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Always Free Usage Limits (cloud.google.com)
322 points by kiyanwang 45 days ago | hide | past | web | 119 comments | favorite

Since it's not mentioned in the linked page, it's worth mentioning that the free trial in GCP is now $300 for 12 months [1]. Previously it was $300 for 60 days. IMO this is a major change since GCP is much better positioned to attract developers just getting started who used to gravitate towards the AWS free trial mainly because of the longer trial period of 12 months.

The new non expiring free tier in GCP (aka Always Free Usage Limits) also offers a f1-micro instance while AWS does not offer a VM as part of their non expiring free tier.

[1] https://cloud.google.com/free/docs/frequently-asked-question...

Perhaps worth pointing out that the $300 you're referring to is the amount of credit you're given when doing the free trial. As in, you can spend $300 worth of computing resources over 12 months, for free.

I totally failed to understand that (I'm not very cloudy) and had to go to their sign-up page to figure out what was up.

> The new non expiring free tier in GCP (aka Always Free Usage Limits) also offers a f1-micro instance

However in order to do this you have to enable billing, unlike with the free tier of App Engine. I'm always wary of these things because I fear I'll screw up and run into a huge bill somehow. I currently have a pre-paid 1€/month VPS with $european_competitor to prevent this.

1€/month?! What kind of performance are you getting? Is it usage for a web server?

Would you mind sharing the VPS provider?

I would say the performance is quite good for the price, I use it as a web dashboard/alerting server with InfluxDB+Grafana and it is quite snappy when browsing the graphs and so on. No problem sharing the provider, ArubaCloud, I just didn't want to sound like an advert.


Well, well, well, turns out they offer FreeBSD 10. If it upgrades nicely to FreeBSD 11 then I think they've earned themselves a customer and Vultr will have lost one customer due to Vultr no longer giving best bang for the buck. Moving to ArubaCloud would give me 1GB RAM + 20GB SSD instead of the 768MB RAM + 15GB SSD my current Vultr VPS has, and it'd do so at a lower price. Meanwhile it seems also that the VPS configuration I have at Vultr for 5 USD per month is no longer available for new VPSes, instead Vultr now has 512MB RAM + 20GB SSD for 2.50 USD (which is about 2.35 EUR) per month and 1GB RAM + 25GB SSD for 5 USD (about 4.71 EUR) per month. And how much is ArubaCloud charging for 1GB RAM + 20GB SSD? 1 EUR per month, it says!

But the ArubaCloud prices are excluding VAT, it says. Does that mean they will bill me, who lives in Norway, slightly more than 1 EUR per month? Either way it'll be cheaper than Vultr.

> But the ArubaCloud prices are excluding VAT, it says. Does that mean they will bill me, who lives in Norway, slightly more than 1 EUR per month?

Yes, I pay 1.21€ because general VAT is 21% in Spain. In any case it is almost inexpensive and so far the service is good. Virtualization is through VMware, you can script daily images, etc.

Wow. That's pretty good. But how viable is it for them?

They only operate in Europe where computing services are generally cheaper and they seem to be running on processors that are a few years old. It's not outdated old but there's a chance the servers are what remain after a more premium product is upgraded.

Also there are no performance guarantees, no SAN for the SSDs (no redundancy so much lower cost), limited bandwidth and a lower SLA.

I'd guess that since there are no performance guarantees, they're likely overcommitting substantially.

Not quite 1€/month but this was on HN this week:

Cloud Hosting Showdown: DO vs. Linode vs. Vultr vs. OVH vs. Scaleway https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13798023

What if you already did the free trial and spent, say, $10? Do you now get $290 for 10 months?

I'm wondering this myself.

I signed up about a year ago. However I only used about three bucks and change over the 90 days because I was looking at using it for a side project and never had time to get far. Can I get the remaining $296.xx for 9 more months?

If your trial is not over as of the date of this announcement, you get 12 months from your trial start date (mine started less than a month ago, and it now says 352 days remaining). If it was over and you only spent $3.50, and you don't seem to have the Free Trial flex banner message bar at the top of the page anymore, that's a bummer.

I'd recommend to see if there's any way for you to contact support and ask them to restart your free trial, while this announcement is still fresh.

Hell yes. When I AWS trial expires you know I'm switching to this always free model.

I thought it was strange that the free network egress excluded Australia. I can understand why they might charge more for China, but Australia?

Then I found this article (written 3 years ago):


Bandwidth to Australia cost 20x that of EU or US because of Telstra :(

Good news though, Google are planning a Compute Engine zone in Sydney this year :)

I'm curious whether this'll change when the NBN is more prominent. Does anyone know what their peering policy is/will be? I had a look around but couldn't find anything.

Mentioned in the thread that was on the front page yesterday: In European Union the only available account type is Business https://support.google.com/cloud/answer/6090602 which means many users won't be able to take advantage of the offer ($300 trial or free tier usage).

I guess I'll just have to keep using AWS/Azure/$competitorX :(

An easy fix to this is moving to Norway!

What's the reason for this? Google trying to take advantage of a Tax loophole?

Wow, you can run an instance 24/7 for free, and there's no end to the free period? That seems pretty great! Like having a free always-on Raspberry Pi in the cloud.

The catch is you only get 1GB/month of free egress traffic, after which it is 12c/GB. Ingress is free. Depending on your use case, this is either a great deal, or a terrible one.

That's ... wow. Pretty generous.

Has anyone from the UK/Europe been able to successfully sign up to GCP?

I can't seem to select "Individual" when I sign up, it permanently selects "Business" and asks for a VAT number. I don't want to lie and get in trouble with the tax authorities or whatever.

I only plan to use it for tinkering at home!

AWS doesn't do this, why Google?

If it makes you feel better all this free stuff generally only applies to the US anyway. Go Google!

From https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-way-to-use-Google-Cloud-P...

It seems that if they offer accounts to non-business users, they have to pay VAT themselves in every country in the EU. If they only offer accounts to businesses, they can have the business pay the VAT instead, saving themselves some accounting.

I signed up about a week ago from Germany and it worked fine. I didn't have to provide any VAT number, but they wanted my CC number, stating that they won't charge anything without my prior confirmation.

Today I got an email saying that my free trial was extended to 12 months.

I'm presuming you already have plans in place to pay the VAT on any charges you accrue though, it doesn't look like Google do this.

This is what worries me the most, plus Google stipulate that your usage of the cloud platform must be for economic benefit, not for personal use.

AWS don't seem to have this restriction and they will collect and pay VAT on your behalf. Why doesn't Google? Is it some sort of tax dodge?

Usually a seller doesn't add VAT to B2B invoices into the EU, VAT is accounted for by the purchaser under the 'reverse charge' system. B2C is different, they would need to charge the local VAT rate in each member state. I suspect they simply haven't gotten around to supporting it yet.

Did you sign up and get it working in the end?

I've been meaning to try GCP for a while. I've only ever used AWS, so want to try another cloud.

But it seems like I can't legally use GCP?

I feel your pain. I'd love to play with Cloud ML and their datasets, but seems we don't have any legal options to do it right now.

Perhaps go with AWS and not Google then - let the market speak.

Wait so does this last forever v.s. only the first year like AWS does?

If so, does that mean I can have a personal server running in the cloud, for free, forever? There's a hell of a lot you can do with a tiny server these days.

Only if you can manage to send less than a gigabyte a month out to the Internet.

With unlimited ingress there's plenty of use cases.

For some probably very good reasons I can't figure out - you can't sign up for the free trial as an individual from the UK - only as a business. So I guess I won't be trying this.

Google doesn't charge VAT, they expect the customer to account for it. Only businesses are allowed to pay VAT in this way.

I signed up pretending to be a business, but I assume the VAT on the $3/mth I spend isn't worth anyone's time to account for. £0.20/year?

See https://www.reddit.com/r/UKPersonalFinance/comments/4g50uu/t...

Thanks for the link - that's a useful read.

So I signed up as indicated - but perhaps this free tier thing doesn't really work for accounts outside the USA either - as when trying to fire up an f1.micro instance it still says it's going to charge me (albeit out of the $300 free credit), so maybe I misunderstood something about the article.

Does everything work as expected?

Might sign up as business too.

What's the deal with getting SSL on your custom domain name now? I moved away from app engine for small projects previously as I think they wanted $60 a month for this.

I did look on the website but I couldn't find the information. I have to say on a mobile device the GCP pages are very poor IMO. Too big a font, too much spacing, intrusive sticky header and too many scrolling effects where content magically appears or disappears. And even worse - when I click the pricing calculator it doesn't fit on the iOS safari screen so it is unusable. It does feel that some CSS and JS wizard got given far too much free reign.

I set up SSL for my custom domain on App Engine with Let's Encrypt yesterday - once you know how to do it, it takes only 5 minutes, I followed this tutorial: https://realguess.net/2016/09/26/installing-let-s-encrypt-ss...

I don't remember the $60. I remember that at some point custom domains with SSL where tied to GSuite in some form. But it hasn't been the case in a long time. You can get your certificates anywhere you want and just upload them through the UI.

I get mine from LetsEncrypt using a process somewhat automated similar to [1].

It is still a pain in the ass semi-manual job I have to do every few months but I get SSL for free.

I hope they launch some better integration with LetsEncrypt in the future.

[1]: http://blog.seafuj.com/lets-encrypt-on-google-app-engine

This is great. Lets you run a full time server for free. Display a hobby website or a development site or whatever. Thats amazing! No one else offers this "always", right?

Note that the Always Free offers includes only a small amount of egress traffic per month per service. e.g.: 1GB for GCE/GCS.

IBM Bluemix has a very generous free tier, enough to run a few web apps for free.

From my quick glance it looks like Bluemix is only a 30 day trial though. :/

Bluemix has a permanent free tier.

Heroku does.


Yeah, I don't think that really counts.

You can trivially bypass that with an infinite loop:

    while true; do sleep 1; done

Have these limits increased or decreased? What were they before?

It was a lot more limited before.

Tempting to run an Algo VPN on the free tier of GCE, but these days I'm trying to use Google products less rather than more.

Has GCP found a way to integrate with Google Domains yet? I had to transfer a domain that I'd bought on GD to Route53 because I couldn't figure out how to get redirects with domain masking. Super frustrating, whereas the AWS equivalent was just Route53 -> S3 bucket for my little static site. $.53/month, not bad.

There's cloud dns

Dear Google: add managed Postgres and I'm leaving AWS for you.

Yeah I saw the other post. Time to put my money where my mouth is!!

That's cool, I can get .2 cores free. No one else offers this. Do we get an ip? That can be expensive for Google.

I just spun up a f1-micro instance. It got a public IPv4 and I was able to reserve a static IP. I did not see that IPv4s would cost extra.

Same I even made it static, their ephermal changes instantly. I love my little .2 core vm!!

I don't know how they're going to give out 100k ips tho

Serious question. What can I do with 0.2 cores? I wonder if I can run a bootstrap static website. Any suggestions. Thanks

.2 cores is plenty. A static website (properly served) wont't even register on CPU until you are doing traffic >100mbit.

A CRUD app in language that doesn't smash the CPU (i.e. closer to Go net/http than WordPress) would probably perform adequately as well.

Their console is really slow. Go to any section (eg compute) and spinner will be your best friend for a long time. What the heck are they doing in there anyway. In comparison, AWS console loads much faster (anecdotal of course).

Just remember guys when my startup hit the front page and I clicked on the pay to upgrade from free to paid the system automatically took the whole site offline for 24 hours.

Make sure they changed / fixed this before trusting GAE

If anyone could confirm this is still the case please say

Edit - is GAE usage == GCP ? If not I will remove this comment immediately sorry

In addition to making GCP cheaper and easier to try out than AWS, they need developer advocates and available resources using which developers can switch their apps from AWS to GCP. After being a leader in this space for a long time, the main advantage AWS has is the perception of "how easy it is to use"

I want to move some project I have running on AWS to Google Cloud Functions, but they currently only have a hack for triggering them on a schedule.

From what I understand based on the docs, you have to run an AppEngine instance just for the cron functionality.

So, the flexible GAE environment has finally a free starter quota?

Is this the 3rd or 4th post about some random Google Cloud thing today? I'm losing track.

No news here, just the usual business model of the "cloud": cheap in, expensive out. They rope you in with a fee tier then charge you 9-18x more for egress than you pay for it running your own hardware with IP transit (or going with a VPS provider like Vultr that charges you the correct prices for it).

Have fun scaling your company economically, hope you don't need to send any data to your customers.

Google Cloud is having it's annual NEXT conference: https://cloudnext.withgoogle.com/

Events like these (whether Google, Microsoft, AWS, etc.) always have multiple big announcements which are worth discussing and it seems many people agree.

There are numerous benefits with using a major cloud provider so while the outbound bandwidth is expensive, surely you can see how every business has it's own needs and should weigh the costs for themselves. As a GCP startup, we're scaling very economically on their platform and wouldn't give it up even if the bandwidth was free elsewhere.

Ah the classic anti-cloud post that pretends to understand everyone's use cases and economics. You realize that everyone knows how expensive this stuff is. You realize that people plan and model growth around these figures. You realize that despite all of this, many people still go with cloud solutions because they get other benefits.

I mean ffs, I would be laughed out of the room if I went to my investors and said we were putting everything on Vultr. And fwiw, we're not cloud based for the exact reasons you mention (some spot usage). It makes sense for our business model, we have predictable computing growth needs, so we go bare metal. But I understand why that doesn't make sense for other people.

> You realize that everyone knows how expensive this stuff is.

Not everyone. I've had plenty of discussions with people who had no idea.

The industry, and consultants especially, have strongly pushed the idea that cloud will be orders of magnitudes cheaper than alternatives.

Hugely overpriced bandwidth and other resources limit your flexibility a lot and keep a lot of options closed for you, making it harder to compete or offer value to users. It might not matter for some, but could be a matter of life and death for others, because pursuing those closed options anyway and hoping to dig yourself out of a cloud lock-in hole afterwards might be too expensive to survive.

> I would be laughed out of the room if I went to my investors and said we were putting everything on Vultr.

For reasons better analyzed by anthropologists than technologists, but all I would really like is for HN to not be constantly bombarded with not-news GC marketing spam all day.

Feel free to upvote the stuff that you do find interesting, and encourage others to do the same.

For reasons better analyzed by historians and statisticians. The historical statistics are that Vultr is far more likely to be a risk to the business than Google is. It's as simple as that.

Where is this evidence to substantiate this? We would love to read it, please share it with us.

I'm not trying to sell anybody on anything, but let's just compare for a moment. Vultr offers 10GbE for all price tiers, access to actual networking power tools like BGP sessions, access to 14 datacenter locations. They provide a generous amount of bandwidth by default and only charge $0.01/GB (the actual market rate) for anything after it. Unlike GC they have yet to "fat finger" a routing table causing a global network outage, or trash an important metadata server like AWS just did. CPU benchmarks routinely show them (and pretty much everybody else) trouncing at least AWS for the same cost basis, by a lot. Benchmarks have also, amazingly, shown some of the AWS instances losing out to mobile phone CPUs.

Facts, benchmarks and a cost analysis suggest that they are at worst competitive and likely far superior to GC/AWS offerings in pretty much every way at the one thing that a "cloud" provider should be especially good at: giving you solid, high performance VMs to run your infrastructure on.

I don't want to hear crap like "my investor read a marketing brochure somewhere so we went with X". If my investor told me that, I would make sure to inform him of the value of paying less money for a better thing, and how knowing the difference can be a huge competitive advantage.

To be fair, there are some instances where GC has unique technological advantages compared to VPSes. Their new distributed ACID SQL database comes to mind.

It's true GC has more of these features but I personally avoid stuff like that because that's serious lock-in.

Google Cloud also has live migration of VMs.

Is that unusual? I just did that with my VMs in the datacenter this morning to add more storage...

" Is this the 3rd or 4th post about some random Google Cloud thing today? I'm losing track."

I believe there's some kind of Google event happening in San Francisco at the moment.

Have fun scaling your company economically, hope you don't need to send any data to your customers.

They are giving you free computing resources.

You could enjoy using it for something that makes no sense economically but people might enjoy. Or host your open source application on it. But I guess open source would be uneconomic too.

Or you could complain.

Out of curiosity, do you really think that operating cost is the only metric that matters from a business standpoint?

Their egress bandwidth pricing was insane when I priced it out for doing a video conferencing tunnel.

I was thinking about Scaleway or OVH for this very reason (streaming video).

Cloud Hosting Showdown: DO vs. Linode vs. Vultr vs. OVH vs. Scaleway https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13798023

No cloud sql?

Cloud SQL runs on Google Compute Engine nodes so it would be too high for the limits (considering they only offer an f1-micro in this tier).

Off topic: does google.com run on GCP?

I ask because since 2010, Amazon.com has been running on AWS.


(Around 7m30s into video)

Cloud runs on the exact same underlying compute, storage, and network infrastructure as search, gmail, and other Google services. The big google services are not built on top of cloud themselves (e.g. not inside GCE VMs) partially because they existed before cloud did. Some cloud services are also public versions of existing internal Google services (cloud spanner, cloud bigtable, etc)

Source: work at google, but on search, not cloud.

Are there plans for Google Services (search/gmail/etc) to move GCP anytime soon?

I'm hesitate to use GCP, given that technically Google itself isn't using GCP (totally understanding that a lift and shift of this size takes times, but it would speak volumes if you can tout that Google itself is on GCP)

Welcome to the USA, where marketing lies are everywhere and product owner writing quoted below sentences does not find anything wrong with it.

Quoting the page: "Always Free Usage Limits. Included products and usage limits are subject to change."

Why they don't write a truth: "Current Free Usage Limits, which are subject to change." ?

This used to be fine print (which is still wrong). These days I call it bullshit print.

"Always" refers to the fact that there is no contractual end to the trial period.

The fact that Google might terminate the contract is another story.

Now, if Google could change the price without giving you the option to cancel, that would be a scandal. But I don't think that's the case.

Whenever I see these "Amerikkka is awful!!!11" style comments, I always wonder if it's someone from Europe or elsewhere with a genuine insight that's worth considering... or just an immature kid from Minnesota suburbs being "edgy".

As someone who's reasonably well-traveled, I've hardly found shifty marketing language to be unique to any particular locale.

And I'm not even sure that THIS marketing language is all that shifty. You want an iron-clad assurance that NOTHING will change between now and the next 100 years? The Sun going supernova? Heat death of the universe? I'm pretty sure that reasonable people understand that "always" or "forever" mean, "Open-ended and not subject to change without adequate notice".

Also, some kids actually don't love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A scandal, I say!

It is scandal, I say. I'd like to see ads with pixelated/beeped lies - it would be like watching retro game and listening to moorse code.

The best ad I've seen so far was an cut out of old Indian newspaper advertising genital cream with magical radioactive ingredients that are 100% safe and work wonders, signed by doctors.

A lot of things you might call lies are not really lies.

It's probably a confusing product name, where "Always Free" is the product name. Something like "Never Smell" for deodorants. Is there an advertising code of sorts in the US? I know in my country, if an advertisement or product name is misleading (e.g. dark marketing patterns or whatever) the company doing it can get fined.

That doesn't seem to be US specific...

An interesting twist in the evolving hivemind. Westerners generations ago assumed the rest of the world were savage. Today's westerners assume that they are the savages, and that the rest of the world is enlightened, free from self-interest, kumbaya all the way. Lest we learn about the wider world, I guess.

> Today's westerners assume that they are the savages, and that the rest of the world is enlightened, free from self-interest, kumbaya all the way.

That's a very broad statement which I think is not even remotely true.

It's pretty common. I know people from many Western countries who say "this sort of bullshit only happens in my country, I'm so ashamed" when they are in fact talking about near-universal human problems.

Then again, all my friends are Westerners, so it could be that they do this sort of thing in the East too.

I agree. It relied on context. Mea culpa.

So they think the grass is greener elsewhere? That sounds like a pretty normal (irrational, but understandable for humans) belief to have after removing a we're-the-only-civiized-ones belief.

It's not, the parent could have made the same point without focusing it on the US at all. It's a rather mediocre and cheap excuse to bash the US. You can use the US for nearly any topic of punching, due to its size culturally and economically, its superpower status, omnipresence, etc. and people will overwhelmingly look the other way and or join in (any excuse to get that outrage hit).

"Unlimited All-you-can eat fiber" used to describe a capped ADSL. This happens in UK as well but it would be quite illegal in various European countries.

People seem to be blaming the US because the US is leading the way with false advertising.

On the other hand I find myopic literalism a far more annoying waste of time and energy.

The way I see it if Google intends the service to be always free, that's enough for me. After all, I don't think any rational observer would expect 'always' to include e.g. Google going out of business, all their data centers being blown up by terrorists, etc so to me it seems pretty obvious that it's contingent on all sorts of conditions that can change in the future, some of which might be at Google's discretion and others not.

Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

By far, the most common complaints I have heard when researching about GCP online are the following: 1) You cannot use SQL in the same way other platforms allow you 2) Only a subset of language features are supported for Java and Python and it is a little hard to know when you will run into that issue 3) As a combination of 1 and 2, it is not easy to migrate out of GCP and this makes it a kind of vendor lock in.

While many people seem to agree that the platform itself works very well, if you are developing on GCP, free credits or not, doesn't this mean you are knowingly getting into a platform that will be hard to leave?

Can someone who has worked with GCP address if these concerns are still ongoing? Also, are there some positives which are not easy to see from the outside which might have helped you choose them/stick with them?

> 1) You cannot use SQL in the same way other platforms allow you

Are you talking about Postgres support? Because they also announced that today. Or are you talking about something else?

> 2) Only a subset of language features are supported for Java and Python

The new "App Engine Flexible Environment" seems to support most things, including Python 3 and libraries with C extensions. Are you perhaps talking about the old App Engine environment?

Google is competing against Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. All theee cloud platforms have some degree of lock-in, true enough, but all three platforms also provide APIs and services th make building systems easier.

That's for cloud platform, cloud compute gives you a real vm.

> That's for cloud platform

You mean App Engine?

So these limitations are only in Google App Engine? Is there a reason people choose to use the App Engine then?

Those limitations apply to the old model of App Engine they call the Standard Environment, which abstracted much more over the underlying resources (you didn't have to think about what VMs you were using).

At some point they realised that maintaining their own parallel forks of the runtimes was a loser's game and now gently push you toward the "Flexible Environment", which maps more transparently onto GCE (their equivalent to EC2) instances (which is better for them since you're billed much more directly according to your resource use), and has much more up to date runtimes, and you can supply your own docker image if none of them fit.

The only people I know of who actively use the Standard Env anymore for new projects are trying to have a hobby project run for free in the free tier.

You don't have to manage servers operations at all, just write your own server application. If you're testing proof of concept or have a hobby application, it's incredibly useful.

It's cheaper and you don't have to manage a servers. That makes some devs very happy.

Yeah names get confusing now

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