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Google today added an Autoscaler feature, which helps apps handle varying traffic and workloads, to its Compute Engine on the Google Cloud Platform. The service, first demoed at the company’s Google Cloud Platform Live event, is now debuting in public beta.

The Compute Engine Autoscaler can respond to varying usage by adding or removing resources when traffic or workloads change. These actions can automatically happen based on the scaling rules developers define (and without the need for any subsequent intervention).

When activity rises, the Autoscaler adds resources to handle the additional workload and ensure the app is responsive. At the same time, it removes resources when the traffic or load decreases to help developers reduce costs.

The feature is helpful for developers who want to build applications that don’t go down when web traffic goes haywire on the burgeoning Google public cloud. But the addition comes long after Microsoft added autoscaling to its cloud in July 2013, and Amazon introduced autoscaling more than five years ago.

Autoscaling is one of a few features that companies demand, especially if they offer Web applications that might spike randomly (think Netflix). The long-awaited addition could help Google’s increasing enterprise sales push.

Here is Google’s full explanation for its Autoscaler:

The Compute Engine Autoscaler is able to intelligently and dynamically scale the number of instances in response to different load conditions by defining the ideal utilization level of a group of Compute Engine instances. This means that when the actual utilization of your service increases or decreases, Autoscaler will detect the change and adjust the number of running instances to match.

Autoscaler can respond to a number of different metrics such as CPU load, QPS on a HTTP Load Balancer and metrics defined using the Cloud Monitoring service. Autoscaler not only chooses the right number of instances but also adapts automatically based on how far the current state is from the desired target. This means Autoscaler performs well even in unexpected scenarios such as sudden traffic spikes.

Google says this intelligent horizontal autoscaling was built by the same team that designed the scaling infrastructure for products like Google Search and Gmail. Now developers can “ensure that exactly the right number of Compute Engine instances are available at any given time” — or at least, that’s Google’s pitch.

One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is the ability to build resilient and cost efficient apps. If developers can use just the right amount of resources necessary at any given time, they can offer better software at lower prices.

Jordan Novet contributed to this story.

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