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Sonatype CLI

The Sonatype Lifecycle Command Line Interface (CLI) is the multi-tool for performing a Lifecycle Analysis. Evaluations of your applications are either run manually or automatically using the CLI in many environments.

Getting started with the Sonatype CLI

You will need to perform a few tasks to run a Lifecycle analysis using the CLI.

  1. Setup an environment to analyze

  2. Set credentials to use with the CLI

  3. Prepare an application in Lifecycle

Setup an environment to analyze

The CLI jar is a Java application that requires a JVM in the environment you which to perform the analysis. Download the CLI from the Download and Compatibility page.

The Sonatype CLI and related documentation is also available as a docker image on DockerHub

Native binaries which do not require a JVM are available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. See the Sonatype CLI Binaries for details.

  • We recommend using the same version of the CLI as your Lifecycle server version. Newer versions of the CLI are often not compatible with older versions of the server.

  • The PKI option is not supported by the docker image.

CLI Authentication

For automated systems, we recommend passing a user token instead of a username and password. You may consider configuring a dedicated service account with the minimum access privileges.

The authentication credentials require the EvaluateĀ applications permissions for the specific application or organization to perform an analysis. We recommend using the default Application Evaluator role for simplicity.

Parameters such as user credentials should be obfuscated using a parameter file or environment variables.

See Passing CLI parameters from a file for details.

Evaluating an Application

The CLI will need an application configured in the Lifecycle server to determine which policy to use and to associate the finished scan report. Applications may be added beforehand or during evaluation using the Using Automatic application creation with the CLI feature.

Applications may be analyzed as a built archive file or a directory (build workspace) containing the application code.

As a Java application, the CLI is started using a java command with the required parameters. The syntax below represents the minimum set of options required to evaluate an application.

Example Lifecycle CLI Evaluation

The CLI requires the following parameters to run a scan: the applicationId, the Lifecycle URL, and credentials with permissions to analyze this application.

java -jar [sonatype-cli] -a [username:password] -i [--application-id] -s [--server-url] [scan-target]

Example command

java -jar nexus-iq-cli*.jar \
  -a username:password \
  -i sandbox-application \
  -s http://localhost:8070 \

Access the CLI help by running it without parameters

java -jar ./nexus-iq-cli*.jar

Reachability Analysis with the Lifecycle CLI

Sonatype will analyze your application code with Reachability Analysis. The analysis detects method signatures in the application code that contain components with potentially exploitable security vulnerabilities.

Learn how to use Reachability Analysis

CLI parameters


The path to the Sonatype CLI jar file or native binary.

-a, --authentication

Provide credentials in the following format: username:password


Delegate authentication to the JVM environment.

-i, --application-id

The PublicId for the application. When Automatic Applications is enabled and the PublicId has not yet been used, a new application will be created.

-O, --organization-id

The ID for the organization to which the application belongs. When automatic application creation is enabled and the application does not exist, it will be created under the organization having the provided organization ID.

See Using Automatic application creation with the CLI

-s, --server-url

The location of your Lifecycle server (e.g. http://localhost:8070).


Path to specific files, directory, or docker image. Include one or more scan targets at the end of the command. See supported file formats in Analysis.

Reachability parameters

-c, --call-flow-analysis

Perform a reachability analysis in Java or JVM language binaries to determine the method signatures that trigger a security vulnerability. See Reachability Analysis

-cn, --call-flow-analysis-namespaces

Limit the reachability analysis to a specific namespace for faster, more precise results. Multiple namespaces are set by repeating the parameter.

-cn com.package1 -cn org.package2

Additional parameters

Additional options to use in evaluating applications with the Sonatype CLI.

-t, --stage

Specify the development lifecycle stage for the analysis. Defaults to the build stage

-r, --result-file

Send the output to a specific file path as a JSON data object.

See Example Scan Result File

-m, --metadata-file

Specify the file path providing a JSON object containing the commit hash for the SCM integrations.

{"commitHash": "<git-commit-hash>"}

Specify module files to ignore via Apache Ant-styled patterns. Repeat the option for multiple specifications.

-w, --fail-on-policy-warnings

Causes a failure of the evaluation if any warnings are encountered.

-e, --ignore-system-errors

Ignore system errors (e.g. IO, Network, server, etc.) when running on continuous integration servers to avoid unintentional build failures.

-E, --ignore-scanning-errors

Ignore scanning errors (e.g. invalid files, inaccessible files, etc) when the code base contains invalid files for testing purposes. Scanning these files may cause unintentional build failures.

-X, --debug

Enables debug logging for troubleshooting. Use with caution as this log may expose sensitive information.

-k, --keep-scan-file

Retain the temporary scan file normally deleted at the end of the scan.

Proxy parameters

-p, --proxy

Specify a proxy to use when connecting to the Lifecycle server. This property is set using the format <host[:port]>, otherwise, the CLI uses the default HTTP proxy for the JVM.

-U, --proxy-user

Specify proxy credentials in the following format: <username:password>


The CLI will use the proxy configuration when the system property is set to true. This property can be changed on the command line or in the JRE installation file lib/

Java parameters for the CLI

The -D switch is a Java parameter for setting system parameters. There are a few parameters that require this content when passed to the CLI.


Include the Sha256 in the scan file

-D includeSha256=true

Enable this parameter to limit analysis to the project's dependencies section of a pom file while excluding the components under the dependencyManagement section.

When the component's version is specified in the dependencyManagement section rather than the project's dependencies section, the version will continue to be picked up from the dependencyManagement section even when this parameter is set.

-D excludeMavenDependencyManagement=true

Scan Targets

You may specify multiple scan targets ( directories or files) separated by spaces:

test/dir/*/*.jar test/*/*.ear

Scan targets use standard glob expansion as defined by the shell the CLI is running on.

Evaluation results

When the Sonatype CLI evaluation is successful, the output provides a summary and a link to the resulting scan report. Use this link to navigate directly to the report.

[INFO] Policy Action: Warning
[INFO] Summary of policy violations: 4 critical, 85 severe, 46 moderate
[INFO] The detailed report can be viewed online
at http://localhost:8070/ui/links/application/my-app/report/95c4c14e