Note: This installation method will be deprecated by the end of 2022. The current recommended method for installing Turbinia is here.

Turbinia Quick Installation Instructions


Turbinia can be run on the Google Cloud Platform, on local machines, or in a hybrid mode. See the “how it works” documentation for more details on what the architecture looks like for each of these installation types. This doc covers the recommended quick installation instructions for Cloud installations. This uses terraform configs that are part of the Forseti Security repository to automate deployment of Turbinia into an existing GCP Project. If you want to install Turbinia in hybrid or local only mode, or want to install Turbinia manually (not recommended), see here for details.


The following steps can be performed on any Linux machine (Ubuntu 18.0.4 recommended), and Cloud Shell is one easy way to get a shell with access to your GCP resources.

GCP Project Setup

  • Create or select a Google Cloud Platform project in the Google Cloud Console.
  • Determine which GCP zone and region that you wish to deploy Turbinia into. Note that one of the GCP dependencies is Cloud Functions, and that only works in certain regions, so you will need to deploy in one of the supported regions.
  • Install google-cloud-sdk.
    • Note: If you are doing this from cloud shell you shouldn’t need this step.
  • Run gcloud auth login to authenticate. This may require you to copy/paste url to browser.
  • Run gcloud auth application-default login

Deploy Turbinia

  • Download the Terraform CLI from here.
  • Clone the Forseti Security repository and change to the path containing the configs
    • git clone
    • cd osdfir-infrastructure
  • Configuration
    • By default this will create one Turbinia server instance and one worker instance. If you want to change the number of workers, edit the modules/turbinia/ file and set the turbinia_worker_count variable to the number of workers you want to deploy.
    • To adjust the GCP zone and region you want to run Turbinia in, edit the modules/turbinia/ file and change the gcp_zone and gcp_region variables as appropriate to reflect your GCP project’s zone and region.
    • If you want to use docker to run Turbinia tasks, please follow the instructions here to enable docker.
    • Running the following commands will leave some state information under the current directory, so if you wish to continue to manage the number of workers via Terraform you should keep this directory for later use. Alternatively, if you wish to store this information in GCS instead, you can edit and change the bucket parameter to the GCS bucket you wish to keep this state information in. See the Terraform documentation for more information.
    • The current configuration does not enable alert notifications by default. Please see here for the instructions
    • If you are running multiple workers on a given host and within containers, ensure that you are mapping the host OUTPUT_DIR path specified in the configuration file .turbiniarc to the containers so that they can properly update the RESOURCE_STATE_FILE.
  • Initialize terraform and apply the configuration
    • ./ --no-timesketch
      • If the --no-timesketch parameter is not supplied, Terraform will also create a Timesketch instance in the same project, and this can be configured to ingest Turbinia timeline output and report data. See the Documentation on this for more details.
      • When prompted for the project name, enter the project you selected during setup.

This should result in the appropriate cloud services being enabled and configured and GCE instances for the server and the worker(s) being started and configured. The Turbinia configuration file will be deployed on these instances as etc/turbinia/turbinia.conf. If you later want to increase the number of workers, you can edit the turbinia/ file mentioned above and re-run terraform apply To use Turbinia you can use the virtual environment that was setup by the script.To activate the virtual environment, run the following command source ~/turbinia/bin/activate and then use turbiniactl. For more information on how to use Turbinia please visit the user manual.

Client configuration (optional)

If you want to use the command line tool, you can SSH into the server and run turbiniactl from there. The turbiniactl command can be used to submit Evidence for processing or see the status of existing and previous processing requests. If you’d prefer to use turbiniactl on a different machine, follow the following instructions to configure the client. The instructions are based on using Ubuntu 18.04, though other versions of Linux should be compatible.

  • Follow the steps from GCP Project setup above to install the SDK and authenticate with gcloud.
  • Install some python tooling:
    • apt-get install python3-pip python3-wheel
  • Install the Turbinia client.
    • Note: You may want to install this into a virtual-environment with venv or pipenv) to reduce potential dependency conflicts and isolate these packages into their own environment.
    • pip3 --user install turbinia
  • If running on the same machine you deployed Turbinia from, you can generate the config with terraform
    • terraform output turbinia-config > ~/.turbiniarc
  • Otherwise, if you are running from a different machine you’ll need to copy the Turbinia config from the original machine, or from the Turbinia server from /etc/turbinia/turbinia.conf.

Grafana SMTP Setup

If you want to receive alert notifications from Grafana, you’ll need to setup a SMTP server for Grafana. To configure a SMTP server, you need to add the following environment variables to Grafana env section in osdfir-infrastructure/modules/monitoring/

        name = "GF_SMTP_ENABLED" 
        value = "true"
      }, {
        name = "GF_SMTP_HOST"
        value = "" # Replace this if you're not using gmail
      }, {
        name = "GF_SMTP_USER"
        value = "<EMAIL ADDRESS HERE>"
      }, {
        name = "GF_SMTP_PASSWORD"
        value = "<PASSWORD>"
      }, {
        name = "GF_SMTP_SKIP_VERIFY"
        value = "true"
      }, {
        name = "GF_SMTP_FROM_ADDRESS"

By default Gmail does not allow less secure apps to authenticate and send emails. For that reason, you’ll need to allow less secure apps to access the provided Gmail account.

Once completed:

  • login to the Grafana Dashboard.
  • Select Alerting and choose “Notification channels”.
  • Fill the required fields and add the email addresses that will receive notification.
  • Click “Test” to test your SMTP setup.
  • Once everything is working, click “Save” to save the notification channel.