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Creating a new environment on Nebari


In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a new environment on Nebari using conda-store, install new conda packages in your environment, manage multiple environments, and also share the environment with other Nebari users.

Why using conda environments

Development environments give developers and Data Scientists a "sandbox" to work in, experiment with new packages, work across multiple projects, and collaborate with their peers. Environment and package managers such as conda enable you to create isolated spaces to separate dependencies on a per-project basis. They also add other benefits such as:

  • Reduce friction to install and upgrade dependencies without affecting other projects or users
  • Reduce the risk of dependency conflicts
  • Promote reproducibility and replicability through dependency pinning
  • Reduce the "works on my machine" risk - thus working towards reproducible builds across multiple machines

What is conda?

Conda is an open source package management system that allows you to create environments and install packages into them. It allows the creators of a package to specify required dependencies which conda can then solve into an environment. Conda can then run an update on the environment to pull all the latest versions of the packages while still maintaining compatibility.

While conda manages compatibility between the packages in the environment, by default, this does not guarantee reproducible builds over time. An environment created with a list of packages today can differ from that same environment created with the same list of packages tomorrow. This can happen because package dependencies have changed, new releases have occurred, or even because a package is no longer available.

What is conda-store?

conda-store is a Python package that serves identical conda environments by controlling the environment lifecycle. It ensures that the management, building, and serving of environments is as identical as possible and seamless for the end users.

All environments in Nebari are served through conda-store.

Using conda-store, Nebari admins can track specific files or directories for changes in environment specifications. They can manage environments using the web interface, REST API, or the command-line utility (CLI). This tutorial focuses on using the web interface to interact with our environments.

Step 1 - Exploring the conda-store web interface

  1. To get started, navigate to https://<your-nebari-domain>/conda-store (e.g.

  2. You will need to log in to authenticate to the conda-store interface - this is required to be able to access most of conda-store functionalities.

    conda-store login UI - before authentication

  3. This will lead you through a series of windows to authorize with Keycloak, after which you will have access to the conda-store dashboard. By default, you will be directed to the user page containing information about your account and the associated permissions.

    conda-store dashboard UI - after authentication

Some useful sections to notice in the user page are:

  • User: this section of the dashboard allows users to explicitly logout of the interface.
  • Namespaces: Namespaces are an important part of the conda-store authorization model. They control what level of access users are provided to the individual environments. In other words, based on your permissions in each namespace, your ability to create, read, update, or delete and environment will differ.
  • Permissions: your current permissions in each namespace.

That is, unless your admin has configured your namespace differently. You can see here that the conda-store authorization model is able to provide admins with a fine-grained level of control.

Step 2 - Creating a new environment

  1. To create a new environment, click on the Create New Environment button on the top right of the navigation bar. You will be presented with an option to upload a conda YAML file or write your own.

    conda-store create environment UI

    For this tutorial, you can copy and paste the following environment specification:

    Sample environment specification
    - conda-forge
    - python=3.9
    - numpy
    - matplotlib
    - pandas
    - panel
    - ipykernel
    - ipywidgets
    name: example-environment
    prefix: null
  2. After you copy the above into the UI, go ahead and click the Submit button.

  3. You will be redirected to the environments overview page. Find the card with the name of the new environment under your user's namespace (e.g. <your-username>/example-environment).

    Newly create environment card

  4. Click on the card for your newly created environment. The UI will display the environment specification:

    conda-store - Environment details page

    If this is the first time visiting this page, the environment may still be in the process of building. The page will automatically update when the build is complete.

    From this page, you can Edit your YAML specification, or even Delete the environment.


    conda-store tracks all the environments behind the scenes for the users. Even if a user "deletes" an environment, it will still exist in the store. This ensures admins always have access to environment history.

  5. Now let's take a closer look at the conda build detail, to do this, click on the build number link in the conda-store interface. This will display a new page with the metadata about the environment including the time, size and status. Also included is your original YAML specification and a list of all the installed dependencies, their version and the used conda channels.

    conda-store UI - Sample environment build details page: showing build details, specification file, and conda packages

    Scroll down to the bottom of this list, and you'll see a section called Conda Environment Artifacts. This is where you can download your own copy of the YAML file, a conda-lock file, and a tar.gz archive of the environment.

    conda-store UI - Sample environment build details page: showing the conda environment artifacts

  6. Lastly, click on Full Logs to view the full output from the conda build.


If you want to use your new environment in a Jupyter Notebook, don't forget to include ipykernel and ipywidgets in your environment’s yaml file, or it may not be visible in the list of available kernels.

Step 3 - Installing packages via conda or pip

To install new packages through either conda or pip you'll need to navigate back to the Edit page of your environment in the conda-store web interface.

Adding conda packages to a conda-store environment via the command line, is not possible since the files are read-only in that context.

Additionally, adding pip packages via the command line is strongly discouraged. Not only do conda and pip not always play nice together, but it can lead to some inconsistencies across users' dependencies. This happens because when you pip install a package from the command line this is installed in your .local folder, so this changes will not be applied to other Nebari users.


One exception to this rule is packages that you are actively developing. As you are building a package, you will likely want to install it as a dev package. This can be done using:

pip install --no-build-isolation --user -e .

Or, if you’re using flit, you can install with:

flit install -s

Please keep in mind that these are NOT available to Dask workers!


  1. If you have an environment that fails to build properly, you'll be able to see this failure on the build status page.

    Navigate to the Full Logs to investigate in more detail. Also, from the build status page you can trigger re-build in case you hit issues with intermittent outages, etc.

  2. If you need to use Dask.

    We highly recommend you include the Nebari Dask metapackage to maintain version compatibility between the Dask client and server. This replaces distributed, dask, and dask-gateway with the correctly pinned versions.