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New multi-region configurations for Spanner in Asia and Europe

August 6, 2020
Vaibhav Govil

Group Product Manager, Google

Cloud Spanner is Google Cloud’s massively scalable relational database service. A core tenet of Spanner’s vision has been ensuring high availability of applications with external strong consistency. In support of this, we’ve launched two new multi-regions of Spanner that offer 99.999% availability: the Asia multi-region (asia1) and the Europe multi-region (eur5). More multi-regions allow you to deliver a high-quality, unified customer experience to users around the world while ensuring high availability.

Multi-region configurations offer benefits that include:

  • 99.999% availability: Spanner’s multi-region architecture supports high business continuity and offers protection against region failures. The new asia1 and eur5 multi-regions provide an even higher availability in comparison to regional Spanner instances (99.999% versus 99.99%) without compromising on the scale insurance or strong consistency guarantees of Spanner.

  • Data distribution: Spanner automatically replicates your data between regions with strong consistency guarantees. This allows you to serve a global customer base by co-locating data with compute near your users to provide low-latency data access..

  • External consistency: Even though Spanner automatically shards the data across multiple machines and replicates across geographically distant locations, you can still use Spanner as if it were a database running on a single machine. Transactions are guaranteed to be serializable, and the order of transactions within the database is the same as the order in which clients observe the transactions to have been committed. 

Spanner has seen strong momentum in Asia in a variety of industries such as financial services, retail, healthcare, media and entertainment, and gaming. The new asia1 region will enable companies in that region to launch new digital services with the performance and availability their consumers expect and enable high business continuity. 

How new Spanner regions enable high availability and scalability

We’ve heard from Fukuoka Financial Group (FFG), a premier banking and financial company in Japan, about their selection and use of Spanner. 

“For our digital-native banking system currently under development, we needed a database that can scale seamlessly based on demand, offers external strong consistency, good performance and has extremely high availability for us to deliver an unmatched experience to our consumers,” says Masaaki Miyamoto, managing director, Zero Bank Design Factory Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of FFG). “We found Spanner to be the only relational database that meets our needs. We are glad that now Spanner offers an Asia multi-regional configuration that delivers 99.999% availability SLA, enabling us to build applications for high-business continuity with infinite scale. Accenture is supporting us to develop our banking system.”

A Spanner multi-region consists of a minimum of three regions and five replicas; Spanner today supports multi-regions with five, seven, or nine replicas in an instance configuration. In addition to read-write replicas and read-only replicas, multi-regions support a witness region that uses a witness replica. A witness replica does not serve reads, but does participate in voting to commit writes, thus helping achieve quorum for writes. Asia1 multi-region has five replicas and the witness region is located in asia-northeast3 (Seoul).

The asia1 multi-region is configured as follows:

  • asia-northeast1 (Tokyo) as default leader 

  • asia-northeast2 (Osaka) as secondary region

  • asia-northeast3 (Seoul) as witness region

Mercari, an ecommerce company, and Merpay, its mobile payments division, have found success building apps with Spanner.  

“We started using Spanner for our new mobile payment service Merpay in 2018 and since then we have expanded its use in other business units in the organization,” says Singo Ishimura, GAE Meister at Mercari, Inc. “Spanner's strong consistency, high availability and its ability to seamlessly scale has allowed us to focus on building the business logic in our applications instead of worrying about the operations and management of the database. We at Mercari/Merpay are excited about the recent launch of the Spanner Asia multi-region, as we now have options to run workloads that need the five 9s of availability offered by the Spanner multi-regional configuration.” 

The new Europe multi-region (eur5) will enable customers in regulated industries like financial services to retain local copies of data and provide 99.999% availability for their workloads. The eur5 multi-region, similar to eur3, has five replicas, with the witness in europe-west4 (Netherlands). The eur5 configuration details are as follows:

    • europe-west2 (London) as default leader

    • europe-west1 (Belgium) as secondary region

    • europe-west4 (Netherlands) as witness region

 We’ve heard from Google Cloud partner Accenture Japan about their experience onboarding customers to Spanner.

“A distributed database that scales write access, not only read access, is a key component to achieve digital transformation,” says Keisuke Yamane, managing director, Accenture Technology, Intelligent Software Engineering Services at Accenture Japan Ltd. “We are seeing a great demand for Spanner because of its unique characteristics of both a distributed database and a relational database. This Asia multi-regional configuration announced will lead to greater use of Spanner in regulated industries like the financial sector, such as Zero Bank Design Factory Inc., life science sector, and others. Accenture will accelerate our clients' digital transformation based on our MAINRI platform that fully utilizes Google Cloud, including Spanner.”

The new multi-region configurations can be easily accessed using the Spanner API, user interface (UI) or command line interface (CLI), as part of the instance creation workflow. For more information, review the documentation and the configuration details panel in the UI.

Learn more

To get started with Spanner, create an instance or try it out with a Spanner Qwiklab.

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