Google Cloud Cost Optimization: Native Tools Vs. Third-Party Automation Solutions

CloudHealth Tech Staff Cloud Tech Journalist
Published: July 27, 2020
3 Min Read

While Google Cloud offers native tools and automation options, it’s important to understand what these solutions are really capable of, and how their limitations could impact your Google Cloud cost optimization efforts.

In 2018, we produced an eBook titled “8 Best Practices for Reducing Spend in Google Cloud Platform”, which laid out some of the most effective measures for Google Cloud cost optimization. Google has since made it possible to automate some of these cost saving measures using the Cloud Functions service.

However, Cloud Functions is not a comprehensive solution for maintaining Google Cloud cost optimization. For example, it doesn’t let you know when committed use discounts are underutilized, nor can it fill the gaps in Google’s rightsizing recommendations (as we discussed in this blog). There are also some circumstances in which using Cloud Functions can result in higher Google Cloud costs.

For example, when moving aged data into a less expensive storage tier, Cloud Functions cannot tell how frequently data is accessed. Without that context, you could migrate aged data that is still frequently accessed into a cold storage tier, which will then attract retrieval fees. You will incur additional charges when you move data back into the standard storage class manually without fulfilling minimum duration requirements.

Benefits of third-party automation solutions for Google Cloud cost optimization 

The key to Google Cloud cost optimization is understanding resources in context. This helps businesses better understand what is driving usage and costs and make informed decisions based on the metrics they need to monitor when creating cost optimization policies.

Policies are valuable for long-term Google Cloud cost optimization because they can automatically trigger an action when an opportunity to reduce costs is identified. This type of policy-driven automation provides similar options to Cloud Functions, such as migrating aged data or deleting unused resources, but also allows system administrators to incorporate business context by selecting actions by group, tag, environment, or other attributes.

Policies can also be configured to send notifications for specific types of cost reduction opportunities. For example, many of our customers use policies to alert specific users about underutilized committed use discounts, across-the-board rightsizing recommendations based on user-defined parameters, and when data is suitable for migrating to a colder storage class.

Google Cloud automation options beyond cost optimization

In addition to enhancing Google Cloud cost optimization efforts, policy governance and automation can also help to optimize performance, operations, and security. For example, many of our customers set up policies to send notifications when a resource is being over-utilized and needs to be upsized, when costs for a Line of Business increase substantially, or when an account is found to have root account API access. For more severe violations, policies can be configured to automatically block the deployment of resources, initiate approval workflows, and revoke user access. 

Automation is key to eliminating the tedious manual work that can slow your teams down and prevent you from reaping the full benefits of your Google Cloud investments. Learn more about what you can do to simplify your Google Cloud management processes with our in-depth guide, How to Build Long-Term Success in GCP.

CloudHealth Tech Staff, Cloud Tech Journalist

The CloudHealth Tech Staff team is made up of industry experts who report on trending cloud news, offer cloud management best practices, and compare products and services across the major cloud providers. As a part of CloudHealth, the CloudHealth Tech Staff come from all different backgrounds making them unique leaders in this industry.

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