Run Powerpipe

Powerpipe is simple to install and manage and does not require any special expertise to get started. It's distributed as a single binary file - just download and run it!

Mod Location

Powerpipe always runs in the context of a mod, which is a collection of Powerpipe benchmarks, controls, dashboards, and queries. You can import and use resources from other mods so you can get started without even writing any code! You can explore the available mods on the Powerpipe Hub.

Powerpipe loads the mod from the current directory by default, but you can pass the --mod-location flag or set the POWERPIPE_MOD_LOCATION to set it to a different path.

Configuration Files

Powerpipe will load configuration files (*.ppc) according to the configuration search path. You can change this path with the --config-path argument or the POWERPIPE_CONFIG_PATH environment variable, but it defaults to .:$POWERPIPE_INSTALL_DIR/config (.:~/.powerpipe/config). This allows you to manage your workspaces centrally in the ~/.powerpipe/config directory, but override them in the mod location if desired.

Selecting a database

Most public mods are written without specifying a database on each query. As a result, all queries in the mod run against the 'active' database. By default, the active database is postgres://steampipe@localhost:9193/steampipe, thus Powerpipe will run against a local Steampipe instance.

You may instead run Powerpipe against a specific database by passing the --database argument. This works with batch commands:

powerpipe benchmark run cis_v120 --database postgres://

and with the dashboard server:

powerpipe server --database postgres://

You may instead set the database with the POWERPIPE_DATABASE environment variable:

export POWERPIPE_DATABASE=postgres://
powerpipe benchmark run cis_v120
powerpipe server

Or you can set it in a workspace and then pass the workspace name to the command:

powerpipe benchmark run cis_v120 --workspace my_workspace
powerpipe server --workspace my_workspace

You can even change the default by setting it in your default workspace.

If you use Turbot Pipes, you can run Powerpipe against the Pipes workspace database (you will need to log in first):

powerpipe benchmark run cis_v120 --workspace acme/anvils
powerpipe server --workspace acme/anvils

While most Powerpipe mods are written for Steampipe databases, Powerpipe can also connect to other engines, including Postgres:

powerpipe server --database 'postgresql://'


powerpipe server --database 'mysql://root:my_pass@tcp(localhost)/mysql'


powerpipe server --database 'sqlite:./my_sqlite_db.db'

and DuckDB :

powerpipe server --database 'duckdb:./my_ducks.db'

Targeting specific schemas/connections (Postgres/Steampipe)

A PostgreSQL database contains one or more schemas. A schema is a namespaced collection of named objects, like tables, functions, and views. When writing a query, you may qualify the table name with the schema name (e.g. select * from schema_name.table_name) or use an unqualified name (select * from table_name). When using unqualified names, the system determines which table is meant by following a search path; the first matching table in the search path is taken to be the one wanted.

Usually, Powerpipe mods use unqualified queries to "target" whichever connection is first in the search path, but you can specify a different path if you want:

powerpipe benchmark run cis_v150 --search-path aws_connection_2,github,slack

The --search-path argument will replace the entire search path. Often you just want to move a single connection to the front of the path:

powerpipe benchmark run cis_v150 --search-path-prefix aws_connection_2

Steampipe creates a schema for each connection and aggregator, and understanding how the search path works is important when using Steampipe and Powerpipe. See the Using search_path to target connections and aggregators guide for more information.

Operating Modes

Powerpipe can operate in 2 modes.

By default, Powerpipe runs in Client-only Mode. Powerpipe loads the mod, runs the command, and exits. Interactive dashboards are not enabled in Client-Only Mode.

If you run Powerpipe in Server Mode mode, Powerpipe will run a dashboard server (on port 9033 by default). In this mode, you can browse Interactive dashboards by navigating to http://localhost:9033/ in your web browser.