How Much Memory Does a Database/File/Print/Terminal/Web Server Need?

Here are some very simple guidelines that help determine how much memory a particular server actually needs in order to perform well. Of course, these are just rules of thumb, but nevertheless they might come in handy.

  • Database servers (also domain controllers): The database should fit into physical RAM with some to spare.
  • File servers: The more, the better. Add RAM until response times under heavy load are a little faster than strictly required.
  • Print servers: Not much RAM is needed. 4 GB should be more than enough for typical systems.
  • Terminal servers (with or without Citrix): Add RAM until you cannot increase the user density any more without affecting responsiveness.
  • Web servers: All frequently accessed content should fit into physical RAM with some to spare.

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