How to run Cloud Datalab on your laptop

Cloud Datalab is the hosted way to run Jupyter notebooks on Google Cloud. But if you run a lot of managed services (Cloud ML Engine, Dataflow, BigQuery, etc.), you don’t really need a powerful VM — your laptop is enough. At the same time, it can be helpful to have a git repository on your local laptop, develop Python files in PyCharm, and still use Datalab for its GCP integration.

Can you run Datalab on your laptop?

Yes. This is what I do (note: this is completely unofficial and unsupported):

  1. Install Docker on your laptop.
  2. Install the gcloud SDK on your laptop
  3. In a terminal, run ```gcloud auth login``` to login to your project
  4. In the same terminal, save and run run this script (change the CONTENT) variable first!
CONTENT=${HOME}/code/training-data-analyst # your git repo
PROJECT_ID=$(gcloud config get-value project)
if [ "$OSTYPE" == "linux"* ]; then

docker pull $IMAGE
docker run -it \
-v "$CONTENT:/content" \

Now, you can simply browse to http://localhost:8080/ and from there open any notebook in your local repo, and work on it using Datalab.



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Lak Lakshmanan

Operating Executive at a technology investment firm; articles are personal observations and not investment advice.