AWS Aurora vs Google Cloud Spanner: Which is the Better Distributed Database?

November 18, 2022

AWS Aurora vs Google Cloud Spanner: Which is the Better Distributed Database?

When it comes to choosing a distributed database for your cloud management strategy, AWS Aurora and Google Cloud Spanner are two of the most popular options available. Both databases offer impressive features and functionalities, which can make the decision difficult.

To help you make an informed decision, we're going to compare AWS Aurora and Google Cloud Spanner side-by-side, analyzing their performance, scalability, availability, and pricing structures.


Looking at performance, AWS Aurora offers fast and reliable databases that can handle large-scale workloads with ease. The database enhances your data processing capabilities by automatically scaling storage capacity without requiring downtime.

On the other hand, Google Cloud Spanner boasts of its fully managed, enterprise-grade, and horizontally scalable databases. Its TrueTime API ensures that all transactions are applied atomically, and globally, thus providing strong consistency.

Although both databases offer high-performance levels, Google Cloud Spanner's TrueTime API gives it an edge over AWS Aurora.


Scalability is another critical factor to consider in choosing a distributed database. AWS Aurora has two deployment options: serverless and provisioned instances. It can automatically scale up or down its database workloads based on current usage, keeping your costs low during periods of inactivity.

Google Cloud Spanner handles elasticity exceptionally well, enabling easy scaling from small to global-scale production environments. It can easily handle thousands of changes per second, which makes it the perfect choice for companies with growing data requirements. For scalability, Google Cloud Spanner is the better option.


Both databases are highly available, but Google Cloud Spanner edges out AWS Aurora here as well. Google Cloud Spanner has a zero downtime upgrade policy, meaning your systems remain operational even when updates are done. And its distributed architecture ensures data backups are secure and always available.

AWS Aurora has built-in data backup and recovery functionalities, but its availability might get compromised during upgrades and failovers.


Pricing is a significant factor in choosing a distributed database. AWS Aurora and Google Cloud Spanner both use different pricing mechanisms.

AWS Aurora uses a pay-per-use pricing structure, which applies only to serverless deployment. Aurora provisioned instance pays for an hourly rate of usage, which includes both database instance usage and storage.

Google Cloud Spanner charges for actual usage per node and storage. The minimum cost for a node on Google Cloud Spanner is $0.90 per hour, excluding storage charges.


It is significant to conclude our comparison with a statement that should help you make a better decision - both AWS Aurora and Google Cloud Spanner are excellent cloud database solutions, each with its strengths and weaknesses. So, depending on your use case, the decision is dependent on your critical factors.

However, we can conclude that if you require a highly scalable, highly available, and globally consistent distributed database that can handle demanding data processing requirements, Google Cloud Spanner is the better choice.

But if you want a highly scalable database that can automatically recover from crashes and provide excellent performance, AWS Aurora is a great option.


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