Google Introduces Unattended Project Recommender to Cut Cloud Costs – InfoQ.com

Recently Google introduced unattended project recommender, a new feature of Active Assist that provides customers with a one-stop shop for discovering, reclaiming, and shutting down unattended projects. In addition, the feature includes actionable and automatic recommendations to reduce costs or mitigate security risks presented by idle resources.

The company first tested the prototype of unattended project recommender by cleaning up many of their internal unattended projects before allowing a few of their Cloud customers to try it out on their environments. Now, the feature is open for public beta testing.

The unattended project recommender is available via the Recommender API on the Google Cloud Platform. Under the hood, unattended project recommender leverages machine learning. It identifies projects that are likely abandoned based on API and networking activity, billing, usage of cloud services, and other signals. Based on these signals, the user of unattended project recommender will receive recommendations to turn down projects with low usage activity (clean up resources) or assign a new owner to projects with high usage activity yet no active project owners (reclaim projects).

In a Google Cloud blog post, Google Cloud product managers Dima Melnyk and Bakh Inamov explain the need for unattended project recommender:

Your cloud projects can go abandoned or unattended for a number of reasons — ranging from a test environment that’s no longer needed, to project cancellation, to project owner switching jobs, and more. Not only can such projects contribute to your cloud bill (waste), but they may contain security issues such as open firewalls or privileged service account keys that attackers can exploit to get ahold of your cloud resources for cryptocurrency mining or, worse, compromise your company’s sensitive data.

And in addition, Priyanka Vergadia, a developer advocate at Google Cloud, tweeted:

If you’re like me, you create a lot of demo projects that remain unattended in your @googlecloud account! We all know that it’s not good for security & cost. For us lazies introducing Unattended Project Recommender

Cloud cost management becomes more apparent for enterprises as a recent survey conducted by Anodot found that fewer than 20% of companies could immediately detect spikes in cloud costs. Moreover, 77% of companies had over $2 million in cloud costs and were caught off-guard when presented with the figures detailing how much they spent. 

Next to the unattended project recommender, Google already has a few other cost-optimizing capabilities like Cost Management. And other public cloud providers, Microsoft and AWS, also offer capabilities to reduce cloud costs. For example, Microsoft has a range of services to optimize costs ranging from Azure pricing calculator to Azure Cost management and billing. At the same time, AWS offers cost optimization with AWS Cost Explorer and its pricing calculator

Lastly, guidance for using unattended project recommender is available through GitHub.

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