What is Google Cloud Spanner?

Google is going all-out with its arsenal to take on Microsoft and AWS in a growing cloud war. It’s latest product is Cloud Spanner, a global database that’s driven Google to become one of the best tech companies in the world. While this is not a new product as it’s been around for decades, this is the first time Google is opening it up for its customers.

Cloud Spanner is the database that has been powering Google for the last so many years. It all started when a group of engineers came together to create the first database and a system that seemed to defy all logic. Called the Spanner, this database was a mechanism to store information across millions of machines spanning through dozens of data centers in multiple continents. The best part is, Spanner acts as a single piece, even if it is spread across the world.

Today, it is the underlying technology for all of Google’s services such as Gmail, Google Photos and its most important revenue-generating product, Adwords.

Now, for the first time ever, Google is opening up this product to the world by branding it as Cloud Spanner. As per the terms and conditions, customers can rent out some space on Cloud Spanner, and can use it for their own apps and products. This is exactly the same as what Google uses for its in-house operations.

Spanner uses SQL language for querying, so most programmers who’ve worked on popular databases like SQL, Oracle and DB2 should be familiar with it. This translates to little or no training to use the Cloud Spanner, and customers can start making the most of it from day one. At the same time, Spanner is a flexible database that can expand to hold any amount of data, so scalability is never an issue.

On top of it, Cloud Spanner is hosted from the Google data centers, and this means, like other Google products, this is protected against hardware failures and cyber attacks. In other words, customers get to use the patented magic technology from Google for their own apps and products, for a fraction of the cost of developing such a massive system.

For those customers who don’t want to create apps using Cloud Spanner, Google offers a product called Cloud SQL, that’s similar to a traditional database software. In addition, customers can also use BigQuery data analysis engine on both the platforms for big data queries. With such a move, Google has empowered its customers in a big way, as they can choose to either use Cloud Spanner or Cloud SQL, depending on their business needs.

This is a significant move by Google, and one that can shake up the cloud market. Over the last few months, Google has tried a range of different strategies to counter the dominance of AWS and the fast-growing Microsoft Azure, but has seen only limited success. Since Spanner is something that is exclusively available only in Google, there is an increased chance for customers to use Google Cloud over Azure and AWS.

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