How To Optimize Google Cloud Platform Spend Permanently

CloudHealth Tech Staff
Jan. 7, 2020
7 minute read

Google offers a range of native tools to help monitor, manage, and optimize Google Cloud Platform spend, despite which many businesses find it difficult to optimize their Google Cloud environment permanently. In many cases, policy-driven automation can be the solution to businesses’ ongoing cloud spend issues.

If your business operates on the Google Cloud Platform, there is practically a tool for every issue you are likely to encounter. Google’s native tools can manage deployments, alert you to infrastructure errors, and provide (some) visibility into cost drivers. There’s even a tool that tells you when a VM instance is being under-utilized so it can be rightsized to a more appropriate configuration.

However, things change very quickly in the cloud. So, although your Google Cloud environment might be in an optimized state immediately after you’ve used all the available tools to optimize Google Cloud Platform spend, the likelihood is that a week, month, or quarter later, costs will have once again gotten out of control, and you’ll have to go through the optimization process once again.

Why Google’s native tools are not the answer

Google’s native tools are good, but they’re not sufficiently comprehensive for some businesses. Take Google’s “rightsizing recommendations” tool for example. The tool automatically identifies over-provisioned VM instances, provided they’ve not been created using App Engine Flexible Environment, Cloud Dataflow, or Google Kubernetes Engine. Nor does the service work when GPUs or TPUs are added.

Furthermore, the recommendations are based on only eight days utilization metrics, so the recommendations may be unsuitable for VM instances that have monthly or seasonal spikes in demand. Also, Google’s recommendations will tell you when purchasing a Committed Use discount can save you money, but not when the commitment is being under-utilized. This you need to work out for yourself.

Plus some cost drivers are overlooked 

In addition to there being gaps in the capabilities of Google’s rightsizing recommendations tool, it’s not possible to get total visibility into every cost driver. In our eBook “8 Best Practices for Reducing Spend in Google Cloud Platform” (registration required) we identified several cost saving measures that are not—at present—covered by any of Google´s native cost management tools. 

This not only makes it impossible to completely optimize Google Cloud Platform Spend, but it could create issues with planning and budgeting if a business is unaware of several cost drivers that are potentially creating anomalies between budget forecasts and Google Cloud bills. Consequently, many businesses abandon Google’s native tools in favor of third-party solutions.

Optimize Google Cloud Platform spend with CloudHealth

CloudHealth is a cloud management platform that does provide total visibility into businesses’ Google Cloud environments in order to identify cost drivers, performance issues, and security vulnerabilities. The platform performs many of the tasks that Google’s native tools are capable of, but performs them in a single pane. There’s no need to go from tool to tool in order to optimize Google Cloud Platform spend.

CloudHealth also enables system administrators to apply policies that monitor, manage, and optimize Google Cloud Platform spend automatically. The platform’s policy-driven automation capabilities mean the optimized state is permanent, costs are never allowed to get out of control, and businesses do not have to go through the optimization process every week, month, or quarter.

How policy-driven optimization works in the Google cloud

The concept of policy-driven optimization is quite simple. A system administrator applies a policy and configures CloudHealth to take a specific action if the policy is violated. For example, if a policy is applied to monitor spend against budget, CloudHealth will notify the budget owner when month-to-date spend is predicted to exceed the budget. Based on the best practices identified in our eBook, here are further examples of how CloudHealth can help businesses optimize Google Cloud Platform spend permanently:

  • Delete unattached persistent disks

When a Compute Engine VM is launched, a disk is usually attached to act as the local block storage for the application. When the Compute Engine VM is terminated, it’s possible that the unattached disk will be left running. Google continues to charge for the disk even though it’s not being used. To address this issue, system administrators can create a policy that, when a persistent disk has been unattached for a week, CloudHealth triggers a snapshot of the disk and terminates it automatically.

  • Delete snapshots when no longer needed

Individual snapshots aren’t costly, but when hundreds are provisioned the cost adds up. Businesses can control aged snapshot costs by monitoring snapshot usage per Compute Engine VM. A policy can be created to only retain the most recent snapshots and terminate any older than x weeks. The majority of the time, only the most recent snapshot will be used for data recovery. The remained are simply driving up Google Cloud Platform spend.

  • Migrate data to appropriate classes

Infrequently accessed data resting in multi-regional “hot” storage can cost nearly four times as much as data resting in Coldline storage; while the retrieval costs for data resting in Coldline storage can eliminate the benefits of using this storage class. To make sure your business is not paying too much for data storage, you can apply policies for CloudHealth to notify you when migrating data to a different class of storage would save you money.

Further examples of how policy-driven automation can help businesses optimize Google Cloud Platform spend can be found in our eBook. However, one capability of the CloudHealth platform not mentioned in the eBook is the RI Optimizer. Initially developed for AWS Reserved Instances, this tool will advise you of the best possible use of your Committed Use purchases to make sure they’re always fully utilized and delivering the maximum cost savings for your Google Cloud environment.

Find out more about optimizing Google Cloud Platform spend permanently

If your business is using Google´s native tools to monitor, manage, and optimize Google Cloud Platform spend, you’re invited to get in touch and request a free trial of CloudHealth in order to evaluate our platform’s capabilities in your own environment. Your free trial will include as much training as required and unlimited support around-the-clock. Call us today for an informal discussion, and to organize a demo of CloudHealth tailored to your business’s specific requirements.