What is Google Cloud Spanner?

Nowadays, a database is present in every application. Applications that are bigger and more widely used need a reliable database to keep track of everything. The Cloud Spanner is born as a result. Google Cloud provides a fully managed database service known as Cloud Spanner.

The only enterprise-grade service that combines SQL queries, transactions, and relational structure is globally distributed, rigorously consistent, and based on open standards. It offers good data consistency and scalability and removes the administrative burden. Banks, the gaming industry, shopping, etc., may all use Cloud Spanner to handle large amounts of data.

Working on the Cloud Spanner

A four-node regional Cloud Spanner instance hosts two databases. A node in Spanner represents a unit of computation. Although they don't retain the data, node servers handle read, write/commit transaction requests. Three zones in the area include copies of each node. Across the three zones, the database storage is likewise duplicated. It is the responsibility of nodes inside a zone to read from and write to the storage within that zone. The information is kept in Google's Colossus distributed replicated file system.

Given that the data is not connected to specific nodes, this has enormous benefits for spreading the load. The database is still accessible in the event of a node or zone failure since the other nodes are still supplying it. To keep availability, no manual action is required.

Features of the Cloud Spanner

The Google Cloud Spanner focuses on database management, and these are its features −

  • It is a relational database that has been specially created for automatic scaling.

  • In addition to offering transparent, synchronous replication across the region and multi-region settings, Cloud Spanner offers industry-leading 99.999% availability for multi-regional instances-10 times less downtime than four nines.

  • It improves speed by automatically sharing the data based on the volume of the data and the number of requests.

  • The transactional consistency is robust.

  • It is constructed using Google Cloud's specialized network, guaranteeing dependability, security, and minimal latency.

  • With no interruption to traffic flow, it can perform live schema modifications like adding a row or column.

  • Please make a backup to save a reliable copy of your database's data and restore it whenever necessary. Point-in-time recovery (PITR) offers continuous data security and the ability to restore your previous data to the microsecond level.

  • Numerous languages, including C#, C++, Go, Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby, etc., are supported.

Applications in Industry


Regulatory agencies, banks, and fintech companies must continuously and perfectly communicate. Additionally, hundreds of millions of transactions must be handled flawlessly by programs like payment gateways and online banking while also going through complex anti-fraud and settlement procedures. Historical databases had to be meticulously rearchitected to handle this continuous inflow of data in the past, and unstable custom solutions were used. Google Cloud Spanner easily handles the storm.


Gaming is the only sector that puts a database's scalability to the test. On the day of release, a popular new game can draw millions of players, and each one of them represents a sizable potential market for in-game purchases and real-time gaming income. This audience will not put up with annoyance or boredom. Customers may and will switch to another provider if a game's availability is delayed or if the experience is inconsistent globally. Fortunately, Google Cloud Spanner's limitless horizontal scalability (both locally and internationally) allows you to scale up to handle unexpected spikes in demand easily. Additionally, there is no need to pause for patches, backups, failover, or even schema upgrades while utilizing the self-managing Spanner.


The COVID-19 epidemic has merely expedited an evolutionary process that has seen e-complexity commerce rise over the past few years. Today's database must manage all areas of the retailer's operation, including online shopping, delivery, returns, loyalty programs, in-store pickups, supply chains for the retail industry, inventory management, and more. Just-in-time delivery and dynamic pricing make matching orders to inventories more difficult. Elastic scaling is available with Google Cloud Spanner to accommodate spikes in demand, and you only pay for the other scale as long as you use it. The billing resumes once the demand is back to normal. The retail use cases are increasing.

Disadvantages of Google Cloud Spanner

The hardware used to operate Cloud Spanner, which has bespoke clocks made for OLTP data, is rather costly.

  • Although the writing API is not exactly SQL, the read API is.

  • Due to the necessity for real-time data synchronization, you should anticipate a bit of increased latency.

  • Here, the hybrid Deployment functionality is not present.

  • You won't receive NoSQL. This lacks NoSQL notions like the TTL-based expiration of older data.

Alternatives to Google Cloud Spanner

There are different alternatives to the Cloud Spanner like Amazon Aurora, Amazon DynamoDB, Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), MySQL, SAP HANA Cloud, IBM Db2, Microsoft SQL Server, and Azure Cosmos DB.


A genuinely exceptional product, Spanner is a superb example of Google's tremendous technological prowess. If Google keeps releasing such ground-breaking products, it will soon surpass other cloud also-rans and assume a position as a competitor.

Updated on: 21-Nov-2022


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