When workspace creation fails: Google project quotas

Allie Cliffe
  • Updated

Have you received a "precondition failed" error when creating a new workspace? It could be because you've exceeded the default Google project quota. Read on to understand how Google project quotas can affect your work, and how to ask for more when you need them. 

Overview: Google project quotas in Terra

In the Google Cloud, quotas limit how much of a particular Google Cloud resource you can use. Quotas prevent unforeseen spikes in usage, making sure resources are available to the community at all times. 

Google enforces two project quotas that typically impact Terra users

  1. A limit on the number of projects per Google Cloud Billing account (default quota is five)
  2. A limit on the number of projects a single user can create (default quota is 25)

Terra users are most likely to be impacted by the first, because the default quota is small (five Google Projects per Cloud Billing account).

Google Project quotas impact your ability to create new workspaces in Terra

Since Terra generates a unique Google project for each workspace, project quotas impact the number of workspaces you can create in Terra. If you (your Terra Google ID) exceed your quota, you won't be able to create a new Terra workspace.

Unfortunately it can be tricky to understand the reason for the problem from the error message!

Examples of projects that count against your quota

  • Google projects you create on Google Cloud
  • Workspace projects that Terra creates for you when you create a workspace

To learn more about Google project quotas, see the Google documentation.  

When would I need to request additional quota?

Quota limits are not always easy to diagnose! Below are behaviors and error messages that indicate you may need a project quota increase. 

Symptom that you've exceeded your project quota (workspace fails to create)

If you have exceeded your Google project quota and try to create a workspace in Terra, your workspace will fail to create and you will get an error message in the create workspace modal.

The error message will include the phrase "Precondition check failed."

Screenshot of project quota error message when workspace fails to create

Full error message

400 Bad Request PUT
7ae86bdb/billingInfo { "code": 400, "details": [ {
"type.googleapis.com/google.rpc.QuotaFailure" } ],
"errors": [ { "domain": "global", "message":
"Precondition check failed.", "reason":
"failedPrecondition" } ], "message": "Precondition
check failed.", "status": "FAILED_PRECONDITION" }

How do I check my Terra workspace (i.e., Google Cloud) quota?

The process for checking your quota depends on which quota you've exceeded. 

  1. limits on how many projects can be under a single Google Cloud Billing account
  2. limits on how many projects a single individual can create

How to check projects-per-Billing-account quota (1)

Unfortunately, there is no way to check your current per-billing account project quota limit.  

You can check how many projects are attached to a Google Cloud Billing account (you must be the Billing account owner or admin) by going into the Billing account in Google Cloud console. This page will list all projects (even disabled ones) created under the selected billing account.  

How to check projects-per-user quota (2)

To see how much of your per-user quota you have left, go to the "Create project" page on Google Cloud console. The number of projects you have in your quota will be at the top of the page:

Screenshot showing the Google Cloud console message indicating how much of your projects-per-user quota is left. An orange rectangle highlights this message. 

Note: You can have plenty of Google projects left as a user, but still bump up against the per-Google-Billing account quota limit. 

How much quota will I need?

Google project quota defaults

By default, Google Cloud only allows five Google projects per billing account. Since each Terra Workspace has its own dedicated Google project, this limits the number of workspaces per billing account to five (assuming you haven't also created any on GCP console, outside of Terra). This number is insufficient for most Terra users, let alone groups with many users on the same Billing account. 


To start, we recommend keeping your projects-per-billing-account quota at five, to avoid triggering an abuse investigation. Once you have established a reputation with Google based on work in Google Cloud (in Terra), you can ask for more quota later as your project needs grow.  

How to request a project quota increase

If the Google Billing account has an established history (i.e., has accrued and paid Google Cloud charges), you should be able to request a quota increase. 

You will need to ask Google directly for an increase in your project quota (Terra cannot make the request on your behalf). Note that you need to be the Google Cloud Billing account owner or admin to make this request. 

1. Go to https://support.google.com/code/contact/billing_quota_increase.

2. Fill out the form, following the guidelines below:

  • Name: Your name
  • Email addresses that will be used to create projects: use the Google Cloud Billing account owner's address
  • How many projects are being requested: 5

    Why five projects?As a new Billing account with little to no reputation, asking for an extremely high number of additional projects is a trigger for an abuse investigation. We recommend starting with the minimum quota that can meet your needs, and then asking for more quota later, as your project needs grow.

  • What kind of services will these projects use? Paid services
  • Billing account (note that this field appears when you select the paid services radio button)
    You can find the 18-digit Google Cloud Billing account ID on your Google Cloud billing accounts overview page.
  • Any other things we need to be aware of to help us understand the request? Please input your own version of the text below:

    Why it's important to use your own wordsAn exact copy and paste can flag an abuse investigation. Note: We're working with Google Cloud to expedite this process for genuine Terra users.

    Example text: "I use a platform (Terra at app.terra.bio) that creates Google projects via an API to handle data security and processing. In order to use Terra, I need sufficient quota so that projects created by the platform can be transferred over to my Billing account."

Expect a confirmation email from Google within a day or two. They may ask for additional information. before granting the request. 

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