Google Cloud Platform Support Delivers Visibility for Cost Efficiency

Not all cloud providers are created equal. With different infrastructure and services offerings, different purchasing options, billing in different time increments, a slew of different payment structures and commitments, each provider opens a variety of economic ramifications for customers. How do you sort out costs and ultimately make informed choices? And, once you’ve decided to select one, maybe two, or even three cloud providers, how do you continue to get visibility into spend and usage, optimize your cloud footprint with the right commitments, and accurately budget and forecast those costs in a reliable and accurate manner?

Cloud cost management is a continuous cycle which involves iteration and repetition to succeed. It requires processing millions of lines of billing files and petabytes of data, which is not humanly possible. Effective usage of cloud and building it as a competitive differentiator is a data science problem which requires analytics and machine learning. Cloudability is the True CostTM cloud management platform that processes millions of lines of billing files and petabytes of data to deliver visibility, optimization, budgeting and forecasting. We are excited to announce our support for Google Cloud Platform and bringing our industry-leading cloud cost management capabilities to GCP.

Cloudability’s multi-cloud platform enables visibility, optimization and governance for every VM, container and serverless workload, application, department and user. Key features of Cloudability’s GCP support include:

  • Precise, accurate and timely integrated view of all cloud spend
  • Comprehensive visibility into GCP costs
  • Analytics-driven, flexible and powerful reporting and dashboards
  • Full cost allocation and chargeback, including for Google Kubernetes Engine
  • Custom Views for segmenting data
  • Anomaly detection to alert for anything unusual
  • Rich visualizations with True Cost Explorer
  • Accurate budgeting and forecasting

Given its growing popularity, it makes sense for us to offer support for GCP. Our customers have asked for the ability to run their multi-cloud environment with flexibility, agility and full visibility into their operational and billing models.

“As an enterprise team focused on building reliable, effective products on top of public clouds, it was imperative for the USA TODAY NETWORK to have a technology partner that could help us manage costs and optimize resources. By leveraging Cloudability’s public cloud expertise and support for our Google Cloud environment, our team is able to focus on the platform itself, while still maximizing the value of our public cloud provider.”

Franklin Hanson, Director of Platform Engineering, USA TODAY NETWORK

Understanding GCP Pricing

GCP infrastructure and services constructs are different than other cloud providers, with two billing constructs to simplify the cloud costs. Sustained use discounts are automatic discounts applied to Compute Engine resources, while committed use discounts offer discounts for any 1 or 3 year usage commitments.

In the case of sustained use discounts, the higher the usage over the course of a month, the higher the discount applied. Discounts are tiered based on usage levels and applied automatically. As a result, resources that are continuously used can achieve a discount of up to 30%.

Committed use discount is a GCP billing construct that requires committed usage offered at deep discounts. Committed use discounts are contracts available in 1- or 3-year terms with discounts of up to 70%.

Labeling to Enhance Billing Dimensions

Billing accounts and projects alone can’t deliver the level of granular cloud cost reporting that businesses need to understand how to save and where efficiencies exist. By implementing a labeling policy, GCP billing details gain new depth and meaning.

Taking the time to label a GCP account upfront enables Cloudability to deliver granular info into the cost and usage data. This allows you to attribute cloud product usage, costs and details to the right teams. GCP allows up to 64 labels per resource. Users who put all of these labels to use gain the most detail and granularity in their reporting.

Build a Strong GCP Cost Management Practice with Cloudability

Let’s take a look at how Cloudability can help customers achieve successful cloud cost management outcomes by digging into some use cases.

Comprehensive GCP Spend Visibility

Cloudability’s analytics-driven dashboards and reports monitor, allocate and analyze cloud costs and utilization. Cloudability’s True Cost cloud management platform doesn’t aggregate data. As a result, dashboards and reports always provide accurate and detailed information on your GCP usage. In addition, our powerful Views capability enables teams to slice the data that the user or team is interested in exploring.

Customizable Dashboards

Cloudability’s customizable dashboards allow users/teams the ability to highlight the information relevant to them. Dashboards can be customized for various teams, e.g. Development, Operations and Finance, with the data restricted to each team/user via the Views capability. Dashboards can be used to intuitively represent GCP monthly and yearly cloud spend, biggest source of cost, most expensive resources and spend by projects or teams, among others. All relevant information can simply be represented via widgets in the dashboard that are customizable. Views capability can be used to simply restrict the data to GCP only.

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Analytics driven reports

Cloudability delivers over a hundred out of box reports which allows users to get answers to questions such as:

  • What is my monthly spend on all GCP services? The spend data report is broken down to attribute the costs for each service making it easy for users to understand the costs.
  • What is my spend on GCP BigTable?
  • What is my spend on GCP Cloud Storage?
  • What is my spend on GCP Compute Engine?
  • What is my spend on GKE?
  • And so on

These out of the box reports are a great first step and include all the credits and discounts applied to accounts and projects. However, Cloudability’s flexible analytics engine provides users the ability to customize these reports along ten data dimensions including time period, account, vendor, etc. Use these ten data dimensions to create precise reports that empower ITOps, DevOps and Finance teams. Users also have the ability to generate their own custom reports which can combine various data dimensions to answer the relevant questions. Some questions could be:

  • What was my spend breakdown by cloud provider over the last quarter?
  • Which resources across the cloud providers were the most expensive over the last seven days and so on?

Cloudability’s True Cost platform data processing capabilities enable users to get accurate, precise and timely data. All reports generated can be shared across the organization.

Single Pane of Glass for Multi-Cloud Spend

As companies start to build out strategies beyond initial cloud deployments, many are looking more closely at the different capabilities each cloud provider offers and adopting best of breed technology. They need accurate and timely visibility into the total cloud spend across multiple cloud providers. Yet getting this visibility for multiple clouds is extremely difficult due to the fact that each cloud provider has different and complex billing constructs as well as discounting and credit mechanisms.

Ensuring comprehensive multi-cloud cost efficiency means accounting for everything. Cloudability’s True Cost cloud management platform supports Google Cloud Platform in addition to AWS and Azure, so you have full visibility into your total cloud spend across multiple providers for achieving highest cloud efficiency. Cloudability normalizes and enriches data from multiple cloud providers and presents them in a single pane of glass so users don’t have to know and understand the semantics and idiosyncrasies of each cloud provider.

Cloudability’s multi-cloud, single pane of glass capabilities are exhibited across the entire platform. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

True Cost Explorer – A Pivot Table on Steroids

Each cloud provider’s billing data is complex due to the thousands of services and millions of lines of billing data generated. A lot of these costs are often interrelated in unintuitive ways. In the case of GCP, data transfer costs and storage are reported under Compute Engine costs. Understanding the terminology and constructs for a single cloud provider are extremely complex. Imagine the complexity involved with two or three cloud providers?

True Cost Explorer, allows customers to visually and easily answer any cloud cost-related question across cloud providers. Users can slice the data for analysis by using the powerful Views capability. True Cost Explorer’s intuitive user interface allows Finance, Business or Operation users to get relevant information with ease and drill into the relevant details with a single click. Using these powerful visualizations and flows, users can eliminate waste and take corrective action.

True Cost Explorer can help organizations answer questions like:

  • What is the distribution of spending across cloud providers?
  • Which regions are teams using and how are costs distributed?
  • What is causing high data transfer costs? What services, regions, teams and accounts are driving those costs?
  • How much is each business unit spending? What is their cost distribution by environment (production vs. development vs staging) and by service?
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Tag Explorer

With Cloudability, you can track multi-cloud spend from a single pane of glass without having to learn all of the intricacies of each cloud provider. Labeling/tagging strategy is the foundation for this level of visibility. It’s a critical component of grouping cloud resources in meaningful buckets such as the application(s) that use them, the project, the team, or the environment in which they run (development, staging, production, etc.). The GCP billing details you view in Cloudbility’s Tag Explorer gains new depth and meaning with labels. Now you’ve got visibility into your True Cost through mapped labels and understand how unlabeled resources contributed to monthly spend.

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Cost Allocation and Collections

With proper labeling, users can track and allocate cloud infrastructure and services across multi-cloud environments. There are a number of services that cannot be labeled e.g. data transfer costs. Cloudability allows users the ability to combine labels, projects or accounts to build cost constructs that are relevant to the business. This is the first step to ensure that all the costs are allocated properly.

Also, because organizational structures change often, we provide the ability to create groupings that are based on conditionally evaluating and combining spend for several labels, projects or accounts. The Collections feature allows users to categorize costs to adjust to organizational or business changes or logic without having to create new sets of labels.

For example, an infrastructure manager can track all the services across multiple projects and accounts to ensure that the team is using them efficiently. Or a financial business analyst can understand the spending trends across cloud providers and how they map back to the budget so all teams and roles have a trusted single source of truth.

Cloudability also collects accurate utilization data from Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) so you get visibility to properly allocate container usage to the right cost centers for chargebacks. Using native metric sources, we allocate cost and provide insight into unallocated resources in your clusters. See latest supported configurations here.

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Anomaly Detection – The new machine learning frontier

Most organizations regularly experience cloud spend anomalies due to inadvertent internal misconfiguration issues. These internal misconfigurations can be related to provisioning and leaving idle large instances for evaluation purposes, large amounts of data transfer out or frozen serverless calls. Often, the responsible engineers are looking to experiment with newer cloud-native technologies for app development, building data lakes or testing load and scale performance of an application by spinning up instances or services. A simple misconfiguration can spin up the wrong number of instances or services or spawn a massive data transfer, causing spikes in the bill that go unnoticed for a long period of time and cost the company considerably.

In addition to the typical unintentional spending anomalies, some are malicious. Cryptojacking is a technique hackers use to leverage public cloud infrastructure that has been compromised with the goal of mining cryptocurrency.

Cloudability’s Anomaly Detection provides unique insights and correlation that are hard to replicate across other industry platforms. Since Cloudability’s True Cost cloud management platform stores customer data perpetually with no loss of fidelity. This data lake gives Cloudability the ability to deliver deep insights and visibility to the customer.

When evaluating an anomaly detection solution and the accuracy it delivers, the following aspects should be taken into consideration:

  • Richness and quality of data set: Cloudability’s data lake has rich training data, ensuring improved machine learning algorithms and accurate results.
  • Accuracy of data: Accurate data is at the heart of detecting and solving problems. Inaccurate data can create false positives and mislead organizations — breaking trust in a solution, ultimately leading operators to ignore alerts and exposing themselves to bigger potential problems.
  • Timeliness of data: In the case of anomalies, it is important that organizations know about a problem as early as possible.

Cloudability’s Anomaly Detection is enabled for all customers and starts working right out of the box for all cloud providers. Users don’t have to fine-tune model parameters or figure out which algorithms would work best. Cloudability’s True Cost platform detects and delivers insights not possible manually. Cloudability processes billing data from multiple cloud providers and presents all anomalies in a single pane of glass.

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Accurate Budgeting and Forecasting

Plan your spend to ensure teams are tracking to a defined budget and make better decisions with Budgets and Forecasting. We use data science models, such as Monte Carlo simulations, to generate forecasts to ensure accurate and reliable budget predictions on where you are headed.

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Understand what you’re going to spend before it happens. With Cloudability, you can set budgets for each department, application or view, and get proactive alerts based on spend. You can also get a month-to-date analysis of your current month against your budget and previous months’ trends to identify your biggest spend drivers.

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If you’re on track to exceed your budget or have exceeded your budget in the current month, we’ll send you a notification at an interval of your choosing so you can proactively monitor your budgets.

Learn more about how you can leverage Cloudability to maximize the value of GCP.

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