Jump to Content

Spanner: Google's Globally-Distributed Database

Michael Epstein
Andrew Fikes
Christopher Frost
JJ Furman
Andrey Gubarev
Christopher Heiser
Peter Hochschild
Sebastian Kanthak
Eugene Kogan
Hongyi Li
Sergey Melnik
David Mwaura
David Nagle
Rajesh Rao
Lindsay Rolig
Dale Woodford
Yasushi Saito
Christopher Taylor
Michal Szymaniak
Ruth Wang
OSDI (2012)


Spanner is Google's scalable, multi-version, globally-distributed, and synchronously-replicated database. It is the first system to distribute data at global scale and support externally-consistent distributed transactions. This paper describes how Spanner is structured, its feature set, the rationale underlying various design decisions, and a novel time API that exposes clock uncertainty. This API and its implementation are critical to supporting external consistency and a variety of powerful features: non-blocking reads in the past, lock-free read-only transactions, and atomic schema changes, across all of Spanner.