Three steps to get started in Terra

Allie Hajian
  • Updated

Terra's mission is to help accelerate your research by integrating data, analysis tools, and built-in security components to deliver frictionless research flows from data to results. Follow the instructions below to set up a free account and explore Terra with $300 in free Google credits.

Note: some screens shown in this video are slightly out of date. The three sections of Terra Library's are now called "Datasets", "Featured Workspaces", and "Code & Workflows". In addition, the library's layout has been updated and you can now filter the featured workspaces (in the former "showcase" section).

Join our community and see how a cloud-native platform - built by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Data Sciences Platform, Microsoft, and Verily Life Sciences - can transform the way you do bioinformatics research. 

Step 1 - Register your Terra account

To get started with Terra, you'll first need to register. Account registration is free, and all that's required is a Google or Microsoft account. This could be a Gmail account, an institutional G Suite or Microsoft email, a Google account you set up that's associated with a non-Google address, or a Microsoft account that you set up with a non-Microsoft email.

Sign in with your Google or Microsoft account from the drop-down menu found in the top-left corner of the Terra app to register.  

Screenshot of landing page. Orange boxes highlight the main menu icon with three parallel lines and the 'sign in' button within the main menu.

Once you enter your login details and accept the Terms of Service, you will have registered on Terra! You can now browse all of the sections of the site. When you are ready to start working in Terra, you'll need to get billing set up, but we'll get to that in a moment.

For more detailed step-by-step instructions, see How to register on Terra (Google SSO) or How to set up/log into a Terra on Azure account.

Step 2 - Explore featured workspaces

The workspace is the fundamental working unit in Terra. Workspaces contain all the components for a research project in one place, and is where you can organize and share data and tools, and run analyses. Featured workspaces workspaces are reproducible, curated template workspaces for a variety of use-cases, including tutorials with step-by-step instructions. They're an excellent place to start getting a sense of what you can do on the platform.

We recommend all new users start to get familiar with Terra by browsing our collection of featured workspaces. You don't need to have any billing set up to get a taste of what you can do on Terra. 

These workspaces are organized into several categories (such as Getting Started Terra tutorials, Analysis Tools, Experimental Strategies, Data Generation Technology, datasets, Partner Projects, and Utilities) and can be searched and sorted on the Featured Workspaces in the Terra Library.

Featured workspaces run the gamut from primer and tutorial workspaces (including Quickstart tutorialsJupyter Notebooks 101 workspaces, and a Hail tutorial), to workspaces that focus on a particular analysis, dataset, or workflow. For example, filtering for GATK under Analysis Tools surfaces several GATK4 workspaces, which are extremely useful if you are using the Genome Analysis Toolkit and want to try out the GATK4 Best Practices workflows without having to do a lot of work up front. 

Step 3 - Try Terra at no cost with $300 GCP credits

To start working with data in Terra - for example, to create or clone a new workspace, batch-process data with workflows, or run interactive analyses in notebooks - you must have access to at least one Terra Billing Project. To learn how to access $300 in credits from Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and set up a Terra billing project, see Set up billing with $300 Google credits to explore Terra.

Congratulations!  You're ready to start working! Read Research in the cloud on Terra to learn more about what kinds of analyses you can run in Terra.

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