Cloud

Google previews a new way for cloud customers to track their spending

Google now helps customers scrutinize spending for the services they consume through a new API.

Above: Google now helps customers scrutinize spending for the services they consume through a new API.

Earlier today Google showed it’s serious about handling big public cloud deployments, just like Amazon Web Services. In a blog post, Google product manager Rae Wang announced the preview of a feature that pushes a big file containing cloud usage data to Google’s cloud storage, which customers can then access to track spending on the growing Google Cloud Platform.

Google cloud customers can choose their method of accessing that data: through an application programing interface (API), through a command-line interface, or by way of a file browser. It’s available in JSON or CSV format.

Opting for this route saves Google the trouble of having to iterate the way Amazon has in coming up with a convenient way to expose usage data to customers. (Currently Amazon Web Services’ configuration is similar to Google’s, where billing files get sent to customers’ S3 storage buckets, where they can download them or get them through an API.) This way, users have access to the latest cost data from Google. They won’t download something only to find out that a more up-to-date version is available.

By the way, Google is getting this right from pretty much the beginning. It’s been less than a month since the company made its Google Compute Engine service generally available.

It might seem like a small feature addition in comparison with advanced routing, by-the-minute pricing, and other upgrades Google has made to its public cloud. But the feature proves Google has in mind real-life scenarios for the use of its cloud, and it knows developers will need to get a clear grasp on how thousands of dollars are being used each month. Without that sort of granularity, developers who hit the buy button on cloud resources could be reined in for not knowing the financial consequences of their actions.

As more companies try Google’s Infrastructure as a Service, startups could pop up just to master the analysis of this Google billing data and provide useful recommendations for Google cloud customers. For now, though, it’s likely to end up integrated with cloud cost-management software. Mat Ellis, founder and chief executive of one company in that business, Cloudability, sounded excited about Google’s new cost data feature during an interview with VentureBeat.

“This should be interesting to the whole industry, because it says Google is getting serious early on about about all the features big users need,” Ellis said.

His company has been testing the data with some customers since Google sent over the first test files, he said. “We are absolutely committed” to supporting Google cloud deployments, in addition to Amazon and other clouds. Indeed, such support will help the company stand out as a multi-cloud offering, he said.


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