Best Practices for controlling workshop costs

Allie Hajian
  • Updated

Workshop organizers need to be able to show off and teach Terra's capabilities by having people run workflows and notebooks. After the workshop is over, however, you don't want to accidentally continue to accrue Google Cloud storage or compute charges. This article outlines two options for providing billing for workshop participants and step-by-step instructions for cutting off billing after the workshop.  

Before the workshop: Set up participant billing

If you are able to give pre-workshop instructions, setting up billing ahead of time will save at least fifteen minutes of precious workshop time. You will need to collect the Terra user IDs of all participants.

For most workshops, you will set up a single temporary Terra billing project for everyone in the workshop funded by your Google Cloud Billing account.

Advantages of using a workshop billing project

  • Foolproof approach: easy for participants, and no extra steps
  • Quick to add people the day of the workshop
  • Only need to disable one project after the event

Disadvantages of using a workshop billing project

  • Does not walk users through the process of creating a Terra billing project.
  • In order to work on Terra following the workshop, participants will have to set up their own billing and clone their workshop workspace to their billing project.
  • Participants cannot see detailed cost breakdowns or billing reports.

Another option: Free Google Cloud credits

See the section below for pros and cons of using Google's free cloud credits in a workshop. If you want to use the additional option ($300 Google Cloud free credits) make sure to send out a link to  instructions and even follow up with participants beforehand to make sure they have done it.

How to add participants to the workshop Billing project

You will add participants manually to the project or projects (preferably before the workshop). The workshop project will show in their drop down menu when they clone a workspace. Make sure to give it a unique name, to help with disabling billing after the workshop!

After the workshop: Disable billing for all workshop projects

To avoid accruing additional charges after the workshop, you must disable billing on the workshop billing project(s) following step-by-step instructions in to How to disable a Terra billing project.

Removing participants from billing is not enough to control future spendRemoving someone from a Terra Billing project only prevents them from creating new workspaces, not running analyses in an existing workspace.

We repeat - Users can still run workflows and notebooks even after you remove them from the billing project/account.

Step-by-step instructions to disable workshop billing

If you cannot follow the instructions, check your billing roleYou need to have “Owner” (Billing Account Administrator) permission of the Google Cloud Billing account in order to follow these instructions.

If you're not able to follow the directions below, or do not see the options in the screenshots, it is likely because you are not the GCP account owner. You will need to ask for admin privileges to disable billing. This may be the case, for example, if you are using STRIDES or third party resellers such as Onix.

1. Go to the Cloud Billing account owner's Billing page in Terra (Main Menu > Profile > Billing).

2. Select the workshop Terra Billing project to disable.

If the red `x` is greyed out, you are not logged into Terra as the Cloud Billing account owner. You will need to ask the owner to remove the Cloud Billing account in Terra. 

3. Click the red `x` to remove Billing Account.
Disable-Google_Cloud-billing-account-in-Terra_Screen_shot.png

What to expect when you remove the Cloud Billing account

Workshop participants will immediately be unable to access any data stored in the Workspace bucket or Cloud Environment PD, start a workflow or spin up a Cloud Environment in any workspace created with this project.

You will want to make sure to tell participants who want to be able to access work from the workshop to set up their own billing and copy any of their workspaces under their own billing.

Why isn't it enough to remove users from a billing account or project? 

Removing users from billing does not affect funding for existing workspaces, as long as the workspace billing project still exists. When you remove users from the billing account or project, they will not be able to create new workspaces, but they will still be able to run workflows or notebooks, as long as the Terra Billing project is funded.

Another option: Have participants use $300 in Google credits

In this scenario, participants would go to the Google Cloud console to access to the $300 getting started credits that Google offers new users. You could give instructions to do this before the workshop, or walk participants through it during the workshop.

Advantages of using Google Cloud credits

  • All workshop costs will be covered by the Google Cloud credits.
  • Participants will have plenty of money to spend after the workshop to explore Terra.
  • They will have three months (90 days) to use their credits.
  • Participants have full control over their spending and can access detailed billing on Google Cloud.

Disadvantages of using Google free credits for workshop costs

  • Only available to users who have not previously set up Google Cloud Billing accounts.
  • Participants have to give their credit card and go through GCP console to access GCP credits.
  • Some will not want to give their personal card (have to have a backup).
  • Google Cloud console can be confusing and overwhelming.

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