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Boo! Fight off your scariest cloud monsters with Active Assist

October 29, 2020
Tom Nikl

Cloud Migration Team, Google Cloud

Chris Law

Product Manager, Google Cloud

Look, when you’re running your applications in the cloud there’s a lot you have to keep top of mind: performance, security, agility, cost, and more. One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about? Monsters. That’s right, monsters. And yet, many of you do have monsters running amok in your cloud—just not the kind you see in scary movies. With Halloween just around the corner, let’s talk about how these monsters can show up in your cloud and how you can fight them off! 

Compute zombies… brains, brains, BRAINS! 

If TV and movies have taught us one thing, it’s that zombies crave brains. Gross, we know. And in the cloud it’s actually still true, in that your compute resources are your “brains in the cloud,” and the zombies are coming for them! The most common manifestation of these ‘compute zombies’ are virtual machine instances that are either over-provisioned or sitting idle. They come to life (sort of) when well-intentioned developers set up a new project with cloud resources but forget to decommission them before moving on to their next project. As a result, these compute zombies hide in your cloud and eat up your budget without you even knowing about it. 

Thankfully for all of us, there is an easy way to thwart the compute zombie horde. With VM Rightsizing and Idle VM Recommendations, provided by Active Assist, you get instant insight into what VMs you can resize or turn off. With just a few clicks you could be on your way to saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month. Sometimes zombies evolve, too, so in case your compute zombies mutate into storage zombies or IP zombies, Active Assist also has recommendations for idle persistent disks (PDs) and will soon have recommendations for idle IP addresses. Complete zombie protection!


Hungry vampires… sucking away at your company’s lifeblood! 

What’s one of the most top-of mind-topics for CIOs and CTOs today? Security. Making sure that your customer data, internal data, and intellectual property are safe and secure is a huge priority. And yet it seems every month or so there’s a new report of a huge company being hacked or breached. Unfortunately for these companies, a vampire found their way in and started to drain them of their most valuable digital assets! 

As we (once again) know from TV and movies, the most effective way to ward off vampires is sunlight. And, believe it or not, this metaphor applies to the cloud, too: you need to proactively “shine a light” on any potential security holes. You can do this with IAM Recommendations, also part of Active Assist, which uses ML and modeling to give you explicit guidance on over-provisioned user and service accounts. With just a few clicks you can take action on these recommendations and proactively plug the holes that vampires might have otherwise used in the cover of darkness!


Budget werewolves… shape shifting your money into zeros!

What’s the most terrifying thing about a werewolf? You could be standing next to one right now and not even know it… unless a full moon appears! Believe it or not, there are potential werewolves frolicking around your cloud, too, ready to consume your cloud budget. You see, Google Cloud offers substantive committed use discounts (CUDs) but you need to set them up first and operate your cloud accordingly. If you don’t do that, then your normal looking cloud resources might transform overnight into a budget thirsty werewolf, consuming your hard earned budget faster and less efficiently than if you maximized your committed use discount options! 

But have no fear, friends, we have an answer to keep the werewolves at bay, too. Within Active Assist, we offer committed use discount recommendations, a way for you to easily maximize all of the discounts available to you without requiring heavy manual analysis or interpretation. The recommendations are simple and clear, and let you make sure you make the best use of your cloud budget!


Zombies, vampires, and werewolves -- oh my! It’s been a scary blog post to say the least. Despite all the monster metaphors, we hope that this blog actually does the opposite of scare you. Because with Active Assist’s portfolio of intelligence tools and recommendations, it’s super easy to keep all the (figurative) cloud monsters at bay! Give it a try by checking out your Recommendations Hub, available to all Google Cloud users. Or if you’d just like to learn more, visit our Active Assist or Recommender web pages.

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