Why Google Cloud’s Cost Management Tools Might Not Always Help

CloudHealth Tech Staff
Dec. 30, 2019
5 minute read

Businesses aiming to meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets can take advantage of Google Cloud’s cost management tools to “increase the predictability of cloud costs”. As good as the tools are, gaps in their capabilities could mean businesses are spending more than necessary in the Google Cloud.

Google Cloud’s cost management tools are pretty good. They provide at-a-glance views of costs to date, cost trends, and forecasted costs. They enable businesses to drill deep down into usage and cost metrics; and provide system administrators with the opportunity to enforce granular organizational policies in order to control who can spend what, how, and when.

With regards to helping businesses meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets, the tools allow administrators to apply budgets to resources at different organizational levels and then configure the tools to send alerts when budgets are forecast to be exceeded. It’s also possible to throttle resources and cap costs in order to prevent unexpected activity from pushing costs over budget.

Throttling production resources to cap costs isn’t a good idea, as the process involves disabling billing for those resources, which shuts them down without any guarantee they can be recovered. Furthermore, there are better ways in which Google Cloud’s cost management tools can help businesses meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets despite there being gaps in their capabilities.

Google Cloud’s rightsizing recommendations

Google Cloud’s rightsizing recommendations help businesses identify over-provisioned VM instances and rightsize them to a more appropriate configuration in order to reduce costs and help businesses meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets. The recommendations are generated automatically based on metrics gathered by the Google Stackdriver Monitoring Service over the previous eight days.

Inasmuch as having rightsizing recommendations provided for you is a bonus compared to having to go looking for rightsizing opportunities manually, there are gaps in the service. For example the tools cannot provide recommendations for VM instances created using App Engine Flexible Environment, Cloud Dataflow, or Google Kubernetes Engine. Nor does the service work when GPUs or TPUs are added.

Furthermore, as the recommendations are based on eight days of utilization metrics, the recommendations may be inappropriate for VM instances that see monthly or seasonal spikes in demand. Therefore, even though a selection of rightsizing recommendations is automatically generated, there may still be a lot of manual work to do in order to meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets.

Rightsizing is only one element of optimization 

Although rightsizing Compute Engine VM instances is generally regarded as the cost reduction initiative with the potential for the biggest financial impact, if your business is still struggling to meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets, it could be because other areas of the business’s Google Cloud environment are not yet optimized, and it’s these areas which are causing costs to exceed budget.

In our eBook “8 Best Practices for Reducing Spend in Google Cloud Platform” (registration required) we identified seven further ways in which businesses can fully optimize Google Cloud environments in order to meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets. Full information about each optimization measure can be found in our eBook, but for the sake of reference the full list of 8 best practices are:

  • Delete unattached persistent disks
  • Delete snapshots when no longer needed
  • Delete disassociated network IP addresses
  • Terminate zombie assets
  • Rightsize Compute Engine VM instances
  • Manage VM instances on a schedule
  • Take advantage of Committed Use Discounts
  • Migrate object storage to lower cost tiers

Unfortunately, with the exception of the rightsizing recommendations, Google Cloud’s cost management tools don’t provide any assistance with any of the seven further optimization best practices. Therefore, if despite taking advantage of the available tools, your business is still struggling to meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets, you probably need a little help from a third-party solution.

Meet Google Cloud Platform budget targets with CloudHealth

CloudHealth by VMware is a leading cloud cost monitoring and optimization platform that performs all the functions of Google Cloud’s cost management tools plus fills in the gaps. With CloudHealth, you get total visibility over all the business’s resources deployed in the Google Cloud, can drill down deep into metrics, and apply policies about how budgets are spent.

You can also apply budgets to resources, receive notifications when the budgets are forecast to be exceeded, and throttle resources if necessary. Thereafter, CloudHealth’s policy-driven automation capabilities will alert you to unattached persistent disks, aged snapshots, disassociated network IP addresses, and other zombie assets suitable for termination.

CloudHealth can advise you of the most appropriate on/off schedules for non-production VM instances, manage the lifecycle of Committed Use Discounts, and alert you to infrequently accessed data suitable for migrating to lower cost tiers. Our platform also has advantages over Google Cloud’s tools for enhancing the performance and security of the business’s applications.