A "profile" for a service is used as a shorthand descriptor of a specific configuration of Data Lab services. The "default"' profile requires no special setup and represents the standard configuration of all public services.
A named profile is normally used to access a development configuration or a special setup used by large collaborations. The list_profiles() method of the service interface requires an identity token because it will return only those profiles to which that token has access.
Multiple profiles may be used, however in the initial interface a set_profile() call must be made before each client call to set the profile context. Future versions of the the interface will either allow an optional profile argument with each client call, or permit access to a client object created with a specific profile.