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Google Cloud Cost Changes May Not be So Simple

A new Google Cloud cost structure will charge based on individual vCPU and memory usage, rather than by each machine type. The resource-based pricing will assess how many resources are consumed over a given timeframe; sustained use discounts should be easier to get since they aren’t limited to instances of the same machine type or even the same zone.

Cost is not necessarily the deciding factor when selecting a cloud service provider, but IT pros do have a responsibility to stay on budget and find cost savings where they can. To help with that, a new Google Cloud cost structure will charge based on individual vCPU and memory usage, rather than by each machine type.

Resource-based pricing evaluates how many resources are consumed over a given timeframe. This change also means that sustained use discounts should be easier to get since they aren’t limited to instances of the same machine type, or even the same zone.

Previously, sustained use discounts were only available if you used the same machine type. This means there would be no savings as workloads were scaled up to meet demand, because organizations would start by using a smaller machine, scaling up as needed throughout the billing period. Prior to the pricing changes on Google Cloud, if you didn’t run the same machine types for at least half of the month, you wouldn’t get the discount.

Cloudability is a cost management platform that helps organizations gain transparency into cloud spending and resource usage. It recently added formal support for Google Cloud in response to requests from customers. It also supports Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

“I think without a doubt, on all three platforms, the complexity continues to grow, it’s growing at a rate where finding what an individual server costs you is less meaningful,” Cloudability CTO Erik Onnen said. “We still need to process that data but for an end user, they are caring less about what servers cost.”

He said that organizations are more concerned with tracking costs as it relates to a specific application or a specific team of people who need to be accountable for how they use cloud resources.

“Our sweet spot is to reconcile those dollars and make sure they are going to the right place,” he said. Cloudability’s True Cost cloud management platform uses machine learning and data science to analyze data around billing, usage, performance and custom vendor pricing, helping teams make infrastructure decisions.

“We really think the days of centralized command and control and iron-fisted IT aren’t applicable to the cloud,” Onnen said.

Onnen said that the Google Cloud cost change has its benefits, but it won’t necessarily make it easier for teams to track spending tied to a specific project.

“I suspect these pricing changes will have two effects,” he said. “One is there will be more price effectiveness for the sustained use discounts, and that’s a good benefit, but on the flip side it is going to complicate allocation.”

If you roll total cloud usage together and get a discount based on the aggregated amount, you get “one lump sum that still must be traced back to individual teams,” he said.

“It’ll help you with your overall cloud spend, but the workflow of figuring out what that application costs or what that service costs, that got more complicated,” he said.

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