Google makes Cloud Spanner generally available

The globally distributed relational database has garnered "tremendous interest" so far, Google says.

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Google on Tuesday is making Cloud Spanner, its globally distributed relational database, generally available for mission-critical OLTP (online transaction processing) applications.

Cloud Spanner's scalability and strong transactional consistency make it unique in the marketplace, and Google has seen "tremendous interest" in the service since launching it in beta in February, said Google Cloud Product Manager Dominic Preuss told ZDNet.

"It's one of the fastest growing services we've ever launched," he said, calling it a service that "clearly solves customers needs."

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Google started developing the technology in 2005 and has been running most of its mission-critical applications on Cloud Spanner for the last nine years. It's now being used in a range of industries for mission-critical applications in the cloud, as Preuss noted in a blog post -- including customer authentication systems, business-transaction and inventory-management systems, and high-volume media systems that require low latency and high throughput.

Snap, for instance, uses Cloud Spanner to power part of its search infrastructure. The online learning company Quizlet turned to Cloud Spanner because it was outgrowing its previous MySQL solution.

"People who come to Cloud Spanner... have reached the upper bounds of whatever their solution offers them today," Preuss said. Moving to a relational database like Cloud Spanner is a much easier migration than moving to NoSQL, he added.

Google on Tuesday also announced its initial data integration partners -- Alooma, Informatica, and Xplenty -- which are in the early stages of Cloud Spanner "lift-and-shift" migration projects.

As Google ramps up its cloud business, offering Cloud Spanner as a fully-managed cloud database service can help win over a large segment of customers looking for managed cloud services, Preuss said.

"When a customer comes to us, the quality and breadth of our managed services is a key factor when picking one of the public clouds," he said.

Additionally, he said, Google differentiates itself from its cloud competitors through its platform-as-a-service offerings: "Things like BigQuery, Spanner, are where you start to see the differentiation of the public clouds, and the history and DNA of the company starts to shine through."