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It’s no secret that running databases in the cloud can be a costly affair. Google Cloud SQL, with its impressive lineup of features and benefits, makes a compelling case for its use.

Yet, as with all cloud services, the ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing model can be a double-edged sword, especially if not managed with care. Here’s the good news: there’s a smart, efficient way to substantially cut down these costs, using Cloud SQL CUDs. This powerful tool, when used correctly, can transform your cloud operations, making it more sustainable and cost-effective.

In this article, we will dissect Google Cloud SQL, understand the Google Cloud SQL pricing model, unveil the power of CUDs, and present some practical use cases that will help you implement a cloud-cost-conscious approach. So, whether you’re a cloud professional, database administrator, or CFO, you’re about to discover a potent strategy for optimizing your Google Cloud SQL costs.

What is Google Cloud SQL?

Cloud SQL is a fully managed relational database service on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This service makes it easy to set up, manage, and administer MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server databases in the cloud environment.

The main advantage of Cloud SQL is its operational simplicity. Since it’s a managed service, it eliminates the need for labor-intensive database administration. This means it automatically handles system updates, manages backups, and ensures high security and availability. This automatic management liberates your organization’s time and resources, allowing you to focus on your primary business tasks.

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Key Features of Google Cloud SQL

Google Cloud SQL, GCP’s fully managed relational database service, comes with a plethora of features that ease database management. Known for its high availability, scalability, durability, and robust security, let’s explore some of these features:

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  • Secure Connectivity: Offers top-level security with encryption for data at rest and in transit. Seamlessly integrates with Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and provides network firewall control.
  • Built-In High Availability: Facilitates replication of instances to different zones or regions, enhancing resilience against hardware and software failures.
  • Scalability: Accommodates data growth by allowing augmentation of processor cores, RAM, and storage. Supports read replicas for handling increased read traffic.
  • Compatibility and Integration: Accessible from almost any application, Cloud SQL connects easily with App Engine, Compute Engine, and Google Kubernetes Engine. Supports standard MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server databases and comes with built-in migration tools and standard connection drivers.

The variety of features provided by Google Cloud SQL is designed to cater to diverse organizational needs, providing a comprehensive solution for managing relational databases in the cloud.

How Much Does Cloud SQL Cost?

Deciphering Cloud SQL pricing requires understanding various contributing elements. Your database engine, instance type, storage, CPUs, memory, geographical location, network usage, and IP addresses used are all factors that have a say in your ultimate cost.

The pricing structure of Cloud SQL is subject to several determinants. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Storage: Charges depend on the provisioned storage for Cloud SQL, billed in GiB per month.
  • CPUs: Costs are in direct proportion to the number of CPUs assigned to your Cloud SQL instance.
  • Memory: The more the memory provisioned for your Cloud SQL instance, the higher your costs.
  • Location: Data hosting location also plays a role in the pricing scheme.
  • Network Usage: Costs vary according to the volume of network traffic emanating from the instance.
  • IP Addresses: The number of assigned and operational IP addresses contributes to the final costs.

The costs for using Cloud SQL can vary widely, depending on your specific needs and configurations. Understanding these factors can help you to make better decisions about optimizing your use of this service, and more efficiently managing your costs

The pricing models for MySQL and PostgreSQL align closely, with SQL Server pricing taking a slightly different path. For additional details, users can visit our post on Cloud SQL Pricing & Cost Optimization Strategies. These cloud SQL cost optimization strategies help to effectively manage and potentially reduce your Cloud SQL costs while ensuring that your databases remain efficient and responsive to your needs. You can customize your Cloud SQL instance as per your requirements and anticipate your pricing using our GCP Pricing Calculator for precise predictions.

Cloud SQL Performance with Committed Use Discounts (CUDs)

At its core, CUDs serve as an enticing opportunity for businesses to gain access to substantial discounts on Cloud SQL services, in return for a commitment to continuous usage of database instances in a designated region over a one- or three-year term.

Does your workload have predictable resource needs? If yes, Cloud SQL CUDs are just the right fit for you.

The idea is simple – commit to a constant usage rate, computed as cost per hour of similar on-demand spending over the chosen commitment term. In return, you receive an attractive discount rate on Google Cloud SQL for the usage encompassed by your commitment.

The flexibility of Cloud SQL CUDs is another crucial aspect:

  • Once you purchase these from any Cloud Billing account, these discounts extend to any eligible usage across all projects that the account finances.
  • This arrangement remains stable even if the price of the relevant usage alters during the commitment term.
  • The commitment fee, which is billed monthly, stays constant throughout the term, and you continue to enjoy the same discount rate on the applicable usage despite any price changes.

A word of caution though: exceeding your usage above the committed level will result in charges at the standard on-demand rate.

Cloud SQL CUDs – Discounts & Pricing

When it comes to financial feasibility, CUDs are game-changers offering 25% and 52% discounts off the on-demand rates for one-year and three-year commitments respectively. This level of discount is consistent across all regions and has a significant impact on reducing your Cloud SQL expenses.

In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the cost dynamics by considering a specific instance in the South Carolina region (US east-1). Understanding the intricacies of CPU and memory pricing under various commitment levels will arm you with the necessary knowledge to make economically sound decisions.

Savings from Cloud SQL Committed Use Discounts (CUDs)

Start your process of economical computing with Cloud SQL CUDs. These tailored plans offer considerable savings over the on-demand pricing, which makes them an excellent option for steady workloads. This section is a guided journey into the landscape of savings that you can reap with one and three-year commitments, compared to on-demand pricing.

SQL Server – Live Examples

To illustrate this effectively, let’s consider a real-world scenario. You’re operating 100 instances across two different regions. Each instance is utilizing 2 high availability (HA) vCPUs and 7.5GB HA RAM. For the purpose of this illustration, let’s focus on the South Carolina region (us-east1), and let’s assume that you’re interested in buying a one-year CUD.

Let’s dive into the specifics:

  • Number of instances: 100
  • Region: South Carolina (us-east1)
  • HA vCPUs per instance: 2
  • HA RAM per instance: 7.5GB

We can utilize this information to calculate the approximate total hourly commitment cost for your set of instances:

Component On-Demand Pricing One-Year CUD (25% Discount) Three-Year CUD (52% Discount) Monthly Cost (On-Demand) Monthly Cost (One-Year CUD) Monthly Cost (Three-Year CUD)
100x 2 HA vCPUs $16.92/hr $12.69/hr $8.12/hr $12,351/mo $9,264/mo $5,929/mo
100x 7.5GB HA RAM $11.21/hr $8.41/hr $5.38/hr $8,181/mo $6,136/mo $3,926/mo
Total $28.13/hr $21.10/hr $13.50/hr $20,532/mo $15,400/mo $9,855/mo

Note: The prices are calculated per component per hour and are billed as per your local currency. Monthly costs are based on an average of 730 hours per month.

How much can I save with Cloud SQL CUDs?

  • To bring these numbers to life, with on-demand pricing, your total monthly cost would be approximately $20,532.
  • With a one-year CUD, this drops significantly to $15,400 – translating into an impressive savings of around $5,132 per month.
  • For a three-year CUD, the savings are even more substantial, dropping your monthly cost to $9,855, and thus saving you approximately $10,677 per month compared to on-demand pricing.

Do keep in mind that once you make the commitment, you’re charged that amount even if you decide to reduce the number of vCPUs or RAM during the month. However, the cost savings and predictable expenditure model often outweigh this factor for steady workloads.

Recommendations for Using Cloud SQL CUDs

Exploring the financial terrain of Cloud SQL CUDs is an important step towards understanding how to optimize your cloud expenses. However, to get the most out of these discounts, it’s critical to comprehend their implications and usage guidelines.

The power of Cloud SQL CUDs lies in their application towards vCPUs and memory, making them a strategic tool for reducing your cloud database costs. But, as with any powerful tool, it’s crucial to use it effectively.

Key points to remember:

  • Cloud SQL CUDs apply only to vCPUs and memory.
  • These discounts do not extend to storage, backups, IP Addresses, network egress, or licensing.
  • Cloud SQL CUDs blanket all instances in a specific region.
  • These discounts are measured in dollars per hourly on-demand commitment.

Recommendations Before Purchasing Cloud SQL CUDs

When making the decision to purchase CUDs, it’s wise to factor in the following considerations:

  1. Regions: CUDs are purchased per region. If you’re operating in multiple regions, calculate and secure CUDs for each region independently to maximize savings.
  2. Projects: Ascertain the consistent baseline of vCPU/RAM usage for each project. Bear in mind that production loads often run 24/7, while development or staging environments might operate more intermittently.
  3. Instances: Cloud SQL instances are typically run continuously, making it common practice to buy CUDs for 100% consumption. However, if you have instances running only for shorter durations or burst usage, exclude them from your CUD calculations, paying on-demand rates for these instances instead.
  4. Machine types: CUDs aren’t tethered to any specific machine type. They are linked to the total amount of vCPUs and memory used in the region, giving you the flexibility to adjust your resources as needed without impacting your discount.

With a clear understanding of their usage and the precise application of these recommendations, you can maximize your savings and effectively optimize your Cloud SQL operational costs.

How to Purchase Cloud SQL Committed Use Discounts (Cloud SLQ CUDs)

Purchasing Cloud SQL Committed Use Discounts (CUDs) is a simple process that you can complete through the Google Cloud Console. It’s crucial to remember that once you’ve purchased a CUD, it cannot be canceled. Therefore, we recommend reviewing the Service Specific Terms regarding Committed Units before proceeding with the purchase.

Follow the step-by-step guide outlined below to purchase Cloud SQL CUDs:

  1. Visit the Google Cloud Console and navigate to the Billing Page.
  2. Within the Billing Page, locate and select the ‘Commitments‘ tab.
  3. On the ‘Commitments‘ tab, you’ll find the ‘PURCHASE‘ action button at the top of the page. Click on this button to start the CUD purchasing process.
  4. Fill out the necessary details, which will include specifying the region for which the CUDs are to be used. The discounts are automatically applied to eligible usage in this specified region.
  5. Review your selections and confirm the purchase.

After purchasing a CUD, the commitment becomes effective within the next hour, applying the discounts automatically to your eligible usage. It’s a smooth and efficient way to optimize your cloud expenses.

For further information, including how to purchase spend-based commitments, please visit Google’s Committed Use Discounts page.


The judicious use of Cloud SQL CUDs plays a pivotal role in reducing your GCP costs. They offer significant discounts for long-term commitments, allowing businesses to strategically plan and optimize their Cloud SQL expenditures.

When implemented correctly, CUDs can yield substantial savings, up to 25% for a one-year commitment and 52% for a three-year commitment. These discounts become even more impactful when you consider the scale at which large enterprises operate, translating to thousands of dollars saved each month.

However, these potential savings aren’t achieved by merely purchasing CUDs, they require careful planning and precise asset purchasing. Understanding your application’s requirements, analyzing usage trends, and predicting future needs are vital to fully leveraging the benefits of CUDs.

Looking to cut down your cloud costs?

Tired of your cloud costs building up? Don’t let cloud costs weigh you down anymore. With Economize, you can slash your cloud expenditures by up to 30% effortlessly. Book a free demo with us today and discover how we can help you start saving in as little as 10 minutes.

Adarsh Rai

Adarsh Rai, author and growth specialist at Economize. He holds a FinOps Certified Practitioner License (FOCP), and has a passion for explaining complex topics to a rapt audience.

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