Spanner (database)

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Cloud Spanner Booth at Google Cloud Summit

Spanner is Google's globally distributed NewSQL database.[1] Google describes Spanner as a not pure relational database system because each table must have a primary key column.[2]

History, description[edit]

The lack of transactions in Bigtable led to frequent complaints from users, so Google made distributed transactions central to Spanner's design. Based on its experience with Bigtable, Google argues that it is better to have application programmers deal with performance problems due to overuse of transactions as bottlenecks arise, rather than always coding around the lack of transactions.[2]

Described as a NewSQL[3] platform, Spanner is used internally within Google's infrastructure as part of the Google platform since February 2017[4] and also available as part of Google Cloud Platform.[5] Spanner uses the Paxos algorithm as part of its operation to shard data across hundreds of datacenters.[1] It makes heavy use of hardware-assisted clock synchronization using GPS clocks and atomic clocks to ensure global consistency.[1]

The Google F1 SQL database management system (DBMS) is built on top of Spanner,[6] replacing Google's custom MySQL variant.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Corbett et al. 2012.
  2. ^ a b Corbett et al. 2012, p. 4.
  3. ^ Hoff, Todd (2012-09-24). "Google Spanner's Most Surprising Revelation: NoSQL is Out and NewSQL is In". Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  4. ^ Clark, Jack (September 18, 2012). "Google reveals Spanner, the database tech that can span the planet". ZDNet. Retrieved 2012-09-21.
  5. ^ Srivastava, Deepti (2017-02-14). "Introducing Cloud Spanner: a global database service for mission-critical applications".
  6. ^ Shute et al. 2012.
  7. ^ Shute et al. 2012, p. 19: ‘Summary: We've moved a large and critical application suite from MySQL to F1.’


  • Corbett, James C; Dean, Jeffrey; Epstein, Michael; Fikes, Andrew; Frost, Christopher; Furman, JJ; Ghemawat, Sanjay; Gubarev, Andrey; Heiser, Christopher; Hochschild, Peter; Hsieh, Wilson; Kanthak, Sebastian; Kogan, Eugene; Li, Hongyi; Lloyd, Alexander; Melnik, Sergey; Mwaura, David; Nagle, David; Quinlan, Sean; Rao, Rajesh; Rolig, Lindsay; Saito, Yasushi; Szymaniak, Michal; Taylor, Christopher; Wang, Ruth; Woodford, Dale, "Spanner: Google's Globally-Distributed Database" (PDF), Proceedings of OSDI 2012, Google, retrieved 18 September 2012.
  • Shute, Jeffrey ‘Jeff’; Oancea, Mircea; Ellner, Stephan; Handy, Benjamin ‘Ben’; Rollins, Eric; Samwel, Bart; Vingralek, Radek; Whipkey, Chad; Chen, Xin; Jegerlehner, Beat; Littlefield, Kyle; Tong, Phoenix (2012), "F1 — the Fault-Tolerant Distributed RDBMS Supporting Google's Ad Business", Research (presentation), Sigmod: Google.

Further reading[edit]

  • Date, Christopher ‘Chris’ J, "6. Relations, Part II. The Relational Model", An Introduction to Database Systems (8th ed.), Addison Wesley, ISBN 978-0321197849.

External links[edit]