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How to handle Google Cloud Storage costs

The cost of Google Cloud Storage isn't just about stored data. Administrators must also consider processing, network usage, retrieval and replication.

Google Cloud Storage is a managed service for unstructured data storage. Customers store and retrieve any amount of data as often as needed, but it can come with complex costs.

Google Cloud Storage offers features such as automatic storage class transition, data replication, transfer services, machine learning and AI tools. Google offers these features across four storage classes: Standard, Nearline, Coldline and Archive.

To manage Google Cloud Storage costs for the platform's various uses -- such as data processing, content delivery, disaster recovery, archiving and backup -- best practices include determining traffic, storage and availability needs, as well as recognizing Google's quotas.

Pricing of Google Cloud Storage

Google bases its Cloud Storage pricing on the following factors:

Given how quickly Google Cloud Storage costs can increase with more complex options, it's essential to get it right from the start.
  • Data storage: Google calculates this metric based on not only the amount of data stored, but also the storage class, the location of the buckets and custom metadata for the uploaded objects.
  • Data processing: This element is the amount of data processing users do in Google Cloud Storage. It includes additional factors such as operation rates, data retrieval and inter-region replication.
  • Network usage: This metric is the amount of data users read from or move between buckets. It depends on the location of the buckets, the storage class and whether users send the data outside of Google Cloud.

Additional Google Cloud Storage fees

Google charges for data operations separately from storage fees. Operations include actions that change or retrieve information about the data, such as buckets and objects. Google divides operations into two tiers and prices them according to the storage tier and region.

Additional costs for operations and other data processing include fees for retrieval, inter-region replication and Cloud Storage Autoclass management.

A pricing calculator helps determine precise Google Cloud Storage costs.

Chart comparing Google Cloud Storage classes

Best practices to manage Google Cloud Storage costs

Given how quickly Google Cloud Storage costs can increase with more complex options, it's essential to get it right from the start.

1. Estimate how much traffic you'll consume

The amount of traffic organizations consume can affect the pricing. Estimate the following:

  • Operations per second: How many operations per second do you expect for both buckets and objects? What about for create, update and delete operations?
  • Bandwidth: How much data will you send, and in what time frame?
  • Cache control: Defining metadata on certain objects can affect read latency on hot data, so understand whether you're using it.

2. Understand your storage location needs

Google Cloud Storage is redundant across at least two zones within one location. With a dual- or multi-region location type, Google stores objects in at least two locations separated by at least 100 miles. The location affects the recovery time objective (RTO) in the event of an outage. If you always rely on sensitive or business-critical data, especially consider this factor.

Dual- and multi-region location pricing is marginally more than single-region pricing but could increase dramatically if storage increases. For example, dual-region Standard storage globally costs between 2.2 cents and 5.06 cents per gigabyte per month, while multi-region costs are roughly the same globally, at 2.6 cents per gigabyte per month.

3. Know your data availability needs

Is it hot data that users must access multiple times daily? Or is it archive data only for compliance purposes? If you need high availability, consider a dual- or multi-region location for your Google Cloud Storage. That way, you'll always have access to the data without changing storage paths and have a zero RTO in most circumstances.

4. Align Cloud Storage quotas and limits with your needs

Google Cloud Storage has quotas and request limits on buckets, objects, bandwidth usage, API requests and more. These prevent data bottlenecks across the storage network, which helps ensure smooth operations and performance. Customers can request increases to some quotas but not to limits.

Julia Borgini is a freelance technical copywriter and content marketing strategist who helps B2B technology companies publish valuable content.

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