Cloud Cost Management: Reconciling Actual to Budget in GCP

Posted by Ken Pascoe, Product Dev Technical Lead, - Jun 23, 2020

In today’s pay-as-you-go cloud computing environment, it never hurts to be cost-conscious and keep a close eye on your Google Cloud Platform spend. Sure, you’ve set a budget, but does your actual spend stay in line with those parameters?

In fact, do you even have time to keep a close, constant eye on it to make sure it does? Or are you finding yourself facing costly surprises at the end of each cloud billing cycle? 

Cloud cost management is time-consuming but necessary. Fortunately, there are automated tools out there that track spend against your budget and alert you when things are veering off track. At Onix, we offer customers the opportunity to use our own OnSpend by Onix to keep tabs on their Google Cloud Platform spend.

How Does OnSpend Support Cloud Cost Management?

Integrating directly into your Google Cloud account, OnSpend takes the guesswork out of cloud cost management for your billing accounts and projects. 

Integrating directly into your Google Cloud account, OnSpend takes the guesswork out of cloud cost management for your billing accounts and projects. @OnixNetworking 

Here’s a step-by-step look at what it takes to easily reconcile your actual spend and projections at the end of a billing cycle.

Set a budget

You can use OnSpend by Onix to create GCP budgets at multiple levels, whether you have a fixed budget, such as a purchase order or want to monitor and track actual spending against expected costs. Apply budgets to any billing account, project or resource group.

Get a budget overview

An easy-to-understand dashboard with detailed charts and visualizations gives you an accurate visual representation of your GCP usage and spend across all accounts and projects. Using the budget summary panel, you can get an at-a-glance overview of all budgets created for a specific resource, editing these budgets as needed.OnSpend budget summary

Looking at this, you see the budget name, time frame, total cost and total budgeted amount. When you hover over the total cost and budget amount, you’ll get a progress summary and remaining GCP budget balance.

OnSpend also shows the risk level at which a budget is approaching the total amount by displaying different colors. 

When you click a budget in the budget summary panel, the OnSpend dashboard automatically updates all of the charts and visualizations based on that budget’s specified time period. You also have access to both total spend and forecast features to help you visualize your actual usage to the projected budget in greater detail.

Dive deeper into your dashboard

If you’re looking for more actionable insights and data, then you’ll want to use OnSpend’s budget view instead of the budget summary panel. It gives you a much wider picture, showing you all accounts, projects and resources, usage activity and how close you are coming to hitting your budget parameters.

This view is particularly helpful when you want to see how your budgets are allocated across multiple levels of your organization. This feature also is searchable and can be filtered to meet your needs.OnSpend budget view

Manage your GCP budget

There are several ways you can use OnSpend for accurate cloud cost management in your GCP account.

  1. Create budget rules.
    Budget rules can be applied to Google Cloud billing accounts. They automatically apply a budget policy to a new project attached to a specific billing account. This means a single budget applies to all projects in the account. You can create budget rules by day, month, quarter, year or custom timeframe. If you have any Google Cloud credits, you can set up rules to exclude these.
  2. Set budget milestones.
    Do you have important costs or dates you want to monitor? Budget milestones allow you to manage and track these in alignment with your planned expenses. Using milestones comes in handy when you have a multi-phase project and want more control when it comes to monitoring costs throughout the entire project.
  3. Create and manage alerts.
    Budget alerts come in handy when you want to ensure you don’t cross over a set cloud usage threshold, such as a specific dollar amount or budget percentage. Alerts trigger notifications to inform you of how your spend is tracking against your budget and help you avoid unpleasant billing surprises. In OnSpend, the alerts view allows you to manage all of your alerts in one place. Alerts that have met or exceeded your limits show up as blue for quick, at-a-glance recognition.

    You also can set budget actions that inform you of alerts. These define how and when you want to be notified of alert events. You can have alerts delivered via email, Google Chat, Slack or Pub/Sub for further automation of your cost management controls.

This is just an overview of the many things OnSpend by Onix can do to drive effective cloud cost management and help you reconcile actual cloud usage with your projected budget. This billing and budget management tool has many other nuances to simplify the financial side of the cloud and eliminate surprises.

Want to learn more about OnSpend and cloud billing budget and management? Check out these helpful blogs for more insight.

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Meet the Author

Ken Pascoe, Product Dev Technical Lead

Ken Pascoe, Product Dev Technical Lead

Ken is responsible for building and developing the company's OnSpend cloud billing and budget management solution. He has nearly 10 years of full-stack software development experience and enjoys learning and applying new technologies.

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