How to disable billing in Terra

Allie Hajian
  • Updated


To prevent Terra from incurring Google Cloud costs, you can disable or delete one or all Terra Billing projects under a Google Cloud Billing account. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to disable billing in Terra.

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

Disabling a Terra billing project removes the Google Cloud Billing account from the project. This has a number of immediate downstream effects. 

1. You 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 aren't being paid for, but they reserve the right to delete that data at any time.

2. You cannot run an analysis in any workspace associated with the billing project

This will impact all workspaces created under the Terra Billing project you disable.  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. 

Example of actions you can no longer perform

  • View data stored in the Workspace bucket
  • Add data to the Workspace bucket
  • Start a Cloud Environment, or interactive analysis (RStudio, Galaxy)
  • View or run a notebook (notebook ipynb files are stored in the Workspace bucket)
  • Submit/launch 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

Choose carefully because deleting is more permanent than disabling! 

Reasons to disable billing (instead of deleting the Terra Billing project)

  1. There is a chance you may want to reinstitute the Terra Billing project
    If you disable the Terra Billing project (remove its associated Cloud Billing account), you can reinstate it later. If you delete it, it is gone (i.e., you will not be able to enable workspaces originally created under the billing project).
  2. You need the change to take effect immediately
    There is a delay for deleting a Terra Billing project only (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 project

Permissions requirements

  • You need to have “Owner” permission on the Terra Billing Project
  • You need to be a User on the Cloud Billing account.

If you cannot follow the directions below, or do not see the options in the screenshots, you are not the Terra Billing project owner. You need to ask the owner to edit your role in order to disable billing.

If you are using third-party resellers such as STRIDES or Onix and you have any problems following the instructions, contact your reseller for assistance.

You will have very limited workspace access Once you disable or delete billing, it will be impossible to access data or notebooks in the workspace buckets or use analysis tools in affected workspaces.

Note: You will still be able to access workflows and data tables (e.g., to copy to another workspace) or clone the workspace to another Terra Billing project.

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, and you can re-instate it by linking a working Google Cloud Billing account), but 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.

1.3. Click the three vertical dot action icon to remove the Google Cloud Billing account.

Screenshot of Terra billing page with text 'Remove billing account' highlighted

What happens when you remove the Cloud Billing account?

Immediately, you will 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: The workspaces you created with this Billing project will still exist (you can copy them, and access their data tables and workflows). However, anything that has a Google Cloud 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 How to delete a Terra Billing project (Swagger).

How to disable billing on a workspace 

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 you copy any data or notebooks you want to keep from the workspace bucket or Persistent Disk to another workspace or an external bucket. 

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.

Example error (viewing data in Workspace bucket)

Screenshot of error popup that reads 'File Error Error loading data the file doesn't exist or you don't have permission to view it

Example error (starting Cloud Environment)

Screenshot of error message popup that says 'Cloud Environment is in Error State. Failed to create cluster 60766 due to Forbidden'

Example error in Job History (submitting a workflow)

Screenshot of Job History page highlighting the red exclamation point icon failed status and an arrow pointing to the dashboard icon in the center of three icons under links

If you click on the Dashboard (middle icon), you will see the error message "The billing account for the owning project is disabled in state absent."

Example error (in Job History Dashboard)

Screenshot of Job History page showing error message 'the billing account for the owning project is disabled in state absent'

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