Selecting prior Cloud Environment versions

Anton Kovalsky
  • Updated

The preconfigured environments available through the Terra interface are regularly updated. In this article, you'll learn about several options for selecting prior versions of containers, and tracking updates to the preconfigured ones.

Cloud Environments basics

Cloud Environments are packaged in the form of Docker containers. A Docker container is a unit of software that contains instructions for installing all the necessary dependencies for a given application to run smoothly. The latest default environment can always be selected in Terra:


Typically, a Docker container will contain a long list of interdependent code packages. Incorrect versions of any of the packages in the container you’re using can break your code. Our system simplifies things because you only need to know the version of the Docker image you’re using (and any packages you install manually), while we take care of versioning the contents.

This is especially important if you have been working in the same notebook for a month or longer. Let's say your notebook was written and tested in a default environment, and you need to delete and re-create the environment. Your notebook may not function as expected if the default environment has been updated since you originally developed the notebook. In that case, you may need to either update your code or select a legacy environment.

How to ensure you're running the right versions of each package

  1. To check if you need an older version of a container, select one of the legacy configurations in the environment drop-down menu. The menu options label the date at which a given configuration was frozen in a “legacy state”. The label also includes additional information about which version of GATK, R, and Python is part of that preconfigured environment.


  2. Using the right version of GATK or your programming language of choice may address all of your issues. If it doesn't, you can visit our Git for more detail about the individual package versions in each preconfigured environment.
    The Git lists exactly what packages are present in each of our base images. Also, this is where you go to download the base images so you can modify them to create your own custom docker image (check out this tutorial).
  3. You can find all previous Terra Docker images in the Broad Google Container Registry. See this guide to get started! 
  4. Finally, you can follow our release notes to stay informed about updates to our preset cloud environment configurations. 

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