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Servers 101: How Much RAM Do You Need

May 1, 2019

Jun 19, 2019 11:31:26 PM

So, you’ve decided to purchase what will be your company’s dedicated server. That’s great! Your company intranet or website will undoubtedly be forever grateful for your decision to invest in its future. As you choose your new server’s specifications, you breeze through the CPU options, hard drive choices, and RAID configuration... and then it’s time to make your server RAM selection.

As you pour over the multiple RAM options available, you ask yourself, “how much RAM do I really need, anyway?”

Let’s start at the beginning:

What is Server RAM?

RAM (random access memory) is an essential component of any hardware that’s designed to perform computing tasks. RAM allows space for your computer or server to write and read information to be accessed by the CPU. When folks talk about a computer’s server memory, they’re most likely referring to its RAM.

Why is More RAM Better?

The more RAM a computer has, the less the CPU must read data from the hard disk. The benefit in this is a computer that runs more quickly since RAM is much faster than a hard disk.

Let’s get back to the original question: So how much RAM does your dedicated server need?

Although there’s no formula to find out the exact amount of RAM you’ll need, by knowing what the server will be used for, how much traffic you assume it will take on, and what applications it will be running, we can make a pretty good assumption of how much server RAM you will require.

How Much RAM Is Right For You?

The fine folks over at JetGlobal wrote a great article on figuring out how much server RAM you’ll need. They note there is a difference in the minimum requirements to suggested requirements and the importance of looking at your software stack all together to determine the correct RAM for your operation.

They list 6 things to consider when deciding how much RAM your server will need to perform to its maximum potential:

  • Number of Users: If you have over 15 concurrent users, consider adding 1-2 GB of RAM to every 5 additional users.
  • Size of Database(s): The most important consideration due to its direct impact on processing needed to populate a data warehouse, if the database is 50 GB or under then 16 GB of RAM is sufficient.
  • Execution Packages: The more RAM your server is equipped with, the faster it will complete execution packages.
  • Rate of Growth: Ensure to account for the rate your database is growing per year, and take that into account when choosing RAM.
  • OS Requirements: You reserve 1 GB RAM for the OS, plus an additional 1 GB for every 4 GB between 4-16 and another 1 GB for each 8 GB above 16 GB. For example, a server with 32 GB RAM uses 7 GB for the OS and the remaining 25 GB for the SQL Server.
  • Dedicated VS Shared: When determining RAM make sure you account for any additional software operating on your server.

Deciding how much RAM you need depends primarily on your company’s unique needs and intended usage. If someone has a database in the 100 GB range, it’s recommended to have anywhere from 16-64 RAM. Of course, there is no such thing as “too much RAM”, but for companies working on a budget, shelling out for maximum RAM may not be an option.

Keep in mind that since all of ServerMonkey.com's servers are fully customizable, you have the freedom to choose exactly how much RAM will go into your server. Example: Dell PowerEdge R740 8-Port.

And as always, if you need help deciding how much RAM your server needs, feel free to contact our IT experts to discuss your options. It’s our goal to make your next server-buying experience a pleasant one.