Brought to you by The WHIR

Google has launched the public beta of its relational database service Cloud Spanner on Tuesday to help its cloud customers maintain consistent databases between data centers,  according to a blog post on Tuesday.

Cloud Spanner will be available on Google Cloud Platform, with cost calculated by compute node-hours, storage consumption, and external network access. Cloud Spanner joins other Google Cloud database services Cloud SQL, Cloud Datastore and Cloud Bigtable.

“When building cloud applications, database administrators and developers have been forced to choose between traditional databases that guarantee transactional consistency, or NoSQL databases that offer simple, horizontal scaling and data distribution. Cloud Spanner breaks that dichotomy, offering both of these critical capabilities in a single, fully managed service,” Google product manager for Cloud Spanner Deepti Srivastava said in the blog post.

The service uses atomic clocks and GPS receivers to provide time readings to master servers in each data center, which trade readings and negotiate a “common time” to avoid the time coordination problems that otherwise prevent region-spanning databases from functioning properly. Google calls the unique time technology TrueTime.

Though the public beta just launched, Google says it has been testing Cloud Spanner internally “with hundreds of different applications and petabytes of data across data centers around the world. At Google, Spanner supports tens of millions of queries per second and runs some of our most critical services, including AdWords and Google Play.”


“Cloud Spanner presents tremendous value for our customers who are retailers, manufacturers and wholesale distributors around the world,” commented John Sarvari, Group Vice President of Technology, JDA. “With its ease of provisioning and scalability, it will accelerate our ability to bring cloud-based omni-channel supply chain solutions to our users around the world.”

Cloud Spanner reduces the time necessary to manage hardware and software, allowing it to be spent on application logic, according to the blog. Other benefits touted by Google include reduced complexity for scaling out RDBMS solutions, horizontal scaling without migrating to non-relational databases, high availability and disaster protection, and integrated security featuring data-level encryption, identity and access management, and audit logging. Client libraries are offered for Java, Go, Python, Node.js, and other languages.

Google says the service could benefit organizations running MySQL or PostgreSQL systems “bursting at the seams.” Global web services and finance companies could also make use of Cloud Spanner’s distributed scale. If its unique capabilities are useful to enough to businesses, Cloud Spanner could also help Google in its battle for hyperscale market share with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.