AWS, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Google Cloud (GCP)

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Google Cloud Spanner vs. Amazon Aurora

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Google Cloud Spanner and Amazon Aurora stand out as two formidable contenders in cloud databases. Both offer advanced features and capabilities that cater to a wide range of business needs. However, they also differ in scalability, consistency models, pricing, and performance. This blog provides a side-by-side comparison to help you determine which database service best suits your requirements.


  • Google Cloud Spanner: Google Cloud Spanner is a globally distributed relational database service on GCP (Google Cloud Platform). It provides horizontal scalability, strong consistency, and low-latency access across regions, making it ideal for global applications requiring real-time data access.
  • Amazon Aurora: Amazon Aurora is a MySQL- and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database service on AWS (Amazon Web Services). It offers high performance, availability, and compatibility with existing applications, making it a popular choice for various workloads, including e-commerce, SaaS, and enterprise applications.

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Google Cloud Spanner

Google Cloud Spanner is designed for a global scale and is highly available. It provides horizontal scalability without sacrificing consistency or performance. Spanner can seamlessly scale out to handle millions of requests per second by distributing data across multiple regions and automatically managing sharding and replication.

Key Features:

  • Automatic Sharding: Data is automatically partitioned across multiple nodes.
  • Global Distribution: Data can be replicated across multiple regions for low-latency access.
  • Zero Downtime Scaling: Scale up or down without impacting availability.

Amazon Aurora

Amazon Aurora is a MySQL- and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database that offers up to five times the performance of standard MySQL databases and three times that of standard PostgreSQL databases. Aurora automatically scales storage from 10GB up to 128TB and can handle millions of transactions per minute.

Key Features:

  • Auto-Scaling Storage: Automatically scales storage as your database grows.
  • Read Replicas: Up to 15 low latency read replicas across three Availability Zones.
  • Serverless Option: Aurora Serverless scales automatically based on application demand.

Consistency Models:

Google Cloud Spanner

Spanner offers strong consistency, ensuring that all subsequent reads will reflect that change once a transaction is committed. It combines two-phase commits and a distributed consensus algorithm (Paxos) to achieve this.

Key Features:

  • Strong Consistency: This guarantees that the text reflects the most recent writing.
  • Global Transactions: Supports multi-region transactions with ACID properties.
  • External Consistency: Transactions appear to be executed in a single, globally consistent order. 

Amazon Aurora

Aurora provides read-after-write consistency for its primary instance and eventual consistency for read replicas. This model allows for high performance but may not suit applications requiring strict consistency across all instances.

Key Features:

  • Read-After-Write Consistency: Immediate consistency for the primary instance.
  • Eventual Consistency: Read replicas may lag behind the primary instance.
  • Multi-Master Capability: Aurora multi-Master allows multiple write nodes for increased availability.


Google Cloud Spanner

Spanner pricing is based on three main components: node count, storage usage, and network bandwidth. Nodes are priced per hour, storage is priced per GB per month, and network egress is priced per GB.

Pricing Structure:

  • Compute Cost: Charged per node per hour.
  • Storage Cost: Charged per GB per month.
  • Network Cost: Charged based on outbound data transfer.

Amazon Aurora

Aurora pricing consists of several components: instance hours, storage, I/O requests, and backups. Aurora Serverless adds a separate pricing model based on capacity units and usage.

Pricing Structure:

  • Instance Cost: Charged per instance hour based on instance type.
  • Storage Cost: Charged per GB per month.
  • I/O Requests: Charged per million requests.
  • Aurora Serverless: Charged per Aurora Capacity Unit (ACU) per second.


Google Cloud Spanner

Spanner is known for its high performance, especially in scenarios requiring global consistency and high availability. It achieves low latency reads and writes through its distributed architecture and optimized query execution.

Performance Highlights:

  • Low Latency: Optimized for fast reads and writes across regions.
  • High Throughput: Can handle millions of requests per second.
  • Efficient Query Execution: SQL is used for querying with strong consistency.

Amazon Aurora

Aurora provides high performance with low latency reads and writes, particularly within a single region. Its architecture is optimized for rapid recovery from failures and efficient use of resources.

Performance Highlights:

  • High Throughput: Capable of handling millions of transactions per minute.
  • Read Scaling: Up to 15 read replicas for read-heavy workloads.
  • Low Latency: Designed for fast performance with automatic failover.




Choosing between Google Cloud Spanner and Amazon Aurora depends largely on your needs and priorities. Google Cloud Spanner stands out with its global scalability, strong consistency, and high availability, making it ideal for applications that demand rigorous data consistency and global reach.

On the other hand, Amazon Aurora excels with its high performance, compatibility with MySQL and PostgreSQL, and flexible scaling options, making it a perfect fit for applications with variable workloads and high read traffic. By understanding the unique advantages and limitations of each service, you can select the database that best aligns with your business goals, ensuring robust and efficient data management.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Google Cloud Spanner or Amazon Aurora and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. How do Google Cloud Spanner and Amazon Aurora handle read and write operations?

ANS: – Google Cloud Spanner supports strong consistency for reads and writes across globally distributed data. Amazon Aurora supports immediate consistency for writes to the primary instance and eventual consistency for reads from replicas.

2. Which database service is more suitable for applications with high read traffic?

ANS: – Amazon Aurora is generally more suitable for applications with high read traffic due to its support for up to 15 read replicas, which helps distribute read loads effectively.

WRITTEN BY Rajeshwari B Mathapati

Rajeshwari B Mathapati is working as a Research Associate (WAR and Media Services) at CloudThat. She is Google Cloud Associate certified. She is interested in learning new technologies and writing technical blogs.



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