Initial credits and how to create a billing account

With the launch of the Controlled Tier and genomics data, researchers will have access to vastly more data than before. While the All of Us Researcher Workbench is free to use, there are costs associated with the storage and analysis of data, powered by the Google Cloud Platform (GCP; see the User Support Hub’s FAQ article “What exactly am I paying for?” for additional information). 

To get started, the All of Us Research Program currently provides each registered Beta researcher with $300 of initial computational credits. Credits do not expire, and the initial amount is adequate for getting started using the Registered Tier dataset in the Researcher Workbench. However, if accessing the Controlled Tier and genomics data, many of the genomic analyses will require significantly more computational cloud credits; if you need to spend more, you will need to set up an associated billing account.

This article details how to set up a billing account. For those unfamiliar with creating a Google billing account, our partners can assist you with account creation. If your work is NIH-funded, you may qualify for the STRIDES GCP pricing initiative. Our partners can also assist with this if desired.

 

Getting Started with Initial Credits

To begin research within the Researcher Workbench, you will start by creating a workspace. When setting up your workspace, you will be asked to select an account to use for billing for any work that is completed within that particular workspace. To use your initial credits, choose “Use All of Us initial credits” under “Select account” (this is the default).

Please note that while each researcher is allocated their own initial credits, when initial credits are selected for a workspace, all costs generated in that workspace will accrue only against the workspace creator’s initial credits. This includes any costs generated by collaborators within that workspace - their own initial credits will be unaffected.

Instructions for checking how much money you have spent:

From the Researcher Workbench, select the menu icon Billing.menuicon.png in the top left corner.

  1. Click on the Billing.arrowdown.png to the right of your name.
  2. Click on "Profile."
  3. In the upper right hand side of the page, you will see "All of Us initial credits used:" with a dollar amount displayed. This is the amount of money you have spent in your workspace.
  4. Directly below that, you will see "Remaining All of Us initial credits:" with a dollar amount displayed. This is the amount of money you have remaining in your account.

Once you have used up all of your All of Us initial credits, you will need to set up a billing account with the Google Cloud Platform to proceed with analyses on the Workbench. At this time, there are two options for setting up billing with the Google Cloud Platform, described below: Going through a third-party reseller or setting up the Google Cloud Billing yourself. Before getting started, we recommend talking to your institutional procurement office to see if they have a preferred account set-up method for billing with Google (such as a third-party reseller, an existing account, or preferred pricing via the NIH STRIDES program).

 

Setting up a Billing Account

Billing is managed at the workspace level and can draw either from the workspace creator’s initial All of Us initial credits or from a billing account funded by you or your institution. You can set up billing when creating a workspace or change an existing workspace you own to be associated with a new billing account.

Your billing information is securely stored with Google. The All of Us Research Program does not have access to this information. After you set up billing in Google Cloud, you can view your accounts directly from the Researcher Workbench. To make any future billing changes, however, you will return to Google Cloud.

Instructions:

For new workspaces, you will be prompted to choose either Select a New Billing Account or Create a New Billing Account. Use the dropdown menu to select either “Use All of Us initial credits” or another existing billing account.

 

Billing2.1.png

 

For existing workspaces, as a workspace owner, you may create or update a new billing account for an existing workspace by going to your workspace and selecting the three dots at the top right of your workspace and selecting “Edit.”



Billing2.2.png

 

If prompted, click to “Enable Billing Permissions,” select your @researchallofus.org account and click “Allow.”

 

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If you would like to use a billing account that is not yet listed, you may select “Create a new billing account.” This will prompt you with two options. Option 1: Set up your account yourself via the instructions below or Option 2: Let a Google billing partner help you.


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Option 1: Set up a Google Billing Account

If you're comfortable working in the GCP console, you can set up and manage a billing account in Google Cloud Platform yourself. If you don't want to navigate the GCP console, you can go through a third-party reseller who will do it for you (Option 2).

For manual GCP configuration, follow this set of instructions. 

⚠Warning:  DO NOT use your @researchallofus.org account to set up Google Cloud billing; use a personal or corporate Google account instead. If you are visiting from the Researcher Workbench, log out of your @researchallofus.org account. Log into a different google account and create an account on GCP (or log in). 

  1. Go to https://console.cloud.google.com/billing and select “Create a Billing Account.” Name your account and enter your billing information. 
  2. After a billing account has been created, you need to link your billing account to the All of Us Researcher Workbench. Go to the "Billing Accounts" tab at https://console.cloud.google.com/billing and select the billing account you would like to edit.
  3. Select  “Account Management” on the left hand panel. Go to “My Billing Account” on the right hand panel and select “Add Principal.” 
  4. Add ‘terra-billing@terra.bio’ and the ‘@researchallofus.org’ username(s) you would like to give permission to associate the billing account with a workspace they own.  In the dropdown for that member, select role "Billing" -> "Billing Account User." 
  5. Do not forget to click the "Save" button. 
    1. Note: "terra-billing@terra.bio" may show up in the list as  "terra-billing@firecloud.org." This is okay and expected.
  6. Once you have added these members, you can now return to the Workbench to finish selecting your billing account.

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⚠Warning: Costs can add up quickly! Use this GCP Billing Platform (https://console.cloud.google.com/billing) for many billing-related tasks including tracking costs. For instance, you can go to “Billing” > “Budgets & alerts” to set up billing alerts when you reach a certain spending threshold. You can also look at your cost breakdown.

Option 2: Google Billing Partner

You can set up billing through a third-party reseller directly from the Workbench.  Select “Let a Google billing partner create the account for you.” From there, you will be prompted to give your contact information. If your research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), you are eligible for the STRIDES GCP pricing initiative.

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A representative will receive the following information and contact you within one business day to start the process of helping you set up your account. If you do not hear back from them, please contact our support team.

 

Setting up a temporary billing account while setting up a long-term solution

As long as you haven’t previously utilized them in a Google profile, Google currently offers at least 300.00 in free GCP credits that you can use with an account for 90 days after their initial activation. You need to add a linked credit card to obtain the credits, though it will only be charged if you consent once the free credits expire. Since the credits are temporary, we recommend these credits only be used while setting up a permanent billing solution. See this article for more information.

 

How to view your billing report

If you are interested in understanding more about costs your account has incurred from different cloud services over time, you can view your billing report for a detailed breakdown of these costs.

  1. Open the workspace of interest in your Researcher Workbench account . In the URL, you can find the identification code for your workspace (see example below - identification code is in bold blue font) https://workbench.researchallofus.org/workspaces/aou-rw-29847a88/exploratory/data
  2. Go to https://console.cloud.google.com and login using your Researcher Workbench account information (i.e., your “@researchallofus.org” email and password)
  3. Click on “Select a project” in the top left corner of your screen mceclip1.png
  4. In the search bar, enter the identification code for your workspace (you may also scroll down the list to search for it) mceclip2.png
  5. Click on the project/workspace of interest (e.g., aou-rw-29847a88).  You can also star this project for ease of use later.
  6. On the home page, in the left side panel, hover your mouse over “Home,” then select “Dashboard”mceclip3.png
  7.  On the right side of your screen, in the box showing options related to Billing, click on “View detailed charges” mceclip5.png
  8. This will take you to a screen where you can view a more detailed overview of the costs incurred for this particular workspace over time, including the total costs to date. 

 

Budget Alerts

Currently, users cannot set a spending limit on a workspace. However, for billing accounts set up on Google Cloud Platform, users can set budget alerts to their billing accounts to keep track of spending.

 

Allowing Shared Workspace Billing through Write Privileges

As a registered All of Us Researcher Workbench researcher, you may share your workspaces with others at three privilege levels: reader, writer, owner. Writing/owner privileges allow the researcher to compute, meaning they can run workflows and interactive analyses within that workspace, and all charges incurred will be paid by the workspace owner’s billing account. 

If a researcher clones/duplicates a workspace, they will need to set up their own billing account to accrue costs.

Note: An @researchallofus.org researcher does not need to be added to your GCP account as a member to spend money on an account. They simply must be a writer/owner on a workspace with that billing account.

 

Disabling billing for researchers

Billing in the Workbench is tied to the billing project, which still has funding (as long as the Google Billing account used to create the project still exists). When you remove researchers from a billing account or project, they will not be able to create new workspaces using this account, but they will still be able to run workflows or notebooks in workspaces created with a valid billing project. 

⚠Warning: researchers can still run workflows and notebooks even after you remove them as a researcher from the billing account. You must remove the project from the billing account to limit use. Workflows currently in progress will continue to incur costs. However, all data and tools (including analysis scripts stored in GCP) used on the project will be lost if not funded by a billing project; if you would like to switch billing accounts for a project, you must clone the project first.

 

Note: You need to have Owner (Billing Account Administrator) privileges for the GCP Billing Account in order to follow these instructions. 

If you are using STRIDES or third party resellers, you may not be able to follow these steps unless you request admin privileges from the third-party reseller (who is the Owner). 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 for admin privileges to disable billing.  

  1. Go to the Google Cloud Console at https://console.cloud.google.com/home and go to the “Billing” → “Account Management” tab (just as done to add a user).
  2. You will see all projects created under this billing account, no matter which user created them. Click on the three vertical dots beside the billing project you want to disable and select “Disable.”

Once you disable billing, researchers will not be able to start a workflow or notebook in any workspace created with this project effective immediately. You will want to make sure to notify researchers who want to continue to access notebooks or other information from the workspace to set up their own billing account and copy any of their workspaces under their own billing account.

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