How to disable billing

Allie Hajian
  • Updated

To prevent Terra from incurring GCP costs, you can disable or delete one or all Terra Billing projects under a Google Cloud Billing account. This article explains what happens when you do this as well as step-by-step instructions.  

What happens when you disable/delete a Terra Billing project?

Disabling a Terra billing project removes the GCP Billing account from the project. This will have a number of immediate downstream effects. 

1. You will lose access to any data stored in workspaces associated with the Billing project 
This includes data in the Workspace bucket and the Cloud Environment PD. Google does not report how long they retain data that isn't being paid for, but they reserve the right to delete that data at any time.

2. You cannot do work in any workspace associated with the billing project
This will impact all workspaces created under the Terra Billing project you are disabling. When you visit an existing workspace funded by the disabled Terra billing project, you'll discover you're no longer able to perform any actions that have a cloud cost. These include:

  • Viewing data stored in the Workspace bucket
  • Adding data to the Workspace bucket
  • Starting a Cloud Environment, or interactive analysis (RStudio, Galaxy)
  • Viewing or running a notebook (notebook ipynb files are stored in the Workspace bucket)
  • Submitting a workflow

3. You cannot create new workspaces using the Billing project
The Terra billing project will no longer be available in the dropdown menu when trying to create a workspace or clone your own template copy of an existing workspace.

Deleting versus disabling billing

Deleting is more permanent than disabling. Consider the following. 

Is there a chance you would want to reinstitute the Terra Billing project?
If you disable the Terra Billing project (by removing its associated Cloud Billing account), you can reinstate it later in Terra. If you delete it, it is gone (i.e. you will not be able to enable workspaces originally created under the Billing project).   

Do you need the change to take effect immediately?
There is a delay for deleting a Terra Billing project (using Swagger - Option 2 below) on workspaces created after September 24, 2021 at 4:00 EST, as Terra goes through and disables billing on each workspace Google project one at a time.

These impacts will happen immediately for workspaces created before September 24, 2021.  

Before you attempt to delete/disable a Terra billing projectYou need to have “Owner” (Billing account administrator) permission on the GCP Billing account in order to follow these instructions.
If you are 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 the owner for admin privileges to disable billing on GCP console.  If you are using third-party resellers such as STRIDES or Onix, they will have to follow these instructions.

You will have very limited workspace access
It will not be possible to access any data or notebooks in the workspace buckets or use any analysis tools in affected workspaces. Note that you will still be able to access workflows and data tables (to copy to another workspace, for example) or clone the workspace to another Terra Billing project.

What to expect when billing is disabled (screenshots)

If you try to view data or notebooks stored in the Workspace bucket, or other buckets in the same billing project, you will get the following message.

If you try to start a Cloud Environment:

If you submit a workflow, you will have a failed status in the Job History page:

Clicking on the Dashboard icon will expose an error message "The billing account for the owning project is disabled in state absent":

Option 1: Disable the Terra billing project

Disabling the project means removing the associated Google Cloud Billing account. The Billing project will still exist (you can see it in your Billing page), but it will not show up when you try to clone or create a workspace. 

1.1. Go to your Billing page (Main Menu > Profile > Billing).

1.2. Select the Terra Billing project you want to disable.

If the red `x` is greyed outThere is no Google Cloud Billing account linked to your Terra billing project.

1.3. Click the red `x` to remove the Google Cloud Billing account.


Note: What happens when you remove the Cloud Billing account?
You 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. 

Option 2: Delete the Terra billing project (Swagger API)

If you don't need or want the Terra Billing project, you can delete it and all of the associated workspaces using the Swagger API. Note that the workspaces you have created with this Billing project will still exist (you can copy them, and access their data tables and workflows). However, anything that has a GCP cost to store or maintain (all files stored in the workspace bucket or Cloud Environment memory or persistent disk) will be deleted. 

For step-by-step instructions, see Delete a Terra Billing project using Swagger.

How to disable workspace billing 

To eliminate the possibility of a particular workspace incurring charges, while keeping the Terra Billing project intact, we recommend deleting the workspace. Terra will delete the workspace Google project at the same time. Make sure to copy any data or notebooks you want to keep from the workspace bucket or Persistent Disk to another workspace or an external bucket. 

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