The confusion that is Google Cloud Platform Billing

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The confusion that is Google Cloud Platform Billing

It does seem that GCP is somewhat simpler than AWS (but not as simple as Digital Ocean) for sure. We just got some GCP Credits through their startup program and it is a little confusing how to get it and use it, so some notes:

  1. A startup can sign up for their startup program. They will give you $4K in GCP credits for the next 12 months.
  2. The program actually works with resellers, so after they look at your website, they will call you. This will be a Google rep and then representative for a GCP reseller.
  3. The deal is that you bill through the reseller and get some smart discount and the credits.
  4. The only gotcha is that you have to change the way that your billing works and to do that you need to understand the differences between organizations, billing accounts and projects.

The long and short of it is that when you create you company, it is a little confusing because GCP thinks that every login is another account. That is nice because every new account gets $300 in credits, but the problem is that you can't use it for things like GPU instances. So the best thing to do is to work in the $300 credit range and then you go "pro" apply for the Startup credits.

After this call, you will get the credits, but it isn't clear how to use them, so here is a decoder ring:

  1. Organizations. When you start, you will be a default project called cleverly, "My Project" and it doesn't belong to any organization. The long and short of it is the hierarchy is Organization ⇒ Folder ⇒ Projects ⇒ Resources so for instance if you have a Google BigQuery data base it lives by default in My Project and there is no Organization nor Folder. The nice thing is that if you are using Google Workspace, then you can use the names and identities there to give permissions all the way through an Organization. One confusing thing is that there are Google Workspace users that get Gmail etc and then just developer accounts (up to 50 are free) which are called Google Cloud Identity accounts. This seems good for automated accounts.
  2. Setting up Organizations. There is a huge checklist of things to do, the main one is creating a bunch of administrative groups and then making sure that they have the right permissions. This is better than just raw assigning people as the groups are a layer of indirection. As a nice saide, it also creates a bunch of email aliases if you are using Google Workspace.
  3. Setting up Billing. This is really confusing, you have an organization, but the account that you get from the reseller is listed as in "No organization". Normally when you create a billing account, it is your organization, but this is not true for these reseller accounts. I couldn't find a way to move it, which makes no sense. it is also hard to view, when you choose no organization you have to choose no parent as well to see it.
  4. Change all Project Billing. You then need to each Project that you have an manually change the Billing to the reseller based one. Go to Home and then select Billing and then the tab My Projects and then in each vertical ellipsis at the end select Change Billing
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