How to view your cloud costs in Terra

Tiffany Miller
  • Updated

The article provides a quick tour of where you can view actual and estimated costs for computing, storage, and data transfer in Terra. This is helpful if you want to perform an action that you know has a cloud cost, but don't know how much it will be. If you don't have permission to view the breakdown of costs in your Google bill, this article will help you understand the rate at which you accrue expenses. 

Overview of cloud costs in Terra

The Terra platform itself is a cloud-native system that is free to use with a registered account. You pay for the Cloud resources you use. See Google Cloud costs associated with operations in Terra

Cloud Cost

Example on Terra


Data storage
See Google Cloud storage pricing.
Workspace Storage (Google bucket) Created when you create a workspace
  Cloud Environment persistent disk

Detachable storage associated with the virtual machine (VM) that runs Galaxy, Jupyter Notebooks, or RStudio analysis. 

See Google Cloud compute and
Google Cloud disk rates.
Running workflows

VM created when you launch a workflow and deleted when it completes. 

  Running interactive analysis apps (Jupyter Notebooks, Galaxy, and RStudio)

VM and persistent disk created when you launch a Cloud Environment. 

Data transfer out
See Google Cloud data transfer (egress) pricing.
Accessing data in Requester Pays buckets


Terra passes along Google Cloud charges with no markup

The links above will take you directly to the Google Cloud pricing pages). See Understanding and controlling Cloud costs on Terra for more details and examples.  

Costs are calculated per workspace, not per userEach workspace has its own Google project that organizes and tracks cloud costs for all activity in that workspace. Because all costs are summed per Google Project, it's not possible to associate cloud costs with specific collaborators in the same workspace.

It's similar to paying for electricity in your house: the owner (or whoever's name is on the electric bill) is responsible for all the electricity used, not who uses it. As with your electric bill, it's not possible to directly identify who is responsible for the charges. 

Where to find compute (VM) costs

There are separate virtual machine (VM) systems for each of Terra's two analysis modes

  1. Workflows
  2. Interactive analysis - Galaxy, Jupyter Notebooks, and RStudio) 

Workflows costs

To see the total run cost (actual cost) in the Job History page, follow these instructions for enabling Terra's built-in cost reporting


To learn more, see How much does my workflow analysis cost? 

Cloud Environment (interactive analyses) costs

Cloud environment costs include

  • An hourly cost for running the VM environment
  • Asmall cost for keeping the environment paused
  • A monthly cost for any persistent disk storage

When you start up a Cloud Environment VM, you see an estimated cost at the top of the screen. When you adjust the settings, you see the estimates change. 

Screenshot of Jupyter Cloud Environment cloud costs

To estimate your interactive analysisUse the formula:

(cost/hour x hours your Cloud Environment is running) + cost of the persistent disk storage

Remember that you pay for the VM when it is running, whether or not it performs any calculations.

Estimating cloud storage costs

Your workspace dashboard shows an estimated monthly storage cost for the files in your workspace bucket. Remember that any failed or successful workflows generate intermediate files and those files are stored in your workspace bucket. 

Screenshot of estimated workspace storage cost in Dashboard

Determining data transfer costs

Data tables (on the Data page of your workspace) can reference input files stored outside of Terra. To download them (to local storage) can incur data transfer charges. If you click on a link to a file in a data table, you surface a modal window with the file's metadata and a button describing the estimated cost for download (data transfer). 


Data transfer charges apply only if the data is in a requester pays bucketOtherwise, all data transfer charges are billed to the data owner. 

Additional resources

Click the links below for a more detailed view of costs

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