Beware the Infrastructure as a Service

Posted on May 24, 2021

I moved some small projects on to Google Cloud Platform to familiarize myself with the ecosystem and see how it differs from AWS. Personally, I find the documentation and UI to be better, but I do not find the billing statements to be as clear as they should be.

I’ll start up front with you can host static sites for free using GCP’s cloud storage, but there are dozens of ways to do that. My advice is to leave AWS and GCP accounts for work and stick with places that do static pricing on services like Digital Ocean. Misconfiguring something at work is the cost of doing business for them, misconfiguring a hobby project can quickly turn the project into your most expensive hobby.

With that out of the way, it’s understandable to what to practice with these cloud services, especially if the aim is to move elsewhere or just get skills prior to interviewing. GCP provides starter credit, but it will get burned through and start charging your account. What happened to me was that using GCP to route HTTPS traffic had costs for the service and the region. All told it ended up costing me about $40/month until I noticed and fixed it.

One may wonder about billing alarms and I had those set up but I had them set to $15 and because I knew it would cost me more I was not vigilant about monitoring the usage over time.

Ultimately, what I think happened is that the trial credit expired and I started being charged for services. I personally could not figure out if this was reflected in the billing charges and cynically believe that is kind of the point.

If anyone has good resources on how to actually navigate the billing services across AWS, GCP, or Azure, send them my way and I’ll link them below.

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