Past Meetup

PWL#17=> Ben Sigelman on Spanner: Google’s Globally-Distributed Database

This Meetup is past

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Location image of event venue



Kelsey Gilmore-Innis ( on "Information Escrows by Ian Ayres & Cait Unkovich" ( )

Kelsey ( is the Director of Technology at Sexual Health Innovations, where they are currently building Callisto ( ( based on Ayers & Unkovich's paper. She'll be talking about the joys and pitfalls of going from academic paper to production code which should ring familiar whether your source is Microsoft Research or the Michigan Law Review.

Main Talk

Ben Sigelman ( present Spanner: Google’s Globally-Distributed Database ( )

Ben tells us:Spanner is Google's scalable, globally-distributed database. In my view, it's one of the best papers to come out of Google, on par with the well-known MapReduce and Bigtable work. I will describe the Spanner design and architecture, and I will also do my best to provide context and color from my time at Google and contact with the Spanner team, hopefully without violating any NDAs! Though Spanner is ultimately a database, the greatest contributions of the paper are arguably more generally applicable, and I will try to focus on those aspects of the technology.

Ben's Bio

Ben ( is a cofounder at Resonance Labs, a pre-launch company working to transform the way that developers build, understand, and interact with distributed systems. Prior to starting that company, Ben spent nine years at Google, which he left as a senior staff engineer. During his tenure there, he led the design for several large (~1M-process) distributed systems. The most significant of these were Dapper, which is an always-on distributed tracing system, and Monarch, which is a high-availability timeseries collection, storage, and query system; both are important pieces of Google’s production infrastructure today.

Meeting mechanics

Doors open at 6:30 pm; the presentation will begin at 7:00 pm; and, yes, there will be food.

After the paper is presented, we will open up the floor for discussion and questions.

Normally we end up all meetings socializing at a bar.