What is BigQuery Sandbox?: A Comprehensive Guide 101


BigQuery Sandbox

Google BigQuery is a Serverless Cloud Data Warehouse Solution offered by Google. BigQuery is easy to use as you can gain insights from your data using standard SQL queries. Today, organizations are generating and collecting more data. Serverless data warehouse solutions like BigQuery are preferred for data storage because they scale massively. BigQuery also has a web-based user interface to help users run advanced queries on public datasets. 

You may need to try BigQuery and explore its features before committing yourself to pay for it. BigQuery Sandbox enables users to try BigQuery at no cost. You are not required to provide your credit card information to use BigQuery sandbox. BigQuery sandbox users can access the same compute power just as users who have paid,  and they can run SQL queries on both small and large datasets. This makes it easy for new users to get started with BigQuery.

In this article, you will gain information about Google BigQuery Sandbox. You will also gain a holistic understanding of Google BigQuery, its key features, and the limitations of Google BigQuery Sandbox. Read along to find out in-depth information about undergoing Google BigQuery Sandbox.

Table of Contents


  • A Google Account
  • Basic Understanding of Google BigQuery

What is Google BigQuery?

BigQuery SandBox - Google BigQuery| Hevo Data
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Google BigQuery is a Cloud-based Data Warehouse that provides a Big Data Analytic Web Service for processing petabytes of data. It is intended for analyzing data on a large scale. It consists of two distinct components: Storage and Query Processing.

It employs the Dremel Query Engine to process queries and is built on the Colossus File System for storage. These two components are decoupled and can be scaled independently and on-demand.

Google BigQuery is fully managed by Cloud service providers. We don’t need to deploy any resources, such as discs or virtual machines. It is designed to process read-only data.

Dremel and Google BigQuery use Columnar Storage for quick data scanning, as well as a tree architecture for executing queries using ANSI SQL and aggregating results across massive computer clusters. Furthermore, owing to its short deployment cycle and on-demand pricing, Google BigQuery is serverless and designed to be extremely scalable.

For further information about Google Bigquery, follow the Official Documentation.

Key Features of Google BigQuery

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Some of the key features of Google BigQuery are as follows:

1) Scalable Architecture

BigQuery has a scalable architecture and offers a petabyte scalable system that users can scale up and down as per load.

2) Faster Processing

Being a scalable architecture, BigQuery executes petabytes of data within the stipulated time and is more rapid than many conventional systems. BigQuery allows users to run analysis over millions of rows without worrying about scalability.

3) Fully-Managed

BigQuery is a product of the Google Cloud Platform, and thus it offers fully managed and serverless systems.

4) Security

BigQuery has the utmost security level that protects the data at rest and in flight. 

5) Real-time Data Ingestion

BigQuery can perform real-time data analysis, thereby making it famous across all the IoT and Transaction platforms.

6) Fault Tolerance

BigQuery offers replication that replicates data across multiple zones or regions. It ensures consistent data availability when the region/zones go down.

7) Pricing Models

The Google BigQuery platform is available in both on-demand and flat-rate subscription models. Although data storage and querying will be charged, exporting, loading, and copying data is free.

It has separated computational resources from storage resources. You are only charged when you run queries. The quantity of data processed during searches is billed.

What is BigQuery Sandbox?

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BigQuery Sandbox allows you to explore the capabilities of BigQuery without incurring any cost to confirm whether it fits your data storage and computing needs.

With BigQuery Sandbox, you can use BigQuery and the Cloud Console without the need to provide your credit card information, create a billing account, or set up billing for your project. 

With BigQuery Sandbox, you get 1 terabyte of query capacity per month and 10GB of free storage. Partitions and tables are given a retention policy of 60 days. 

However, BigQuery Sandbox doesn’t have all the features of Google BigQuery. Some of the BigQuery features that are excluded from BigQuery Sandbox include streaming, DML, and Data Transfer Service.

If you need to access these features, you must upgrade your account and provide payment information. This is easy as you only have to click a button and follow a few on-screen instructions. 

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Getting Started with BigQuery Sandbox

The steps involved in accessing and using the BigQuery Sandbox are as follows:

  • Step 1: Log in to your Google Cloud account.
  • Step 2: To access the Sandbox, open the BigQuery homepage by clicking here.
  • Step 3: Now, click the “Try BigQuery free” button. 
BigQuery Sandbox - Try For Free Screenshot| Hevo Data
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  • Step 4: You will then be taken through simple on-screen instructions and the Bigquery web interface will be opened where you can write and run your first query. BigQuery comes with a number of public datasets that you will be able to query for experimentation purposes. 
Google BigQuery Sandbox - GCP Console| Hevo Data
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You only need a Google account to access BigQuery sandbox. 

For Whom is BigQuery Sandbox for?

BigQuery Sandbox was created for users who need to experiment with Bigquery for free without providing their payment information. It was created for the following groups of users:

  • Students: BigQuery sandbox allows students to use BigQuery for their class projects without necessarily worrying about billing. 
  • Government/Civic Employees: With Sandbox,  civic employees who want to explore BigQuery capabilities without going through a spending approval process only have to sign up, log in, and run their queries. 
  • Professional Developers: Developers will want to know how BigQuery integrates into their corporate architecture before committing themselves to use it. BigQuery Sandbox gives them the opportunity to test out the integrations without providing billing information or paying anything. 
  • Google Products Users: For example, Firebase. These users can now store their data in BigQuery and perform ad hoc analytics on their data. 
  • Scientists and Researchers: BigQuery sandbox helps them learn how to transform their analysis using cloud computing. 

BigQuery Sandbox vs GCP Free Trial

There are two introductory offers in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), BigQuery sandbox and GCP free trial. The sandbox provides easy access to BigQuery without the need to have a credit card.

If your goal is to experiment with BigQuery or any other Google product, the Bigquery sandbox is the best option for you. 

GCP free trial comes with a $300 credit that is applicable to all GCP products. If your goal is to experiment with many Google products, then choose the GCP free trial.

However, note that this free trial will require you to provide your credit card information, unlike the BigQuery sandbox. 

Upgrading from BigQuery Sandbox

The BigQuery Sandbox comes with a number of limitations. To remove these limitations, you should upgrade your account by providing your payment information. 

BigQuery Sandbox: Upgrading from BigQuery Sandbox| Hevo Data
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The following steps will help you to upgrade from the sandbox:

  • Step 1: Enable billing for your BigQuery project. You should sign into the Manage Billing accounts page in the cloud console. 
  • Step 2: Click the “My Projects” tab to view the list of all your projects. 
  • Step 3: Click the menu icon for the target project below “Actions” and choose “Change billing”. 
BigQuery Sandbox: Change Billing Option | Hevo Data
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  • Step 4: Choose the Billing account of your choice and click the “Set account” button. 
  • Step 5: Update the BigQuery resources by:
    • Removing or updating the default table expiration for the dataset.
    • Removing or updating the default partition expiration for the dataset.
    • Removing or updating the tables’ expiration time. 
    • Removing or updating the views’ expiration time. 
    • Removing or updating the table partition’s expiration time. 

Once you upgrade from the BigQuery sandbox, you will still be able to use the free tier and generate charges. You can manage the BigQuery quotas by setting up cost controls. 

Limitations of the BigQuery Sandbox

When using the BigQuery Sandbox, your account will be subject to the following limits:

  • All BigQuery quotas and limits (stated here) will apply. 
  • You will have the same free usage limits as BigQuery’s free tier, that is, 10GB of storage and 1 TB of processed query data every month. 
  • Default table expiration time is applied to all datasets and the default partition expiration is set to 60 days. Tables, partitions, and views in partitioned tables expire after 60 days. 
  • Sandbox doesn’t support DML (Data Manipulation Language) statements, streaming data, and Data Transfer services. 

You can remove the above limits by upgrading from the BigQuery Sandbox.


In this article, you have learned about BigQuery SandBox. This article also provided information on Google BigQuery, its key features, Google BigQuery Sandbox, and the limitations of the Google BigQuery Sandbox in detail. For further information on BigQuery Create View Command, BigQuery Analytic Functions, you can visit the former links.

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Nicholas Samuel
Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Skilled in freelance writing within the data industry, Nicholas is passionate about unraveling the complexities of data integration and data analysis through informative content for those delving deeper into these subjects. He has written more than 150+ blogs on databases, processes, and tutorials that help data practitioners solve their day-to-day problems.

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