Connect to Turbot Pipes from Metabase

Metabase is an open source tool that connects to many databases, including Postgres, and enables users to explore, query, and visualize data.

Steampipe provides a single interface to all your cloud, code, logs and more. Because it's built on Postgres, Steampipe provides an endpoint that any Postgres-compatible client -- including Metabase -- can connect to.

The Connect tab for your workspace provides the details you need to connect Metabase to Turbot Pipes.

Connect to Steampipe CLI from Metabase

You can also connect Metabase to Steampipe CLI. To do that, run steampipe service start --show-password and use the displayed connection details.

Steampipe service is running:
Host(s): localhost,,
Port: 9193
Database: steampipe
User: steampipe
Password: 9a**-****-**7e
Connection string: postgres://steampipe:9a**-****-**7e@localhost:9193/steampipe

Getting started

Metabase is a JVM app that you can run as a JAR file, or in a container, or as a native Mac app.

Here's one way to launch Metabase.

docker run -d -p 3000:3000 --name metabase metabase/metabase

With Metabase up and running, point a browser at port 3000, select Postgres as the database type, and enter your Turbot Pipes connection info.

Under Advanced Options, turn off both Unfold JSON Columns and Rerun queries for simple explorations.

Then browse to the Turbot Pipes database where you'll see a card for each installed plugin. Note that even with those two options off, it will take some time for Metabase to do its initial sync, especially for a plugin like AWS plugin that provides hundreds of tables.

Each card opens a view of the tables provided by a plugin. Here's the first screenful of tables provided by the aws plugin.

Summarize, filter, and chart one AWS table

We'll focus here on the aws_cost_by_service_daily table. Metabase displays an initial view of the data, with buttons to Filter and Summarize.

Click Summarize, choose Sum of ..., and pick Blended Cost Amount. Under Group by choose Period Start. Metabase charts the total costs for all services. The default grouping is weekly but you can switch to daily or monthly.

To summarize by the names of AWS services, open the Admin → Data Model screen, navigate to the aws_cost_by_service_daily table, and change the type of the Service column from No semantic type to Category. Then revisit the Filter operation on the table and choose Service. Now you can search for one or more services and filter the view to just those services.

These interactive methods are handy, but you can also open a SQL editor (click Ask a question → Native query) and write queries just as you do in Turbot Pipes, with some extra features provided by Metabase.

Use Metabase-enhanced SQL

You can augment your SQL queries with Metabase idioms that parameterize queries and connect them to a suite of UX widgets. To try that, click Ask a question → Native query → Turbot Pipes and paste this SQL.

to_char(period_end, 'YYYY-MM-DD') as day
{{ service }}
and period_start > now() - interval '1 month'
order by
day desc

When it sees a name in double squigglies, Metabase opens its Variables pane. Choose Field Filter as the type. To pick a field to map to, navigate from the list of schemas (all the installed plugins) to Aws to Aws Cost By Service Daily and choose Service. Now you can use a picker to filter the view to one or more services, as above.

To chart the data, click Visualization. Here's a chart for a selection of 3 services.

Send alerts

Suppose you'd like to be notified when the daily blended cost of any service exceeds 10 dollars. Here's a query to find those rows in the table.

to_char(period_end, 'MM-DD') as day,
blended_cost_amount > 10
and period_start > now()::timestamptz - interval '2 day'

In order to send an alert when one or more rows exceeds the threshold, first save the query as a Metabase question: a URL-addressable view like HOST://question/1-costly-services. Then create a Metabase dashboard, which is a container for one or more Metabase queries, and add the question to the dashboard.

Using a Metabase feature called Dashboard Subscriptions, you can can then set up notifications using email or Slack. Metabase will only notify when a table on the subscribed dashboard produces rows.


With Metabase and Turbot Pipes you can:

  • Summarize, filter, and chart the tables in your Turbot Pipes workspace

  • Create interactive widgets driven by data in those tables

  • Send query-driven alerts