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Budgets and Alerts

This document explains how billing budgets and alerts are configured for our Google Cloud Platform (GCP) products. For information on how to react to triggered alerts see How to respond to billing alerts.


In the dynamic landscape of cloud computing, where flexibility and scalability are key advantages, organisations face the challenge of efficiently managing resources while keeping a close eye on costs. The pay-as-you-go model, inherent to cloud services, allows businesses to scale their operations seamlessly; however, without proper oversight, it can lead to unforeseen expenses. This is where the strategic use of budgets becomes paramount.

Cloud computing budgets serve as financial guardrails, empowering organisations to navigate the intricate cost structures of cloud platforms. By establishing spending limits and financial plans, businesses can gain control over their cloud expenditures, ensuring that the benefits of scalability do not translate into budgetary overruns. This proactive approach not only aids in cost containment but also facilitates resource optimization, financial planning, and enhanced accountability.

How we configure budgets and alerts

The GCP product factory is responsible for configuring default billing budgets and alerts for our GCP products. Each product deployed by the factory will have mandatory budget, cost_centre, and team variables configured in the relevant .tfvars file. These variables are then used to configure the following.


A monthly budget is configured using the budget variable. This budget is an amount, specified in € (EUR)1, encompassing the total cost of all projects deployed for the specific product. For example, if a product is configured with the standard development, staging, and production workspaces, the budget would include the total cumulative spend of the three workspace projects and the meta project for each monthly invoice period.

The budget amount should be approximately 20% above the normal usage for a specific product. This gives us enough headroom to allow for acceptable spikes during peak times without triggering unnecessary alerts. For new products, this amount will initially be a best guess, however, once we have enough data the amount should be reviewed and amended as required.


The product factory configures two alerts by default. The first alert triggers when the budget is forecasted to exceed 100%, the second triggers when the budget exceeds 100%.

See How to respond to billing alerts for information on how to handle these alerts when they're triggered.


The cost_centre and team variables are added to the meta project as labels. This allows us to see at a glance who is responsible for the resources in a given product. While the corresponding product team is responsible for ensuring their budgets remain below 100%, any increase in budget needs to be authorised by the Head of DevOps, Abraham Martin.

cost centre labels

An image showing the "cost-centre" and "team" labels assigned to an example product's meta project.

See also

  1. Our reseller, TI Sparkle (or just Sparkle), is an Italian company which is why we specify our budget amounts in € (EUR).