BigQuery is Google’s serverless data warehousing service that is designed to continuously run heavy queries in a cost effective manner.

By - Manish Kumar Barnwal
Updated on
August 21, 2023


What is Google BigQuery?

BigQuery is built on a serverless architecture, allowing users to store and analyze large datasets without the need for infrastructure or hardware management. The platform automatically replicates data across multiple sites, providing optimal performance and stability. BigQuery can integrate seamlessly with other Google-based services like Google Analytics and Google Drive, providing additional benefits to users.

It is important to keep in mind that BigQuery is designed to run heavy queries, making it ideal for complicated analytical queries that require a large amount of data. BigQuery also features a built-in cache, allowing users to reuse cached results for queries that have not been updated, which reduces the need for rerunning queries and saves costs.

When to use BigQuery?

BigQuery is ideal for businesses that need to manage and analyze massive volumes of data. It provides excellent performance for complex analytical queries and is scalable to accommodate data growth. It also enables real-time data analysis, making it suitable for marketers and analysts who need to access data in real-time.

BigQuery's built-in cache and serverless architecture provide cost-effective and efficient data analysis. By offloading ongoing queries to BigQuery, businesses can reduce the burden on their relational databases and avoid the need for server scaling.

How does Google BigQuery Work?

GCP’s BigQuery is a fully-managed, serverless, enterprise data warehouse that enables businesses to store and analyze massive amounts of data in real-time. It provides an efficient and cost-effective way to manage and query large datasets, making it an excellent solution for organizations with heavy data processing needs.

BigQuery offers petabyte-scale query capabilities, and the results are delivered within seconds, thanks to its columnar storage and distributed query processing engine. The service also features advanced security measures, including data replication across multiple sites, ensuring exceptional stability and performance.

Features & Advantages

What are the features of Google BigQuery?

BigQuery has various features that make it an ideal solution for organizations of all sizes that require data analysis.

  • One of the most significant features of BigQuery is its scalability, which means that it can automatically scale up or down depending on the size of the data. This allows businesses to store and manage large datasets without worrying about the costs of maintaining hardware or investing in new infrastructure.
  • Another major feature of BigQuery is its real-time data processing capabilities. It can process petabytes of data in real-time, making it a valuable tool for businesses that need to process large volumes of data quickly. This feature enables businesses to gain insights in real-time, which is crucial for making data-driven decisions.
  • BigQuery is highly secure, with several security features built-in to help protect against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security risks. This includes multi-factor authentication, encryption at rest and in transit, and fine-grained access control. It also has several compliance certifications, including HIPAA, SOC 2, and PCI DSS, making it a suitable solution for businesses that handle sensitive data.
  • BigQuery is highly flexible and can be used for a variety of use cases, including fraud detection, customer analysis, financial analysis, and real-time analytics, among others. It has a range of integration options available to help businesses connect BigQuery with other services and tools. This includes integrations with tools such as Data Studio, Looker, and Tableau, which can be used to visualize data.

The user-friendly interface and simple pricing structure within BigQuery make it a popular choice for organizations of all sizes, especially those that require frequent data analysis. The pricing structure is based on the amount of data processed, making it easy for businesses to understand and manage costs. Additionally, BigQuery has several pricing tiers, allowing businesses to choose the one that best suits their needs.

Advantages of using BigQuery for Businesses

  1. BigQuery is a fully managed platform that offers high availability and geo-redundancy without requiring downtime for upgrades. This means that businesses can rely on BigQuery for mission-critical applications without worrying about downtime.
  2. The platform is designed to provide industry-leading performance for very large data sets, making it ideal for businesses that require quick access to large amounts of data.
  3. Low storage costs are combined with industry-leading performance for very large data sets, making BigQuery an ideal solution for businesses that need to store and manage large datasets cost-effectively. The platform also employs artificial intelligence to optimize storage automatically, further reducing costs.
  4. BigQuery Omni is another major advantage of using BigQuery. It allows businesses to query data from Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform, providing a seamless experience for businesses that use multiple cloud providers. This makes it easy for businesses to access and analyze data regardless of where it is stored.


Google BigQuery Pricing

BigQuery's pricing model is designed to be flexible and transparent, offering a pay-as-you-go model that allows users to pay only for the resources they use. There are two factors that make up BigQuery pricing: storage costs and query costs.

  • Storage costs are based on the amount of data stored in the platform and are calculated on a monthly basis. The pricing for storage varies depending on the location and type of storage used, with Nearline and Coldline storage being cheaper than Regional and Multi-Regional storage.
  • Query costs are based on the amount of data processed during queries, with pricing calculated based on the total amount of data processed. The price per query is based on the amount of data processed, with the first terabyte being free every month. After the first terabyte, pricing is based on a tiered model, with discounts available for larger volumes of data processed.

Is BigQuery free or paid?

BigQuery offers a free tier option that allows users to explore the platform's features and capabilities. The free tier allows up to 1 terabyte (TB) of data storage and up to 1 terabyte of queries processed per month. Additionally, users are allowed to run up to 10,000 load jobs, 1,000 export jobs, and 1 gigabyte (GB) of streaming inserts per month.

In addition to storage and query costs, BigQuery also offers features such as machine learning and streaming analytics, which are priced separately based on usage. However, these features are not included in the free tier and require additional payment to use.

Note that the prices are subject to change, so it's always a good idea to check the official pricing page on the Google Cloud website for the most up-to-date information.

BigQuery Pricing Tiers

BigQuery offers two main pricing tiers: flat rate and on-demand. Each pricing tier has its own unique features and benefits, which makes it important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Flat Rate Pricing

The Flat Rate pricing tier offers a predictable monthly cost, making it ideal for companies with a fixed budget. With the Flat Rate pricing tier, you pay a fixed monthly cost for a set amount of BigQuery processing power. This makes it easy to budget for your BigQuery usage, as you know exactly how much you'll be paying each month.

  • For example, if you have a set budget of $10,000 per month for BigQuery, you can purchase a flat rate package that offers you up to 1,000 slots per month. This means that you'll be able to process up to 1,000 concurrent queries each month, regardless of how much data you're analyzing or how complex your queries are.

This predictable pricing structure makes it easy to manage your BigQuery costs and ensures that you don't exceed your budget.

On-Demand Pricing

The on-demand pricing tier, on the other hand, charges you based on the amount of data processed by your queries. This pricing structure is ideal for companies with unpredictable query volumes or who are just getting started with BigQuery. With on-demand pricing, you only pay for what you use, which means that your costs can vary greatly from month to month.

  • For example, if you're a startup with limited data, you may only process a few queries per month. With on-demand pricing, you'll only be charged for the amount of data that is processed by these queries. However, if your business grows and you start processing more queries, your costs will increase accordingly.

The on-demand pricing tier also offers the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you suddenly have a large influx of data that needs to be analyzed, you can quickly scale up your processing power to handle the additional load. Once the data has been analyzed, you can then scale down your processing power to save costs.

Cost Optimization

How To Optimize BigQuery Storage and Query Cost?

Cost optimization is critical when using BigQuery, as it can be expensive if used inefficiently. When implemented correctly, these best practices reduce BigQuery costs and optimize queries.

  1. Storage Management: One way to reduce BigQuery costs is to manage your storage efficiently. You can define an expiration time for tables or partitions if you just need current or recently updated data, regardless of the historical data. BigQuery is built from the ground up to save money on data storage that is no longer in use. By default, every table or partition in BQ that hasn’t been touched in at least 90 days will be moved to long-term storage, which costs $0.01 per GB per month, or 50% less than usual prices. You may also export BigQuery data to Google Cloud Storage for a lower cost if you have older data that you need to maintain in case you need to consult it or just for general governance concerns.
  2. Automatic View Creation: Generating views in BigQuery is quite similar to creating tables. As a result, instead of manually allowing views access to dependent datasets in BigQuery UI, if a data pipeline automates view generation, it is recommended to automate granting views access to dependent datasets as part of the same pipeline.
  3. Partitioning Tables: You can partition BigQuery data by a date column or by load time. Since it only retrieves the partitions required by the query, this increases performance and lowers the cost of a query.
  4. Clustering Tables: Clustered columns can be used to organize data in BigQuery. For example, you can organize employee data by department, and if a query is run on that department, BigQuery just reads until it reaches the filtered department, skipping the rest of the data, avoiding wasteful data scans.
  5. Nesting and Repeating Data: This is among the most significant ETL guiding principles for Google BigQuery. When the data is denormalized, Google BigQuery performs the best. Denormalize the data instead of retaining relationships and take leverage of nested and repeated fields.
  6. Slots: The computing power required to perform a SQL query in BigQuery is referred to as slots. In terms of pricing and resource allocation, slots are extremely important. BigQuery is in charge of slot allocation, and the amount of slots allotted to a job is determined by two factors: Query Size and Data Complexity. In addition to consumption-based pricing, BigQuery also offers flat-rate pricing, which allows you to purchase a set number of slots over a set period of time, giving you additional flexibility in capital planning.
  7. Streaming Inserts: A load task will be generated to read data directly and insert it into the table in batch mode when inserting data into a Google BigQuery table. Using streaming data, we will be able to query data without having to wait for the load process to finish.

Google BigQuery Best Practices

Listed here are a few key things to keep in mind when using BigQuery:

  • Avoid using SELECT * or unnecessary columns in your queries, as this can increase the amount of data read and processed, leading to higher costs.
  • Use table partitioning and clustering to reduce the amount of data scanned by your queries.
  • Use the correct data types to reduce storage costs.
  • Use streaming inserts judiciously and consider batch loading data instead.
  • Delete unused tables and partitions regularly to avoid incurring unnecessary storage costs.
  • Use workload management (WLM) to manage query resources and avoid over-provisioning.
  • Use query caching to avoid recomputing data that has already been processed.
  • Use the BigQuery pricing calculator to estimate costs before running large queries or loading large datasets.
  • Monitor query usage and identify long-running or expensive queries for optimization.
  • Consider using cost-saving strategies such as data retention policies and data lifecycle management to manage data storage costs.

Remember that cost optimization is an ongoing process, and you should continually monitor and adjust your usage to ensure that you are getting the most value for your investment in BigQuery.

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