Selecting prior Cloud Environment versions

Anton Kovalsky
  • Updated

The pre-configured environments available through the Terra interface are regularly updated. You have several options when it comes to selecting prior versions of containers, and tracking updates to the pre-configured 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 the Terra UI:


A Docker container will typically contain a long list of interdependent code packages, and not having the right versions of any of the packages in the container you’re using can break your code. Our system simplifies things for you 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. If your notebook was written and tested in a default environment, and you need to delete and recreate 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 what version of GATK, R, and Python is part of that pre-configured environment.


  2. Making sure that you are using the right version of GATK or your programming language of choice may address all of your issues, but if not, you can visit our Git for more detail about the versions of individual packages in each pre-configured environment.
    The Git lists exactly what packages are present in each of our base images. This is also where you would go to download the base images in order to modify it to create your own custom docker image (
    check out this tutorial to see how that’s done).
  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 pre-set cloud environment configurations. 

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