Google Cloud Storage introduces Autoclass

In September, at Google Cloud Next ’22, one of the most exciting announcements was the new Autoclass feature for Buckets.

What’s New & Next: A Spotlight on Storage (from Google Blog)

Autoclass automatically moves objects based on the last access time by policy to colder or warmer storage classes.

New storage innovations to drive your next-gen applications (9/9/2022)

Based on your input, we continue to evolve our storage to support your data-driven applications. To make it easier to manage storage and help you optimize your costs, we’ve developed a new Cloud Storage feature called Autoclass, which automatically moves objects based on last access time, by policy, to colder or warmer storage classes. We have seen many of you do this manually, and are excited to offer this easier and automated policy-based option to optimize Cloud Storage costs.

How does Autoclass work?

Autoclass is a simple bucket-level setting that is currently only available for newly-created Cloud Storage buckets. When Autoclass is enabled for a bucket, new objects are always written to the Standard storage class and Google automatically takes care of cooling and warming objects based on how recently they have been accessed.

  • New objects are created in Standard storage.
  • If an object has not be accessed for 30 days, it automatically moves to Nearline storage.
  • If an object has not been accessed for 90 days, it automatically moves to Coldline storage.
  • If an object has not been accessed for 365 days, it automatically moves to Archive storage.
  • If an object is accessed at any point, it automatically moves to Standard storage and starts the process again from the beginning.

Enabling Autoclass on a bucket disables the ability to manually choose a storage class for objects in that bucket, as well as the ability to use the SetStorageClass action in an Object Lifecycle Management policy on the bucket. It is still possible to set a Delete action in an OLM policy on an Autoclass bucket, so you can automatically delete objects when they match your delete conditions.

How much does Autoclass cost?

The only cost for Autoclass is a management fee of $0.25 per 100k objects per month.

For example, on a bucket with 10 million objects, the Autoclass management cost would be $25/month. Is that a lot? It depends on the size of the objects.

If each object is around 1MB, Standard storage costs around $200/month and $25/month seems like a lot. However, if each object is around 1GB, Standard storage costs around $200,000/month, so $25/month doesn’t seem like so much.

What about Early Deletion and Retrieval fees?

There are no early deletion or retrieval fees!

Objects can be deleted at any time without incurring the early deletion fee normally associated with cold storage classes.

Objects that have transitioned to cold storage can be accessed at any time without incurring the retrieval fees normally associated with cold storage classes.

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Lukas Karlsson

Google Developer Expert, Cloud Platform; Google Certified Cloud Architect. Somerville, MA.