Google Introduces Cost Forecast Feature for Cloud Billing

The new Feature allows administrators to get a quick idea of predicted Google Cloud usage costs for specified time periods.

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Google has introduced a new cloud-billing feature that it says will enable enterprises to budget costs better by allowing them to quickly see how much they are likely to spend on cloud usage in a particular month. 

The new forecasting feature lets administrators see how costs are trending during a particular month and how much they are projected to spend based on current usage. Enterprises can get such forecasts for their entire Google billing account or down to individual servers in a single project. 

The goal is to give enterprises more visibility into their cloud spending so they can better align strategic priorities with cloud usage said Phillip Coletti, product manager, Google Cloud Platform in a blog July 9. 

The forecasting feature will let organizations answer questions such as how their cloud spending might be trending in a particular month or how much they are likely to spend based on historical data. Administrators can use the feature also to estimate which of their Google cloud platform services or workloads is likely to cost the most in a particular month, Coletti said. 

Cost Forecast for Cloud Billing is currently available to all enterprises using the company's services. Administrators can access the feature from their Google cloud account's management console, Coletti said. 

To get a forecast, all that administrators have to do when viewing their billing report is to use a date range with a future ending date, according to Google. The feature provides a split view of the actual costs to date from the specified start and the forecasted cost for the specified period. 

A trend line will let administrators know how actual spending matches the forecast. In building a forecast for a current month Google will use cost data not just from that month but previous months as well, the company has noted. 

The cost forecasting features continues recent Google efforts to give enterprises greater visibility and control over their cloud usage costs. In May for instance, Google announced a programmatic budget notification feature that alerts business managers and application administrators when cloud usage costs for a particular workload or project hits a previously defined threshold. The feature, for instance, lets a business line manager automatically send alerts to the users of a particular cloud app when usage costs hit 80 percent of the budget for that app. 

Predicting and managing cloud service costs has been a major issue for enterprises with surveys showing that cloud administrators have a hard time keeping a handle on cloud usage and spending. 

Google has touted the feature as giving enterprises a way to ensure cloud usage costs remain within budget. Among other things it lets administrators configure actions, automatically turning off or throttling back on the resources available to a particular app, when usage costs cross a specified threshold. 

In February, Google introduced a Cloud Billing Catalog API that enterprises can use to get real-time pricing information on Google's collection of cloud services. As with its other recent updates, Google has described the service as helping organizations better manage costs associated with their cloud usage. 

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.