SharePoint Infrastructure Memory, “What you say!?”

As you probably guessed from the title, I deal in Microsoft daily. Most of my time the past few years has been spent on SharePoint, specifically on the infrastructure (Design, Maintenance, Upgrade and Migration) of SharePoint. A common theme with clients when I hand them a document explaining it all. They read, look up at me, ask “why should this server be configured with 28GB of memory?”. Answering this question isn’t exactly as simple as saying “Just because”. So I thought, let’s really get down to it.

I am going to focus specifically on application servers, and what I mean by this is Search and Service Applications specific machines. Most of you reading this won’t be building 20 server farms, in most cases it will consist of 6 machines listed as so;

2 Web Front End
2 Application/ PowerPivot
2 SQL Servers (in some kind of cluster)

In thinking about application servers, they can mean many different things. The gist of it is, they become the machine that everything is installed on, except web front end services, no matter how many policies you put in place. In the best case, at the beginning of a project it’s a clean machine with all the bells and whistles which include the full Service Application load, Business Intelligence Features, Central Admin and Search. Whew, that’s a lot on one machine.

Let’s get down to the details, let’s assume the following.

– Your deploying Windows Server 2012 R2
– Your installing ALL the service applications
– Your configuring performance enhancements for search
– Business Intelligence Features (Excel, Visio, etc.)

And then the details;

– 16GB Recommended Memory for Windows Server 2012 R2
– 12GB Recommended Memory for SharePoint 2013, Web Server or Application Server (Included in above)
– 2-6GB Search Performance Enhancements
– 2-6GB BI Enhancements
– 2GB for each additional application, examples would be Office, Monitoring, Management, etc.

Total = 22-30GB

So when I say, 28GB, it’s a high middle of the road configuration that many are happy with, i.e. performance wise. I see a lot of deployments within the 12-18GB range. While this will “get you by” the overall performance of the machine isn’t what I would want out of a deployment like this. Your spending the money, back it up with the hardware.

I could go into more details, but this is already boring enough 🙂

Of course you can move these service to other machines and create a more granular farm, though the licensing costs of these machines can get hefty adding a 5th+ server plus add management costs, yes, support people cost money!

In the end, I like to see the following when it comes to Memory in farm servers;

WFE – 14GB Memory
APP – 28GB Memory

And with any case, any deployment is different. It’s important to analyze what you have before you go out and buy a new farm. You may not need this, you may start out small (minimums) and add as needed, there are many different scenarios, too many to fit into this post.

Many of you may get to this post via archival, “why did we do that” type questions, I applaud your research abilities and due diligence. For those who are FINALLY venturing into the Business Intelligence stack inside SharePoint, double goody goody. There are a lot of good features and integration points, especially if you venture down the Kerberos road. On either point, kudos to you.

As with anything, research and do your due diligence before you go and order that new virtual host.

-Colin

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