Google Cloud Spanner update includes SLA that promises less than five minutes of downtime per year

Cloud Spanner, Google’s globally distributed cloud database got an update today that includes multi-region support, meaning the database can be replicated across regions for lower latency and better performance. It also got an updated Service Level Agreement (SLA) that should please customers.

The latter states Cloud Spanner databases will have 99.999% (five nines) availability, a level of downtime that translates into less than five minutes per year, according to Cloud Spanner product manager, Deepti Srivastava.

“We have engineered the system to be highly available and efficient and we expect service to be able to provide that,” she said. It’s worth noting that before Google packaged Cloud Spanner as a service, it used it in-house to run products like AdWords. From Google’s perspective, if AdWords goes down, it’s not making money, so it was engineered to stay running. Today, many of its popular services are running on Cloud Spanner.

“It’s been battle tested with mission-critical application that Google runs,” Srivastava explained.

But the product lacked support across multiple regions, meaning you could only house a Cloud Spanner database within a single location. That changed today with the announcement of multi-region support, which means that companies can put the database closer to users. That should result in a more responsive experience with lower latency.

When Google announced the Beta of Cloud Spanner earlier this year, it sounded almost magical. It is a database that gives developers the transactional consistency of a SQL database with the scalability of the NoSQL variety. It is a rare combination and companies like Evernote and Marketo are using Cloud Spanner today.

The company claims you can be up and running in 4-clicks, but in reality if you are migrating an existing database to Cloud Spanner, it could be more complex. Srivastava says it really depends on the type of system. Obviously, those companies starting with a brand new application are going to get going faster than those rearchitecting an existing database system to work on Cloud Spanner, she said.