How to Keep Cloud Spend from Spiraling Out of Control

Posted by Ken Pascoe, Product Dev Technical Lead

Jul 21, 2020


If there’s one thing on every organization’s collective mind right now, it’s budget. Or, rather, spending and how to keep it in check to stay on target. This definitely holds true for tracking cloud spend with remote working on the rise.

As more and more workers move to remote working in the cloud, it’s easy for your cloud spend to skyrocket if you don’t pay close attention to it. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs examining the world of cloud billing, you need to have a way to monitor your budget and usage well before everything starts to spiral out of control.

Cloud billing management tools, such as OnSpend by Onix™, help remove the guesswork and the potential surprise factor from your cloud usage and spend. A good way to keep your cloud spending from spiraling out of control is to implement cost management best practices to organize and allocate billable resources in a way that meets your organization’s financial reporting requirements. OnSpend makes this easy with a feature that allows custom billing resource management to keep cloud costs in check. 

What are Billing Resources and Why Should I Use Them?

cloud cost management piggy bankBilling resources can be your best friend when it comes to cloud budget and billing tracking. 

They’re the fundamental components that make up all of the billing data in your cloud environment. This includes billing accounts, projects or groups. Let’s take a look at each of these.

Billing Accounts

This is a billing object that’s used to pay for your cloud resource usage. When you use Google Cloud services beyond the free tiers, you are required to have billing enabled with a billing account in order to continue utilizing these services.


This is a base-level way to organize how you use all of your Google Cloud resources and services, including everything from storage buckets, virtual machines, databases, containers and more. Projects organize all of these into a single, billable entity. You can utilize projects to separate resource usage across users or teams. 

Resource Groups

billing resources

These are collections of billing accounts, projects or even other groups. Grouping resources is a great way to stay on top of what’s happening in your cloud accounts. This allows you to organize your resources into meaningful collections, or hierarchy, that help you keep track of how you need to manage and control your cloud costs. Groups can represent departments, cost centers, teams or even entire organizations. For example, you could create a department group and assign specific projects to it so you can better visualize, budget and forecast for this department. Oh, and also get alerts of billing events, such as overruns, if you want.

How do Billing Resources Help Me Keep an Eye on Cloud Spend?

The best thing about any of these billing resources is that in OnSpend, you create and organize them as you need. 

Let’s say you have a resource group that represents all of your organization’s cloud resources. Great, but let’s also say that you want to organize projects into departments so you can manage and budget cloud costs at this more granular level. You can even organize these projects into their own resources groups and assign them to each department accordingly. But, you still can have a single billing account with all projects linked to it, as this diagram shows.

resource hierarchyIn order to receive updates regarding activity on any billing resources, you are able to “watch” them. Watching resources enables a subscription to notify you of specific events related to the resource.

These include:

  • New projects linked to a billing account
  • Projects deleted from the Google Cloud Console
  • Disabled projects
  • Custom budget expirations

If you need your watched events to trigger automated processes or integrate into other applications, OnSpend also can deliver notifications with the details of these events via Pub/Sub.

OnSpend also allows you to set up automated reports of your billing data on a specific schedule and have it delivered automatically to your inbox weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.

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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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