Cardinal Health goes big with Google Cloud Bare Metal Solution for SAP
Director, SAP Solution Engineering, Google Cloud
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Over the past few years, Google Cloud has become the platform of choice for a growing number of SAP enterprise customers. That's especially true for companies looking to migrate large and challenging SAP workloads, including those moving to S/4HANA systems as part of a cloud modernization strategy.
Google Cloud's Bare Metal Solution (BMS) for SAP systems plays an important role in our success with these customers. Our BMS offerings are dedicated, single-tenant systems that combine uncompromising performance with the advantages of fully managed cloud infrastructure solutions. With SAP-certified BMS offerings available in North America and Europe, we're offering SAP customers a set of high-end infrastructure capabilities.
Cardinal Health: Building for the future
Cardinal Health, Inc. is a distributor of pharmaceuticals, a global manufacturer and distributor of medical and laboratory products, and a provider of performance and data solutions for healthcare facilities. With operations in more than 30 countries and approximately 46,500 employees, Cardinal Health is a crucial link between the clinical and operational sides of healthcare. The company serves 90% of U.S. hospitals, more than 60,000 U.S. pharmacies and more than 10,000 specialty physician offices and clinics.
Over the past several years, a series of acquisitions drove a major expansion of Cardinal Health's business. These acquisitions also created an increasingly complex and unwieldy IT environment that included a variety of ERP systems and dozens of other legacy applications, in addition to multiple ERP instances.
Cardinal Health's technology modernization strategy will migrate its business away from these legacy systems to a single, modern digital platform. This includes leveraging the Google Cloud Large Memory Bare Metal Solution to modernize and consolidate its SAP application architecture within its Pharma segment with a single, massively scalable SAP S/4HANA system and BigQuery to unify SAP data with a fully managed enterprise data warehouse.
Scaling up to support SAP consolidation goals
Cardinal Health's SAP modernization effort presented significant challenges. The migration process had to take place within a very narrow window and at 100% accuracy to avoid significant financial and operational impacts. Additionally, Cardinal Health's strategy of consolidating its pharma business onto a single SAP HANA scale-up instance, with no performance or capacity issues, would require Google Cloud to scale its SAP-certified server systems beyond their previous 12TB upper limit.
Google Cloud raised the bar with its SAP-certified Bare Metal Solution server options—one that supports up to 672 vCPUs and 18TB of memory, and another with up to 896 vCPUs and 24TB of memory. Additionally, customers have multiple storage options, offering up to a maximum of 96TB and 400,000 IOPS per system. Both offerings, along with a high-performance storage SKU, are certified for SAP HANA online transaction processing (OLTP) and meet SAP standard sizing requirements.
Our work with Cardinal Health involved some of the first production deployments of Google Cloud Large Memory Bare Metal Solution 24TB VMs to run the company's SAP HANA in-memory database. Cardinal Health got what it needed: modern, fully managed, and SAP-certified cloud infrastructure that can support a single, consolidated scale-up SAP HANA instance for the company's pharma operations. Google Cloud BMS also ensures that Cardinal Health's SAP environment can scale effortlessly to support its goals, including plans to transform and migrate 200+ million business records onto its HANA system.
In addition, Cardinal Health leveraged Google Cloud's ability to run SAP application servers on virtualized systems alongside its SAP HANA instance running on a 24TB BMS server. This hybrid approach to SAP cloud infrastructure offered significant advantages in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
On top of these quantitative improvements, Google Cloud delivered the SAP migration for Cardinal Health in a single weekend—without user impacts or business disruptions.
An even bigger future for bare metal on Google Cloud
Based on raw performance, the Google Cloud server offerings define the cutting edge for our SAP customers. In fact, SAP's certification of our 24TB Bare Metal Solution configuration earned us a world-record SAP HANA benchmark for Intel-based servers of 892,270 SAPS. And customers that combine our BMS server and high-performance storage offerings can expect to reload even the biggest SAP HANA datasets, following a full system restart, in as little as 30 minutes—a fraction of the time required in the past for an SAP HANA "rehydration" procedure.
More SAP customers are facing the same challenges that drove Cardinal Health to embark upon its modernization efforts: rapid business growth, pressure to consolidate sprawling and often chaotic SAP environments, and SAP HANA systems that now routinely require multi-TB memory capacities to run efficiently. For Google Cloud Bare Metal Solution customers, these industry-leading benchmarks translate directly into success with real-world SAP cloud modernization and growth initiatives.
It probably won't take long for today's boundary-pushing 24TB Bare Metal Solution systems to become tomorrow's mainstream SAP HANA infrastructure. What we know for sure is that Google Cloud will be ready with cutting-edge solutions for our biggest and most demanding SAP customers.