Spanner Myths Busted with Pritam Shah and Vaibhav Govil


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This week, we’re busting myths around Cloud Spanner with our guests Pritam Shah and Vaibhav Govil. Mark Mirchandani and Max Saltonstall host this episode and learn about the fantastic capabilities of Cloud Spanner. Our guests give us a quick run-down of Spanner database software and its fully-managed offerings.

Spanner’s unique take on the relational database has sparked some myths. We start by addressing cost and the idea that Spanner is expensive. With its high availability achieved through synchronously replicating data, failures are virtually a non-issue, making the cost well worth it. Our guests describe other features that add to the value of Spanner as well. Workloads of any size are a good fit for Spanner because of its scalability and pricing based on use.

Despite rumors, Spanner is now very easy to start using. New additions like the PostgreSQL interface and ORM support have made the usability of Spanner much more familiar. Regional and multi-regional instances are supported, busting the myth that Spanner is only good for global workloads. Our guests offer examples of projects using local and global configurations with Spanner.

In the database world, Vaibhav sees trends like the convergence of non-relational and relational databases as well as convergence in the OLTP and OLAP database semantics, and he tells us how Spanner is adapting and growing with these trends. Pritam points out that customers are paying more attention to total cost of ownership, the importance of scalable and reliable database solutions, and the peace of mind that comes with a managed database system. Spanner helps customers with these, freeing up business resources for other things.

This year, Spanner has made many announcements about new capabilities coming soon, like PostgreSQL interface on spanner GA, Query Insights visualization tools, cross-regional backups GA, and more. We hear all about these awesome updates.

Pritam Shah

Pritam is the Director of Engineering for Cloud Spanner. He has been with Google for about four and a half years. Before Spanner, he was the Engineering Lead for observability libraries at Google. That included Distributed Tracing and Metrics at Google scale. His mission was to democratize the instrumentation libraries. That is when he launched Open Census and then took on Cloud Spanner.

Vaibhav Govil

Vaibhav is the Product lead for Spanner. He has been in this role for the past three years, and before this he was a Product Manager in Google Cloud Storage in Google. Overall, he has spent close to four years at Google, and it has been a great experience.

Cool things of the week
  • Our plans to invest $9.5 billion in the U.S. in 2022 blog
  • A policy roadmap for 24⁄7 carbon-free energy blog
  • SRE Prodcast site
  • Meet the people of Google Cloud: Grace Mollison, solutions architect and professional problem solver blog
    • GCP Podcast Episode 224: Solutions Engineering with Grace Mollison and Ann Wallace podcast
  • Spanner site
  • Cloud Spanner myths busted blog
  • PostgreSQL interface docs
  • Cloud Spanner Ecosystem site
  • Spanner: Google’s Globally-Distributed Database white paper
  • Spanner Docs docs
  • Spanner Qwiklabs site
  • Using the Cloud Spanner Emulator docs
  • GCP Podcast Episode 62: Cloud Spanner with Deepti Srivastava podcast
  • GCP Podcast Episode 248: Cloud Spanner Revisited with Dilraj Kaur and Christoph Bussler podcast
  • Cloud Spanner federated queries docs
What’s something cool you’re working on?

Max is working on a new podcast platform and some spring break projects.


Mark Mirchandani and Max Saltonstall

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