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Google Outs Cloud Spanner, Its Globally Distributed Database Service For Mission-Critical Applications

15 February 2017, 8:47 pm EST By Carl Velasco Tech Times
Google has now officially opened Cloud Spanner, after residing in its internal operations for the most part. Spanner offers both transactional capabilities of traditional relational databases and the scale-out architecture of NoSQL database services.   ( Google Cloud | YouTube )

About 10 years have passed since Google's stalwart engineers started creating a system that, in all reality, defeats the conventional logic of database services.

It's now named Cloud Spanner, and it's the first global database — an information storage system spanning millions of machines across data centers placed all throughout the world, which Google itself has long used to maintain proprietary services like Gmail, Google Photos and AdWords, one of the company's headliners in profit generation.

Google Cloud Spanner

As per a report by Fortune, Google is now opening up its globally distributed database service for mission-critical applications, which has so far remained inside Google's internal operations, having published a paper discussing it some years ago. The decision to unshackle Cloud Spanner has been rumored for quite a while, and the move could be a crucial inroad in the company's plans to trampoline itself so as to best Amazon Web Services in the commercial cloud market.

Best Of Both Worlds

Starting Tuesday, Feb. 14, customers may finally test a beta version of Cloud Spanner. While Google already has cloud-based database services under its belt, Spanner offers a stark difference by offering developers the best elements from traditional relational databases and NoSQL databases: a consistent transaction with easy scalability.

"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," said John Sarvari, Group VP of Technology for JDA, a company which according to Google has used, since 2015, Google's Cloud Platform as the basis of its new application development and delivery.

Traditional Database Services

Different enterprises depend on mission-critical relational databases, among them Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, to name a few, for running transactional systems. However, these services are not designed for cloud infrastructure: only supporting scale-up architecture than scale-out, which is more common in distributed applications.

A traditional maneuver is for enterprises to keep chucking more memory and processor cores at servers in order to harness more power from them — an architectural hurdle which renders it difficult to build distributed databases that work as intended.

NoSQL Database Services

To simplify the scale-out aspect, NoSQL databases emerged, but these simply cannot stand as a replacement for conventional relational database services because they lack the consistency and reliability.

Google's Cloud Spanner is designed to mesh the two, combining transactional capabilities of traditional relational databases with NoSQL, resulting in a globally consistent and scalable relational database powered by Google's infrastructure.

Google says that with Spanner, enterprises can ensure that their database scales up and down as needed, and that involves a simple pricing model which only requires companies to pay for what they use. Ingress is free, alongside egress within the same region. There's a $0.30 fee per GB of storage monthly, and a $0.90 per node per hour charge.

There is an inordinate number of possibilities one may conjure up concerning where Cloud Spanner could be useful. It could be used by financial institutions, such as banks, aiding them with a more efficient way of tracking and synchronizing trades across the planet, and Google says it has already approached such institutions for this purpose, according to Wired.

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