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Cloud Spanner R2DBC Driver

This project contains:

Setup Instructions

The sections below describe how to setup and begin using the Cloud Spanner R2DBC driver.

An overview of the setup is as follows:

  1. Add the Cloud Spanner R2DBC driver dependency to your build configuration.
  2. Configure the driver credentials/authentication for your Google Cloud Platform project to access Cloud Spanner.
  3. Instantiate the R2DBC ConnectionFactory in Java code to build Connections and run queries.

Details about each step is provided below.

Project Dependency Setup

The easiest way to start using the driver is to add the driver dependency through Maven or Gradle.

Maven Coordinates


Gradle Coordinates

dependencies {
  compile group: '', name: 'cloud-spanner-r2dbc', version: '1.2.0'


After setting up the dependency and authentication, you can begin directly using the driver.

The rest of this documentation will show examples of directly using the driver. In a real application, you should use one of R2DBC's user-friendly client APIs instead.

To start using Cloud Spanner R2DBC driver, configure the R2DBC connection factory either programmatically, as shown below, or with a URL.

import static;
import static;

ConnectionFactory connectionFactory =
        .option(DRIVER, "cloudspanner")
        .option(PROJECT, "your-gcp-project-id")
        .option(INSTANCE, "your-spanner-instance")
        .option(DATABASE, "your-database-name")
// The R2DBC connection may now be created.
Publisher<? extends Connection> connectionPublisher = connectionFactory.create();

Connection URLs

You may specify the coordinates of your Cloud Spanner database using the ConnectionFactories.get(String) SPI method instead of specifying the project, instance, and database properties individually.

A Cloud Spanner R2DBC URL is constructed in the following format:

  • ${PROJECT_NAME}: Replace with the name of your Google Cloud Platform Project ID.
  • ${INSTANCE_NAME}: Replace with the name of your Spanner Instance.
  • ${DB_NAME}: Replace with the name of your Spanner database.

Cleaning Up

Client library-based ConnectionFactory must be closed as part of application shutdown process to ensure all server-side Cloud Spanner sessions are cleaned up.

Mono.from(((Closeable) connectionFactory).close()).subscribe();


The driver allows the following options for authentication:

  • a String property credentials containing the local file location of the JSON credentials file.

  • a String OAuth token provided as oauthToken.

  • a Credentials object provided as google_credentials. This will only work with programmatically constructed ConnectionFactoryOptions. Example:

    import static;
    String pathToCredentialsKeyFile = ...;
    GoogleCredentials creds = GoogleCredentials.fromStream(new FileInputStream(credentialsLocation));
    ConnectionFactoryOptions options =
            .option(GOOGLE_CREDENTIALS, creds)
            .option(..) // Other options here

In the absence of explicit authentication options, Application Default Credentials will be automatically inferred from the environment in which the application is running, unless the connection is in plain-text, indicating the use of Cloud Spanner emulator. For more information, see the Google Cloud Platform Authentication documentation

Using Google Cloud SDK

Google Cloud SDK is a command line interface for Google Cloud Platform products and services. This is a convenient way of setting up authentication during local development.

If you are using the SDK, the driver can automatically infer your account credentials from your SDK configuration.


  1. Install the Google Cloud SDK for command line and follow the Cloud SDK quickstart for your operating system.

  2. Once setup, run gcloud auth application-default login and login with your Google account credentials.

After completing the SDK configuration, the Cloud Spanner R2DBC driver will automatically pick up your credentials.

Using a Service Account

A Google Service Account is a special type of Google Account intended to represent a non-human user that needs to authenticate and be authorized to access your Google Cloud resources. Each service account has an account key JSON file that you can use to provide credentials to your application.

You can learn how to create a service account and authenticate your application by following these instructions.

Supported connection options

All connection options of primitive and String type can be passed through the connection URL in the ?key1=value1&key2=value2 format. Object-typed options can only be passed in programmatically.

Property name Type Allowed in URL connection Default Comments
credentials String Yes null The location of the credentials file to use for this connection
oauthToken String Yes null A valid pre-existing OAuth token to use for authentication
google_credentials No null A pre-authenticated authentication object that can only be supplied with programmatic connection options
usePlainText boolean Yes false Turns off SSL and credentials use (only valid when using Cloud Spanner emulator)
optimizerVersion String Yes null Determines version of Cloud Spanner[optimizer] to use in queries
autocommit boolean Yes true Whether new connections are created in autocommit mode
readonly boolean Yes false Whether new connections start with a read-only transaction

Mapping of Data Types

Cloud Spanner R2DBC Driver supports the following types:

Spanner Type Java type
BOOL java.lang.Boolean
BYTES java.nio.ByteBuffer
FLOAT64 java.lang.Double
INT64 java.lang.Long
INT64 java.lang.Integer
STRING java.lang.String
ARRAY Arrays or Iterable collections with hint. ARRAY<JSON> is not supported.

Null values mapping is supported in both directions. See Cloud Spanner documentation to learn more about Spanner types.


TIMESTAMP and DATE Spanner column types are supported via and classes.

Custom converters need to be implemented and registered if you want to use other Time/Date classes. For examples, please refer to the following integration test:

JSON Mapping

JSON Spanner type is supported through JsonWrapper.class. This is a wrapper class around String representation of the Json value. Below are the basic usages wrapping and un-wrapping string:

  // Create jsonWrapper object from String
  JsonWrapper jsonWrapper = JsonWrapper.of(jsonString);
  JsonWrapper jsonWrapper = new JsonWrapper(jsonString);

  // Get underlying string from jsonWrapper object
  String jsonString = jsonWrapper.toString();

If using Spring Data, default converters to/from Map are ready to use out-of-box for key or value type of String, Boolean and Double. Custom converters can be used to allow Json conversion directly to/from collections or user-defined types. Examples of using Map and custom class Review for Json field are provided in the Spring Data sample application

Array Mapping

Cloud Spanner arrays can be mapped to/from either primitive Java arrays or Iterable collections of wrapper types. For example, a column of type ARRAY<INT64> can be represented as long[] or List<Long>.

However, binding Iterable parameters requires a SpannerType hint for the specific to use.

  List value = ...;
  SpannerType typeHint = SpannerType.of( Type.array(Type.string()) );
  statement.bind("columnName",, value));

This is not a concern when using Spring Data, as collections will automatically be converted to typed arrays by the framework.

NOTE: Using long and double arrays is more efficient than using int and float, as the latter need to get converted for every element.


The R2DBC Cloud Spanner Connection object is a lightweight wrapper around the shared Cloud Spanner client library object combined with transaction state.

The client library takes care of reconnecting lapsed Cloud Spanner sessions.

If you'd like to ensure the current connection stays connected, you may keep a connection active by calling validate(ValidationDepth.REMOTE) on the Connection object and subscribing to the returned Publisher. Remote validation performs an inexpensive SQL query SELECT 1 against the database.


In Cloud Spanner, a transaction represents a set of read and write statements that execute atomically at a single logical point in time across columns, rows, and tables in a database.

Note: Transactional save points are unsupported in Cloud Spanner and are unimplemented by this R2DBC driver.

Transaction Types

Spanner offers three transaction types in which to execute SQL statements:

  • Read-Write: Supports reading and writing data into Cloud Spanner. When you begin a transaction in the Connection object using connection.beginTransaction(), a read-write transaction is started by default, unless the connection was created or altered to run in read-only mode.

                .flatMapMany(c -> Flux.concat(
  • Read-Only: Provides guaranteed consistency across multiple reads but does not allow writing data. Read-only transactions, including stale transactions, can be used by downcasting the Connection object to and calling beginReadonlyTransaction() on it. Invoking beginReadonlyTransaction() without parameters will begin a new strongly consistent readonly transaction, as does creating a new connection from a ConnectionFactory in read-only mode (readonly=true).

    To customize staleness, pass in a TimestampBound parameter. See the TransactionOptions documentation for more information about all of the transaction type settings that are available.

                .flatMapMany(c ->
                              ((SpannerConnection) conn).beginReadonlyTransaction(TimestampBound.ofExactStaleness(1, TimeUnit.SECONDS)),

    NOTE: Readonly transactions must be closed by calling commit() before starting a new read-write or a read-only transaction.

  • Partitioned DML: A transaction designed for bulk updates and deletes with certain restrictions. See the Partitioned DML documentation for more information. This driver does not support Partitioned DML transactions at the time.

Nesting transactions

Cloud Spanner does not support nested transactions, so each transaction must be either committed or rolled back. For readonly transactions, either committing or rolling back will result in closing of the readonly transaction.

Autocommit Mode

The Spanner R2DBC driver can be used in autocommit mode in which statements are executed independently outside of a transaction.

You may immediately call connection.createStatement(sql) and begin executing SQL statements. Each statement will be executed as an independent unit of work.

  • DML statements are executed in a stand-alone read-write transaction.
  • Read queries are executed in a strongly consistent, read-only temporary transaction.


R2DBC statement objects are used to run statements on your Cloud Spanner database. The table below describes whether parameter bindings are available for each statement type.

Statement Type Allows Parameter Bindings
SELECT Queries Yes
DML Statements Yes
DDL Statements No

Binding Query Parameters

Cloud Spanner R2DBC statements support named parameter binding using Cloud Spanner's parameter syntax. Parameter bindings by numeric indices are not supported.

SQL and DML statements can be constructed with parameters:

  "INSERT BOOKS (ID, TITLE) VALUES (@id, @title)")
    .bind("id", "book-id-1")
    .bind("title", "Book One")
    .bind("id", "book-id-2")
    .bind("title", "Book Two")
    .flatMap(r -> r.getRowsUpdated());

The parameter identifiers must be String.

The example above binds two sets of parameters to a single DML template. It will produce a Publisher (implemented by a Flux) containing two SpannerResult objects for the two instances of the statement that are executed.

Note that calling execute produces R2DBC Result objects, but this doesn't cause the query to be run on the database. You must use the map or getRowsUpdated methods of the results to complete the underlying queries.


Backpressure on SQL SELECT queries is supported out of the box. Take care to always ultimately exhaust or cancel the query result Publisher, since not doing so may lead to objects not being deallocated properly.

Exception Handling

The Cloud Spanner R2DBC propagates all exceptions down to the user. All exceptions thrown are wrapped by and propagated through two exception classes:

  • R2dbcTransientException: Errors caused by network problems or causes outside of the user's control. The operations that fail due to these errors can be retried.

  • R2dbcNonTransientException: Errors caused by invalid operations or user error. These include SQL syntax errors, invalid requests, performing invalid operations on the Spanner driver, etc. These errors should not be retried.

The user may leverage reactive methods to retry operations which throw R2dbcTransientException.

Example using Project Reactor's Retry utilities:

// This describes a retry strategy which only attempts a retry if the exception class
// matches R2dbcTransientException.class
Retry retry =
        .randomBackoff(Duration.ofMillis(100), Duration.ofSeconds(60))

    .createStatement("Select * from table")
    .retryWhen(retry); // This retries the subscription using the retry strategy.


A batch contains multiple statements that are executed in one remote call for performance reasons. Only DML statements are supported.

The call to execute() produces a publisher that will publish results. The statements are executed in sequential order. For every successfully executed statement, there will be a result that contains a number of updated rows.

    .add("INSERT INTO books VALUES('Mark Twain', 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'")
    .add("INSERT INTO books VALUES('Mark Twain', 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'")
    .flatMap(r -> r.getRowsUpdated());

Using Connection Pool

Client Spanner client library maintains its own low-level connection pool, making use of r2dbc pool unnecessary. When R2DBC connections are closed, the underlying Client Spanner connection is reused internally.