Google Adds Programmatic Budget Notification Feature to Cloud Billing

The new feature allows cloud app administrators to inform business line managers when costs for a particular project or account reach pre-determined thresholds.

Google Cloud Cost Notifications

Google is giving organizations a new way to keep an eye on how much they are spending on some of the company's cloud computing services. 

Google has added a new programmatic budget notification feature to its cloud billing service that notifies app administrators and business line managers when particular cloud service costs are approaching budget limits. 

The feature is designed to help organizations stick to previously set budgets and to take action automatically when usage costs might be near or over the budget limit. 

The notification feature works with all Google cloud services as well as internally developed or third-party cost management tools, Google product manager Matt Leonard said. "For example, as an engineering manager, you can set up budget notifications to alert your entire team through Slack every time you hit 80 percent of your budget," Leonard wrote in a May 23 blog

The programmatic budget notification feature builds on an existing capability in Google cloud billing that allows enterprise administrators to set a specific budget limit for either a cloud project or for a particular account. 

Or they can use the feature to set budgets based on the previous month's spending. The feature includes an alerting capability that billing administrators can use to get emailed notifications when actual or estimated charges reach or exceed a previously specified percentage of the total budget. 

The new notification feature that Google announced this week gives administrators a way of informing users about their cloud spending so they can manage costs better, Leonard said. 

In addition to simply alerting users, administrators can use the new feature to specify actions to take when a project or account hits a budget threshold. An administrator for instance can use programmatic budget notification to cap costs for a project or account and to stop use of Google Cloud services beyond a certain budget limit. 

An organization might want to set such caps because they have hard limits on how much they can spend on Google cloud services or on the amount an employee or business department is permitted to spend on it, according to the company. Such caps might be necessary for instance when students or researchers might be using Google Cloud or when researchers or developers are working in sandbox environments, the company noted. 

Administrators can take more nuanced actions as well. For example, they can use the budget notification feature and associated actions to selectively stop some cloud computing resources from running when a project is approaching its budget cap. But they could opt to leave storage services available thereby reducing per hour costs without completely disabling all services, Google said. 

In announcing the new feature, Google this week also released documentation designed to help administrators set up the programmatic budget notification feature. 

Besides billing alerts, Google also offers a billing export feature for organizations that want to closely monitor their costs. The export feature gives administrators a way to get details of daily usage along with estimates of associated costs. 

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.