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October 13, 2023

Google Cloud Spanner Is Now Half the Cost of Amazon DynamoDB


Organizations across all industries are looking for ways to adopt AI-enabled tools and accelerate digital transformation. While the demand is rising rapidly, the budgets remain constrained. The data-hungry LLM technologies have only raised the stakes. Organizations need cost-optimal ways to support their growth. 

To help address this challenge, Google Cloud has announced updates for its Cloud Spanner – a highly scalable database that combines relational semantics with unlimited scalability. The improvements include significant price-performance improvements with a 50 percent increase in throughput and 2.5 times the storage per node than before. 

Customers of Cloud Spanner can benefit from optimizing both compute and storage. The 50 percent throughput improvements enable customers to leverage Spanner for their relational and key-value workload in a cost-effective way. 

Each Spanner node is a collection of compute resources including RAM and CPUs. With the new updates, each Spanner now accommodates 10 TB of storage, compared to 4 TB previously. This enables customers to cost-effectively store and manage data.

In the announcement blog post, Google draws a comparison with its major competitor in the cloud database market  – Amazon’s DynamoDB. According to Google, Amazon DynamoDB processes 126 million queries per second at peak. In comparison, Cloud Spanner processes 3 billion queries per second at peak. While the methodology used for this comparison is debatable, this is a direct price-performance challenge to Amazon’s Dynamo. It will be interesting to see how Amazon responds. 

The Cloud Spanner improvements are available with no change in price. The regional and multi-region instance configurations for Cloud Spanner are now available. The rest of the updates, including Storage upgrades, will be rolled out to all Cloud Spanner customers in the coming months. There will be no need for any user action, downtime, or reprovisioning. 

Google had originally developed Cloud Spanner for its internal use but in 2017, the company started offering it through Google Cloud. With its extremely low latency, high throughput, virtually unlimited scale, five 9s availability SLA, and strong external-consistency semantics, Google Cloud Spanner is one of the leading fully-managed relational databases on the market. 


Cloud Spanner’s customers can now benefit from improved price performance and increased flexibility in how they optimize their Spanner environments. Commenting on these improvements, Ankit Srivastava, Distinguished Engineer, at Uber, said “Spanner is an important component for Uber’s essential operations. As we scale and expand our global footprint, Spanner’s scalability & low operational cost is invaluable. Prior to integrating Spanner, our data management framework demanded a lot of oversight and operational effort, escalating both complexity and expenditure. Traditional workarounds like sharding and eventual consistency also posed barriers to development speed. The adoption of Spanner streamlined operational costs, improved overall reliability, and strengthened overall value by providing better throughput and performance for the same price.” 

“Spanner’s recent performance improvements have been a welcome change for CERC. With the increase in throughput and storage per node, we’ve been able to improve our operational efficiency. As we deliver transformative experiences to our customers, a highly reliable, scalable, and cost effective database like Spanner is key to our strategy.” – Andre da Costa Silva, CIO, CERC. 

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