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Growing Concerns among Developers about Google Cloud Price Increases

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Google Cloud recently announced changes to their pricing models, with storage and data transfer costs mostly affected. Many experts in the cloud community have been raising concerns about architectural implications and the end of a long term "prices never go up" cloud tenet.

Under a vague headline, price increases were published for Cloud Storage, with some decreases in specific regions, Persistent Disk Snapshots, Cloud Load Balancing, Network Intelligence Center, and Cloud Ops Monitoring. Among the savings, a new lower-cost archive snapshot option for Persistent Disk was announced later in the year.

Google Cloud claims that one of the reasons behind the changes is "to better align with how other leading cloud providers charge for similar products". Sachin Gupta, vice president for Google Cloud infrastructure, acknowledges that the overall impact might be hard to forecast:

Will customers' bills increase? Decrease? The impact of the pricing changes depends on customers' use cases and usage. While some customers may see an increase in their bills, we’re also introducing new options for some services to better align with usage, which could lower some customers' bills.

Not everyone is optimistic. In a popular "Penny Wise and Cloud Foolish" article, Daniel Compton, lead software engineer at Whimsical, suggests:

The pricing changes Google is making strike at the heart of their customer's applications and will force many customers to re-architect their applications, or pay a much larger amount to keep their existing architecture.

Corey Quinn, cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, argues that "Google Cloud alters the deal":

As an industry, we have seen a decade and a half of "anecdata" about a fundamental tenet of the cloud adoption tsunami sweeping the global economy. Specifically, that if you build something in the cloud it will over time become more stable, more capable, and if the price changes it will be a reduction instead of an increase. We now have clear evidence that that tenet is in fact untrue in Google's case and not to be depended upon.

Among the changes, reading data from a multi-region bucket in the same continent will no longer be free and will affect workloads with multi-region buckets. Quinn concludes:

I have no insight into the internal economics of how Google Cloud makes its money, but I really can't fathom that these pricing changes are significant enough to justify setting fire to its reputation the way that it has.

Different threads on the topic started on Hacker News, Lobsters and Reddit, with most developers concerned about the price changes. User RevShiver instead suggests:

Google isn't focused on short term revenue gains. The majority of these changes won't even affect customers on a commit agreement for multiple years which is almost all the large customers. Google has hundreds of billions of dollars in cash and is most likely just better aligning their costs with other cloud providers to simplify GCP cost understanding for customers.

The price changes will not take effect until October and customers under existing commit contracts with a floating or fixed discount will not face changes until renewal. Storage Transfer Service will be free for transfers within Cloud Storage for the transition period to let customers move files into different bucket locations.


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