Google cloud cost calculator

If you are thinking of moving to the cloud, then it’s important to have a clear overview of cloud pricing.  You can work this out manually, if that’s your preference, or if you’re thinking of going with a smaller cloud provider which doesn’t offer pricing tools.  The big vendors, however, like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, will all offer their own cloud cost calculators.  Here is what you need to know about the Google cloud cost calculator.

The Google cloud cost calculator only estimates the cost of usage.

At the current time, the Google cloud cost calculator cannot help you to estimate the cost of the actual cloud migration.  Maybe this is something Google will work on in the future, but there are a huge number of factors involved, so it would be a very complicated undertaking for them.  The key point to take away is that you will only be able to calculate usage costs.

The Google cloud cost calculator only provides estimates.

This may seem like stating the obvious, but it’s an important point.  You can expect the Google cloud cost calculator to give you a reasonable estimate of what you are likely to pay.  It is not, however, a fixed and binding agreement.  This means that you may pay more (and you may also pay less).  It’s also worth noting that cloud vendors can change the fees they charge at any time.  They will, however, typically provide plenty of notice of this, so you can move to another cloud vendor if you wish.

On this point Google Cloud (currently) has no termination fees, so you are not “locked-in” financially.  You would still have the costs of moving to another provider, however these might well be (significantly) lower than the costs of your initial cloud migration.  The reason for this is that your initial cloud migration would probably include a process of “figuring it all out”.  If you have kept on top of your cloud usage, you should not need to go through that process all over again.

The Google cloud cost calculator has 47 pricing categories.

At the present time the Google cloud cost calculator has 47 pricing categories (plus a free category).  If this sounds overwhelming, that’s understandable.  The fact is that many of them are going to be absolutely irrelevant to the average SMB.  Many SMBs will find everything they need right on the front page of the options list, which includes the Compute Engine (virtual machines), App Engine (serverless application platform for apps and backends), Cloud Storage and Networking options.

Estimates are (usually) per month but pricing is per second

When you use the Google cloud cost calculator, you will typically enter your estimated monthly usage.  Occasionally, you will use another date range, such as per day, but generally it’s per month.  When you actually use Google Cloud for real, you will be billed per second.  This difference can make a major difference to your billing – unless you have a robust cloud strategy in place.

The key point to note is that you will (presumably) base your estimated usage on what you have worked out you need (plus what you want).  In the real world, however, it’s very easy for people to slip into bad habits, such as leaving instances running even though they are not needed or forgetting to detach storage before ending an instance.  This is the equivalent of leaving the lights on in an empty room and can waste a lot of money.  The way to prevent this is to automate as much as possible and to have solid processes in place for tasks which have to be managed by humans.

All costs on Google only apply after your free trial has been used up.

Google offers a completely free trial upon sign up.  You do have to give payment details, but it appears this is just to stop people abusing the system.  Nothing will be charged to your card without your prior agreement.  If, for whatever reason, you use up your free trial and decide to do nothing more, that’s it.  You will not be charged.  In fact, you can even go on and use Google’s “free tier”, (more on that later). 

At the current time, you get $300 worth of credit to use within 12 months.  Your trial ends when either your credit is used up or the 12 months are over.  For many businesses, especially SMBs, this really is a great option for “road-testing” services.

All costs on Google only apply to anything outside the “free tier”.

The free tier on Google cloud is exactly what it sounds like. Basically, it’s a very minimal allowance across a range of services.  It’s probably enough for solopreneurs, e.g. freelance developers, but it’s highly unlikely to be enough for even the smallest of SMBs.  It is, however, better than nothing and you get to use it up before you start paying for anything.