When workspace creation fails: Google project quotas

Allie Cliffe
  • Updated

Have you gotten 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 Platform (GCP), quotas limit how much of a particular GCP cloud resource you can use. Quotas prevent unforeseen spikes in usage, making sure resources are available to the community at all times. 

Project quotas impact your ability to create new workspaces

GCP limits the number of Google projects that can be created by a single user (default is 25) or under a single Google Cloud Billing account (default is five). Since Terra generates a unique Google project for each workspace, this impacts the number of workspaces you can create in Terra. If you have too many Google projects, or if there are too many in a single Billing account, you won't be able to create a new Terra workspace. 

Google enforces two project quotas that typically impact Terra users

  • A limit on the number of projects per GCP Billing account
  • A limit on the number of projects a single user can create 

Examples of projects that count against your quota

Google projects you create on GCP and projects that Terra creates for you when you create a workspace all count against this limit. 

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. 

Project quota symptom (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:


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

There are two distinct Google Project quotas:

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

Terra users are most likely to be impacted by the first, because the default quota is small (five Google Projects per Cloud Billing account). Unfortunately, there is no way to check your current per-billing-account project quota limit.  

Checking projects-per-Billing-Account quota

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 GCP console. This page will list all projects (even disabled ones) created under the selected billing account.  

Checking projects-per-user quota

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

Note that you can have plenty of Google projects left as a user, but still bump up against the per-Google-Billing account quota limit. If the Google Billing account has an established history (i.e. has accrued and paid GCP charges), you should be able to request a quota increase. 

How much quota will I need?

Google project quota defaults

By default, Google Cloud only allows the creation of five projects per billing account. Since there is a 1:1 relationship between Terra workspaces and Google projects, this limits the number of workspaces per billing account to five (assuming you haven't also created any on GCP console). This number is insufficient for most Terra users, let alone groups with many users on the same billing account. 


We recommend asking for a small (five) quota to avoid triggering an abuse investigation. When you have established a reputation with Google based on work in GCP (in Terra), you can ask for more quota later, as your project needs grow.  

How to request a project 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 details. See below for how to complete each field (in bold).

  • 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 GCP billing account ID here.
  • Any other things we need to be aware of to help us understand the request? Please input your own version of the text below in the input field
    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.

    Why it's important to use your own wordsAn exact copy and paste can flag an abuse investigation. Note that we are working with GCP on a way to expedite this process for genuine Terra users:

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

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