Google Cloud recently announced the availability of Autoclass for Cloud Storage, a bucket-level setup that automates the lifecycle management of objects based on their last access time. The new feature simplifies cost optimization for workloads with unpredictable and unknown access patterns.

Autoclass automatically moves objects into the bucket based on each object’s access pattern, supporting the storage classes standard, nearline, coldline, and archive. The new service manages all new objects, starting in standard storage and moving them to increasingly cold storage classes after 30, 90, and 365 days if they are not accessible.

In exchange for a management fee, the service helps achieve price predictability by eliminating the additional retrieval fees associated with colder storage classes, and is recommended if the data in the bucket has varying access frequencies or if data access patterns are unknown or unpredictable. However, it is not recommended if the data meets the use cases of a particular storage class, such as backups.

Autoclass buckets are charged a monthly management fee of $0.0025 for every 1,000 objects stored, with no charges for retrieval access to an object and early deletion.

Currently, the Autoclass feature must be enabled during bucket creation using the CLI, API or Cloud Console. Support for existing buckets is expected later in 2023. When the feature is disabled, all objects in the bucket remain in their current storage class.

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