Top Three Use Cases for Google Cloud Spanner

2 min read
Aug 26, 2021

Since its launch in 2017, Google Cloud Spanner has built a reputation that’s very different from traditional databases. Where old-school databases were known to be fragile, finicky and high-maintenance, Google Cloud Spanner delivered the seemingly impossible: a fully managed relational database with unlimited scalability, robust consistency, automatic sharding and five nines of availability.

The increasing complexity of modern business suggests that almost any enterprise could use Google Cloud Spanner. To get the best sense of Spanner’s power, let’s examine the three industries where its features have made the biggest impact: financial services, gaming and retail.

Financial services

This industry presents a perfect storm of regulatory requirements and customer expectations. Communications among banks, fintech and regulatory bodies must run flawlessly around the clock. In addition, applications such as payment gateways and online banking are tasked with handling hundreds of millions of transactions with perfect consistency, all while putting those transactions through sophisticated anti-fraud and settlement processes. In the past, legacy databases had to be painstakingly rearchitected to manage this constant flood of data, and bespoke solutions were fragile. Google Cloud Spanner handles the storm with ease.


No industry tests the scalability of a database like gaming. A hot new title can attract millions of players on the day of launch, and all of them represent significant potential revenue from real-time gameplay and end-game purchases. This audience won’t tolerate frustration or downtime. If access to a game is delayed or if the experience isn’t consistent right around the world, customers can and will go elsewhere. Fortunately, Google Cloud Spanner’s unlimited horizontal scalability (both regionally and globally) means that you can scale up to accommodate sudden bursts in traffic with just a click. And the self-managing Spanner requires no pausing for patches, backups, failover or even schema updates. Read how Pythian helped one video gaming studio improve database performance by leveraging Google Cloud Spanner.


E-commerce has been ramping up in complexity for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this evolutionary process. Today’s database must handle every aspect of the retailer’s business, including online shopping, deliveries,  returns, rewards programs, in-store pickups, retail supply chains, inventory management and more. The task of matching orders to inventory is complicated by just-in-time fulfillment and dynamic pricing. Every stockout sends your sale and your customer to the competition. Additionally, you have to plan for seasonal spikes in business. In the past, the default solution was to overprovision hardware in anticipation of seasonal demand. This very expensive approach for handling spikes in usage is now obsolete. Google Cloud Spanner offers elastic scaling to meet surges in demand, and you pay for that increased scale for only as long as you need it. When the demand returns to normal, so does your billing.  

Years before becoming publicly available, Google Cloud Spanner delivered the most convincing proof of concept: It was created as part of the core infrastructure of Google itself, and it continues to support massive applications like Gmail and YouTube.

Today, after providing unfailingly dependable service to some of the world’s most demanding enterprises (and customers), Google Cloud Spanner has nothing left to prove. Whatever your scale, large or small, you’ll see that Spanner provides the quality of database you need with, ultimately, a lower total cost of ownership.

If you’re considering a migration but aren’t sure where to start, talk to Pythian, a Google Cloud Premier Partner with data management specialization. Our expert database and cloud migration teams can do the heavy lifting, assessing the complexity of effort against the value you’ll receive from migrating. We’ll help you find a solution that works best for your business, while providing a lower total cost of ownership.

To learn how Pythian can aid in your move to Google Cloud Spanner, please contact us.

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