Skip to main content

Cloud SQL vs Cloud Spanner: Pricing, Use Cases & More

By December 7, 2022April 13th, 2023No Comments

There are several offerings in the public cloud that help you scale your database. Those that run on Google Cloud Platform are Cloud SQL and Cloud Spanner. These two solutions are easy to use, but they provide different sets of features. Here we will take a closer look at Cloud SQL vs Cloud Spanner, their pricing, use cases, features and more to help you pick the right one for your project.

When it comes to comparing cloud databases and in particular “NoSQL” and “SQL” databases, it is important to understand the differences between them. Cloud SQL and Cloud Spanner are two of the most popular SQL cloud databases available today and understanding their differences can help with the decision to use one or the other.

Build and run your applications on robust databases with Niveus

Cloud Spanner features: How is it different ?

Google Cloud Spanner is a relational database service with strong consistency and horizontal scaling for global applications. It is built on Google-designed infrastructure and has been battle-tested over many years powering many of Google’s own services. Cloud Spanner is available on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and integrates with GCP products and services to help you build and run your applications.

Here are some of its key characteristics –

  • Enterprise-grade
  • Globally distributed
  • Strongly consistent
  • Built for the cloud

Cloud Spanner is unique in the marketplace in that it combines transactions, SQL query, and relational structure with the scalability you typically associate with non-relational or NoSQL databases. It amalgamates the benefits of relational database structure with non-relational horizontal scale.

With Cloud Spanner, businesses have complete SQL support, including standard tables and columns that you’d see in relational databases.

  • Data is automatically shared and re-shared
  • Have ACID transactions (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability)
  • This is across partitions

The product has regional as well as multi-regional configurations – 

  • Regional gives 4 nines of availability
  • Multi-region gives 5 nines of availability

Scale-wise, this is the database that is used within Google, including YouTube and Google Ads.

Cloud SQL vs Google Cloud Spanner : The better choice

Cloud SQL automatically ensures your databases are reliable, secure, and scalable so that your business continues to run without disruption. It automates all your backups, replication, encryption patches, and capacity increases—while ensuring greater than 99.95% availability, anywhere in the world. 

Cloud Spanner is a fully managed, relational database service that is based on the globally distributed Spanner database, providing up to 99.999% SLA in performance uptimes. It is an OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) database and has a very flexible schema that can be changed as needed, and it can handle large volumes of data. Cloud Spanner has no fixed size limit, so it can grow as your business grows. Cloud Spanner is available in all regions, but Cloud SQL is only available in select regions. 

When comparing Cloud SQL vs Cloud Spanner, Cloud Spanner is a little bit more complex than Cloud SQL at first glance. It has a lot of features that you need to understand before you use it to improve the performance of your web application. Cloud Spanner allows you to scale your databases depending upon the needs of your business. While Cloud SQL is built specifically for MySQL, Cloud Spanner can be used for any SQL database. It offers four types of database instances: small, medium, large, extra large.

The key features of Spanner includes –

  • Strong external consistency
  • Simplified administration
  • Automatic failure recovery
  • Automatic sharding
  • Easy global replication
  • PB+ scale, consistent performance
  • Distributed processing
  • Cell-level concurrency
  • Industry leading 99.999% SLA
  • Online schema changes
  • No maintenance window

Cloud Spanner pricing model

Cloud SQL is a cost-effective option for your storage and computing needs. You can tailor your settings to match your budget, and you only pay for what you use with per-second billing. Database instances are also easy to stop and start as needed.

Designed to be affordable, Spanner offers a simple pricing model with no up-front commitment and no long-term contracts. Cloud Spanner is enterprise-ready with comprehensive security, a flexible data model, and support for industry standard SQL. 

The advantage of Cloud Spanner is that it is more cost-effective for your business. When considering the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Cloud Spanner costs less to operate. Moreover, when you consider opportunity cost, the Return On Investment (ROI) can be even higher.

Cloud Spanner use cases

Cloud Spanner works really well for companies that have outgrown a single-instance RDBMS and moved to a NoSQL solution but need transactional consistency, or are looking to move to a scalable solution. This includes Supply Chain Management and ecommerce companies.

It also can be a great fit for companies currently sharding databases because they need more read or write throughput than can be placed on a single node. This includes Telecom and Billing, Gaming organizations.

Cloud Spanner can also suit companies and/or developers building applications that rely on global data and require strong consistency for accuracy. These could be Financial Services, Insurance or even Global Call-Centers.

It can also help companies that store their business data in multiple database products with variable maintenance overheads and capabilities and need to consolidate their data. These could include Logistics and Manufacturing outfits.

At Niveus,

  • We built a scalable & responsive microsite to handle approximately 5 million concurrent users in an hour, with Cloud Spanner, for a leading global automotive manufacturer during the online pre-booking and booking stage for their newly launched vehicle.
  • Our Cloud Spanner implementation has also helped to host up to a million concurrent users for a multiplayer gaming platform  by a multinational technology company.

With Cloud Spanner, Google is offering a database that is able to handle millions of rows and terabytes of data without sacrificing performance. Cloud Spanner also allows you to create a global database that can be accessed by anyone at the same time, making it easy to scale your website and web application to millions of people. If you would like to learn more about Cloud Spanner, we would be happy to set up a time for a walkthrough and show you how Cloud Spanner can help.

Know How Cloud Spanner Can Improve Your Application Performance

Prathiksha Kamath

Author Prathiksha Kamath

Prathiksha Kamath is a versatile and dedicated Associate with Niveus Customer Engineering team. Her team won at HashiCorp’s Hackstravaganza event for work on Niveus proprietary platform, automated GCP Landing Zone, which is built on Terraform.

More posts by Prathiksha Kamath
We use cookies to make our website a better place. Cookies help to provide a more personalized experience and web analytics for us. For new detail on our privacy policy click on View more