules define what needs to be tested. Prancer uses a custom domain specific language (DSL) that looks a lot like Javascript to run tests. The rules comparison engine runs against a monitored resource's snapshot and checks the values collected against others (static or dynamic) to validate your infrastructure or files. It is also possible to write tests in OPA Rego policy language.

A Master test file is a test file in the prancer cloud validation framework, which defines test cases for different types of monitored resources rather than individual resources. A master test file works in tandem with the master snapshot configuration file to run test cases on different types of resources.

When Prancer runs tests, it generates an output for every test file. All the test cases available in a test file will be evaluated, and a result will be saved to this report file so you can put them in an artifact system for later reference.


A collection is a set of configuration files that can be committed to a version control system alongside of your project. Example of such files:

  • Project configuration
  • Connector configuration
  • Snapshot configuration
  • Test file
  • Optional Exclusion file for a specific resource, or a specific test or a combination of both.

The Collection is a powerful concept that can be used based on the organization's definition. It could work as a project, a repo, a business sector, or a company.

These files should follow your development project that would usually contain infrastructure as code files such as:

  • AWS CloudFormation templates
  • Azure ARM templates
  • Terraform scripts
  • etc

With those two elements in place, Prancer can be used to validate the files before applying them and can also be used after applying them directly on the provider of your choice.

Collections (previously known as containers) are simple folders that allow you to group your snapshots and tests in a logical way to help you better manage your different tests, infrastructure components and results.

To understand these concepts better, you can review Introduction to Prancer Platform Configuration Files