Google Cloud launches fixed monthly fee plan for storage that smooths out cloud cost bursts

Google Cloud Storage for Growth is a way to enable enterprises to forecast cloud costs more easily.

Cloud migration costs are overwhelming businesses ZDNet's Larry Dignan tells TechRepublic's Karen Roby about the issues that businesses are encountering when trying to move to the cloud.

Google Cloud is launching a storage plan that features fixed monthly pricing for a year and covers bursts in a move to give enterprises more predictable costs for budgeting.

The plan, called Storage Growth Plan for Google Cloud Storage, is timely given enterprise concerns over costs. Variable pricing for cloud infrastructure can give CFOs agita even though there are returns from agility as well as lower capital expenses.

Cloud storage costs can be volatile as data shifts locations and sits on different tiers. In addition, backup, replication and workloads for analytics and machine learning can all jack up costs. Enterprises are also creating more data by the minute.

Google's Storage Growth Plan rhymes with data plans from wireless providers where you can roll over minutes. The plan also rhymes with the way enterprises are used to buying IT infrastructure--based on a fixed dollar amount.

Must read: Top cloud providers 2019: AWS, Azure, Google Cloud; IBM makes hybrid move; Salesforce dominates SaaS | Cloud providers 2019: A buyer's guide (free PDF)   

Dave Nettleton, product management lead for Google Cloud Storage, said Google's new storage plan makes sense for enterprises that "have a particular budget they want to plan for yet avoid surprises down the road."

Here's how it works.

  1. A customer commits to spending at least $10,000 a month for 12 months of Cloud Storage usage. That sum is the fixed expense angle of the plan.
  2. There are no extra charges for bursts of storage usage during the 12 months.
  3. At the end of the 12 month term, a customer can renew for the next 12 months at whatever the peak usage was. If usage was within 30 percent of the original commitment then it's free. If an customer goes over 30 percent of agreed usage, then the customer will repay that remainder over the next year. Conversely, a cloud customer can leave the plan and pay for the past year's overage.

For an enterprise that can predict their bursts well, the Google Storage Growth Plan could give IT leeway for workloads while giving predictable costs.

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While Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure compete on machine learning, artificial intelligence and serverless compute, most cloud customer relationships start with storage. Google Cloud is looking to win more storage workloads to up sell other services. Ease of forecasting could be a good selling point for many enterprises.

Here's what a trended usage vs. spend plan could look like over time. In a nutshell, cloud storage spend would increase as data grew, but the budget forecasting would be easier to manage. 

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Google Cloud

As for workloads, Nettleton said content storage and delivery, analytics and data protection are areas where bursts could make costs unpredictable. Google also cited a company like Recursion, which has built a large biological image data set to find drug targets and candidates.

In addition, Google Cloud cut prices on its Coldline class of storage in regional locations by 42 percent.