Google Spanner Wins Hall Of Fame Award
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 18 November 2022

A paper about the structure and design decisions behind Google Spanner has won this year's SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award for influential operating systems papers published at least ten years in the past. 



SIGOPS is the Association for Computing Machinery's (ACM's) Special Interest Group on Operating Systems and its Hall of Fame was established in 2005 to recognize the most influential operating systems papers. Previous winners of this Hall of Fame award have included TaintDroid: An Information-Flow Tracking System for Realtime Privacy Monitoring on Smartphones; The Chubby lock service for loosely-coupled distributed systems, and a paper from 1970 by IBM describing the second generation of the very first virtual machine system.

The paper on Google Spanner that has has now won this award was given at OSDI’12, the 10th USENIX conference on Operating systems design and implementation.

Google describes Spanner as combining the best of relational and NoSQL databases - scalable, distributed, but supporting ACID transactions and SQL queries. Google's internal implementation of Spanner is the largest single database on earth and spans all Google’s data centers - hence the name Spanner.

In the winning research paper, Google researchers said that:

"At the highest level of abstraction, it is a database that shards data across many sets of Paxos state machines in data-centers spread all over the world. Replication is used for global availability and geographic locality; clients automatically failover between replicas. Spanner automatically reshards data across machines as the amount of data or the number of servers changes, and it automatically migrates data across machines (even across datacenters) to balance load and in response to failures. Spanner is designed to scale up to millions of machines across hundreds of datacenters and trillions of database rows."

The award for the research paper follows a recent update to Spanner that introduces fine-grained access control for Spanner meaning users can authorize access to Spanner data at the table and column level. Spanner already provides access control with Identity and Access Management (IAM).

Google has also announced free trial instances of Spanner that developers can use to try out Spanner for 90 days. The trial comes with guided tutorials and a sample database, and provides a Spanner instance with 10GB storage for 90 days.


More Information

SIGOPS Hall of Fame

Spanner Research Document

Spanner Homepage

Spanner Emulator On GitHub

Related Articles

Google Releases Spanner Emulator

Google Spanner To Settle Relational Vs NoSQL Debate

Inaugural ACM Chuck Thacker Breakthrough Award

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Last Updated ( Friday, 18 November 2022 )