Understanding Google Cloud SQL High Availability: Simplified 101

on Google Cloud Platform, Google Cloud SQL • April 7th, 2022 • Write for Hevo

cloud sql high availability: FI

Building a fault-tolerant, highly scalable cloud-based application has become increasingly important as the demand for cloud-based applications is growing rapidly. However, robust applications are often supported by several components/software. This eventually leads to the risk of downtime even if any component fails.

Although it is difficult to eliminate the downtime completely, you can embrace architectural design that supports High Availability for better uptime. Over the years, various cloud platforms have come forward with the High Availability (HA) option to enable their customers to run applications efficiently. One of the leading cloud-computing providers, Google Cloud Platform, also offers the option for HA to their users. By enabling the HA option on the Google Cloud SQL server, users can run their applications without any hindrance affecting the process.  

This article talks about the need for the Google Cloud SQL High Availability and also gives an overview of Google Cloud Platform.

Table of Contents


Basic understanding of cloud computing.

What is Google Cloud Platform?

In April 2008, Google announced that it was entering the domain of cloud computing by launching a Platform as a Service (PaaS), Google App Engine. The Google App Engine enabled developers to build and host applications on Google’s infrastructure. Later in September 2011, App Engine was publicly released, and in 2013, the Google Cloud Platform name was officially adopted. 

Google Cloud is a set of Google’s public cloud computing services. The platform includes a number of Google-hosted services for compute, storage, and application development. Software developers, cloud administrators, and other enterprise IT professionals can access Google Cloud services via the public internet or a dedicated network connection.

Google Cloud provides compute, storage, networking, big data, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) services, as well as cloud management, security, and developer tools. The following are some of Google Cloud’s cloud computing services:

  • Google Compute Engine is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider that gives users virtual machine instances to host their workloads.
  • Google App Engine is a platform as a service (PaaS) that provides software developers with scalable hosting from Google. Developers can also use an SDK to create App Engine-compatible software.
  • Google Cloud Storage is a cloud-based storage platform for large, unstructured data sets. Cloud Datastore for NoSQL nonrelational storage, Cloud SQL for MySQL fully relational storage, and Google’s native Cloud Bigtable Database are all available from Google.
  • GKE stands for Google Kubernetes Engine, which is a management and orchestration system for Docker containers and clusters running on Google’s public cloud services. Kubernetes, Google’s open source container management system, is the foundation for Google Kubernetes Engine.
  • The Google Cloud Operations Suite, formerly known as Stackdriver, is a collection of integrated tools for monitoring, logging, and reporting on the managed services that power Google Cloud applications and systems.
  • Cloud Functions for creating functions that handle cloud events, Cloud Run for managing and running containerized applications, and Workflows for orchestrating serverless products and APIs are examples of serverless computing tools and services.

Despite being a late entrant in the cloud computing domain, GCP has risen to deliver the best performance compared to many other leading platforms. However, GCP today stands as one of the best cloud computing platforms in the market.

Google Cloud Platform, also known as GCP, is a suite of cloud computing services provided by Google. This platform runs on the same infrastructure which Google uses for its internal end-user products, including Google search, Youtube, and Gmail.

Google Cloud is a provider of computing resources for developing, deploying, and operating applications on the Web. Although its cloud infrastructure does serve as the host for applications such as Google Workplace (formerly G Suite, and before that Google Apps), GCP is mainly a service for building and maintaining original applications, which may then be published via the Web from its hyper-scale data center facilities. Since Google Cloud has a great infrastructure to host website hosting WordPress Website on it provides utmost exposure to it.

The services provided by GCP are well-suited to the requirements of modern application development users. Moreover, GCP provides some unique offerings in domains such as Big Data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

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Key Features of Google Cloud

  • Computing and Hosting: It allows you to work in a server-less environment, use a managed application platform, leverage container technology, and build your own cloud-based infrastructure.
  • Storage Services: It offers consistent, scalable, and secure data storage in Cloud Storage. You will have a fully managed NFS file server in Filestore. You can use Filestore data from applications that run on Compute engine VM instances or GKE clusters.
  • Database Services: Google Cloud Platform offers a variety of SQL and NoSQL Database services. You can use Cloud SQL, which can be either MySQL or PostgreSQL. For NoSQL, you can use Firestore or Cloud Bigtable. 
  • Networking Services: While your App Engine manages networking for you, GKE uses the Kubernetes model to provide a set of network services to you. All these services can load balance traffic across resources, create DNS records and connect your existing network to your Google network.  
  • Big Data Services: This service will help you to process and query the big data in your cloud to get fast and quick answers. With the help of BigQuery, data analysis becomes a cakewalk for you.
  • Machine Learning Services: The AI platform will provide you with a variety of machine learning services. To access pre-trained models optimized for a specific application, you can use APIs. You can also build and train your own large-scale models.  

Google Cloud offers these services at a reasonable price as it follows the pay-as-you-go policy. Know more about the pricing here.

Learn more about Google Cloud

Key Benefits of Google Cloud

Below are some of the benefits of the Google Cloud:

  • You can create and manage SQL instances in the Google Cloud Platform.
  • Google Cloud MySQL automates Data Replication between multiple zones with automatic failover. This means the Database instance will automatically failover to another zone in case of an outage.
  • It allows you to import and export Databases using mysqldump. In addition to that, you can also import and export CSV files.
  • You also get support for MySQL Wire Protocol and standard MySQL Connectors.
  • Google Cloud MySQL connection supports automated and on-demand backups.
  • You can continuously monitor your Data Pipelines in real-time

Getting Started with the Google Cloud Platform

  • Step 2: If you have not already signed in with your Google account, ‘Sign in’ through your Google Mail Id and password. Else, go to Step 3.
  • Step 3: Signing in to the Google account will redirect you to the page shown below.

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What is Google Cloud SQL?

The Google Cloud Platform has its very own cloud-based SQL Database engine. The Google Cloud SQL is a fully-managed SQL Database service that handles time-consuming and mundane yet important tasks. These tasks include applying patches and updates, configuring replication, and managing backup. 

Cloud SQL supports open sources of Relational Database services such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. It enables users to set up, maintain and manage these Relational Databases on the Google Cloud Platform. Cloud SQL helps in reducing the maintenance cost and automates Database provisioning and storage capacity management. 

SQL’s High Availability Technologies

Failover Clustering 

Failover clustering provides protections from both planned and unplanned downtime. Whenever the node fails, it involves automatic failover, and the cluster switches to the backup node. In many cases, the failover process can be completed in less than 30 seconds. After a failover, the users can immediately reconnect to the cluster with no network changes. Moreover, there is no data loss. By utilizing SQL, all the transactions are saved to the Database after the failover is completed.

Database Mirroring

Database Mirroring provides Database-level protection from unplanned downtime. This feature protects against Database failure by providing rapid Database failover. Whenever a primary Database fails, the mirror enables a standby to be available in about 2 to 3 seconds. It provides zero data loss, and the mirrored Database will always be up to date with the current transaction.

Log Shipping 

The log shipping feature is a High Availability and disaster recovery solution used to protect against unplanned downtime. Similar to Database mirroring, log shipping also works by restoring a full backup of the primary Database to a backup server. The backups are treated equally in the transaction log and sent from the primary Database to the applied Database on the backup server.

Peer-to-Peer replication 

Peer-to-peer replication is one of the data replication techniques used to protect applications against unplanned downtime. This technique was designed for bidirectional replication and High Availability scenarios. 

Data Snapshot

Database snapshot snapshots are essentially a snapshot or backup of a Database at a specific point in time. It is a technique that enables the application to recover more quickly from unplanned downtime. This feature allows the users to quickly restore the Database at any point. 

Backup and Restore

The backup and recovery plan is an essential component of High Availability. The SQL Database backup can be performed to disk because a disk-based backup is the fastest mechanism for backing up and restoring data. Utilizing the SQL, backup, and restore process allows the entire Database to be recovered at any given point in time. 

Understanding Google Cloud SQL High Availability

The following concepts help you understand Google Cloud SQL High Availability:

Google Cloud SQL High Availability refers to achieving an established application availability and performance level by limiting the downtime caused by application failure. While building a dynamic, highly scalable application with Google Cloud SQL High Availability, failures are bound to happen. These failures might occur in unexpected ways that might stop the application’s working.

The primary purpose of configuring Google Cloud SQL High Availability is to reduce downtime. This might happen for any underlying reasons, such as when a zone or instance becomes unavailable or if the instance is corrupted. With Google Cloud SQL High Availability, the client applications can efficiently access the data without worrying about any obstacles.

The Cloud SQL specifically recommends enabling the Cloud SQL High Availability option when the applications need to be highly available to the users, such as working on a banking application. On enabling the Cloud SQL High Availability feature, the Database instance will automatically failover to another zone in the selected region in case of an outage. Users can also create cross-regional replicas to protect from regional failures or actual disasters. 

Google Cloud SQL High Availability: Cluster and Failover

The Cloud SQL High Availability configuration, also known as a cluster, provides data redundancy. The configured instance for Cloud SQL High Availability is known as a regional instance. The regional instance is located within the configured region’s primary and secondary zone.

A regional instance includes a primary instance and a standby instance. In both the zones, all writes to the primary instance are replicated through synchronous replication to the persistent disks before the transaction is committed. In case of a zone failure, the standby instance is now the new primary instance, and users are rerouted to the new primary instance. This process is called a failover. 

Google Cloud SQL High Availability: Failback

After a failure or if the zone experiences an outage, the original primary instance is destroyed. The instance that had received the failover is the primary instance. And, right after the zone or instances become available again, the primary instance is now the new standby instance. This loop continues for every failover that occurs in the future. If users require the primary instance in the zone that experienced the outage, they can conduct a failback. A failback reroutes the traffic back to the original instance. 

Google Cloud SQL High Availability: Read Replicas and Failover Overview

When there is a zonal outage, the traffic to read replicas stops. As soon as the zone becomes available, read replicas resume from the primary instance. If in case read replicas are in a non-outage zone, they are connected to the standby instances. The best way to mitigate such an issue is to put read replicas in a zone other than the primary and standby instances. If in case, the configured HA instance becomes unresponsive, the Cloud SQL automatically switches to serving data from the standby instance.

Google Cloud SQL High Availability: Components

  • Downtime is the time during which the application or systems in unavailable or not operational.
  • Regional persistent disk support for Cloud SQL High Availability configuration consists of full SLA (Service Level Agreement) coverage. 
  • SLA is an agreement between a service provider and a customer that addresses all required services and the expected level of service.
  • Read replicas are a copy of the primary instance that changes to primary in normal circumstances.


Cloud applications demand complete availability 24/7 every year. Achieving High Availability is the need of the hour. However, building a Cloud SQL High Availability application can be a daunting task. There are several levels of availability with their own set of costs.

The higher the level of availability, the higher the cost of development. Although deciding the proper tool is important in attaining High Availability. One such popular tool to attain High Availability is the Google Cloud SQL. This article talks about the Google Cloud SQL High Availability. In addition to that it gives a brief introduction on Google Cloud Platform.

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Share your experience of working with Google Cloud MySQL in the comments section below.

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