Google Updates BigQuery With New Cost Controls

Enterprises using BigQuery to run analytics against large data sets can now set a daily query quota on a project-wide or an individual basis.

Google BigQuery cost control

Google has updated its BigQuery data analytics service with new features that, among other things, let enterprises set a daily maximum limit for query costs.

Enterprises using BigQuery to run analytics against large data sets can now take advantage of a new feature called Custom Quotas to set a daily query quota either on a project-wide or individual basis.

For those who choose the project-wide quota option, Google's Cloud Platform Billing Alerts service will send an email alert to administrators notifying them when the query costs for a particular month have met or exceeded the quota limit.

With the per-user quota option, administrators can set a custom quota for daily queries by individual user account, and Google will alert the user when the threshold is reached.

The goal in offering the cost-control options is to give BigQuery service customers a way to prevent "runaway query costs," Tino Tereshko, Google technical program manager, wrote in a Dec. 15 blog post.

"Those accustomed to a traditional fixed-size cluster—where cost is fixed, performance degrades with increased load and scaling is complex—may find granular cost controls helpful in budgeting your BigQuery usage," Tereshko said.

As part of the new cost-control feature, Google also released a so-called Query Explain feature that it said gives BigQuery users a stage-by-stage description of how queries are executed. The feature will allow users to see if their queries are read-, write- or compute-intensive so they can optimize them to reduce costs.

In addition, enterprises will now be able to get a complete audit trail of queries and jobs executed during a project, as the result of new support for Google Cloud Audit Logs in BigQuery. The feature will let administrators analyze BigQuery usage project-wide and at an individual user level.

Rounding out the list of updates to BigQuery is some improvements that Google says it has made to the interface that enterprises use to load data into the analytics engine. Among the improvements is Template Tables, which Google said offers an improved way for managing tables in BigQuery.

"With today's announcements, BigQuery gives you more control and visibility," Tereshko said.

Google's BigQuery is a hosted data warehousing service that offers organizations a way to analyze large data sets in what the company claims is a relatively cost-effective manner and uses SQL to query the data. Google offers a pay-as-you-go model for the service. Organizations are usually charged only for running queries or SQL commands and not for loading data into the service.

The company charges 2 cents per gigabyte for data storage and 1 cent per 200MB of data that is streamed into the service, rather than uploaded as a batch job. It charges $5 per terabyte of data that is processed in responding to queries.

The latest updates continue Google's efforts to make BigQuery a more affordable and manageable option to rival services, such as the Amazon Redshift cloud data warehousing service. One of the biggest price cuts came last year when Google dropped the on-demand pricing for BigQuery by a massive 85 percent in response to what it said were falling hardware and storage prices.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.