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Google’s new cloud service is a unique take on a database

Blair Hanley Frank | Feb. 15, 2017
Google Cloud Spanner provides users with a highly available database running on Google's infrastructure

Cloud Spanner’s popularity may be throttled somewhat by Google’s position in the cloud market. While the company has been aggressive in releasing new capabilities and improving its services to attract new customers, its use still lags behind that of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Using Cloud Spanner means bringing data to Google’s cloud platform and building an application that targets it. While some companies are comfortable working with multiple cloud providers, not all of them are.

That said, Gartner's Heudecker said Google is the only major cloud provider offering a product like this one and it will be hard for rivals to catch up.

“Cloud Spanner is not just software,” Heudecker said. “It is the union of software, hardware — in the form of atomic clocks in Google’s data centers — and an incredibly robust network connecting their data centers together. So it’s not just writing code. It’s a lot of investment and a lot of operational expertise that Google excels at.”

Right now, Cloud Spanner instances can only exist in one of Google's cloud regions, though they'll be replicated across multiple availability zones inside those regions. In the future, Cloud Spanner customers will be able to have one database that's kept in sync across multiple regions. 

 

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