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SERVER MEMORY REQUIREMENTS

How can you tell when a server requires more memory? Quite often, the users of the network are good indicators. If network-related activity such as email, shared applications, or printing slows down, they'll probably let their Network Administrator know. Here are a few proactive strategies that can be used to gauge whether or not a server has sufficient memory:

Monitor server disk activity. If disk swapping is detected, it is usually a result of inadequate memory.

Most servers have a utility that monitors CPU, memory, and disk utilization

. Review his at peak usage times to measure the highest spikes in demand.

Once it's determined that a server does need more memory, there are many factors to consider when deciding on how much is enough:

What functions does the server perform (application, communication, remote access, email, Web, file, multimedia, print, database)?

    Some servers hold a large amount of information in memory at once, while others process information sequentially. For example, a typical large database server does a lot of data processing; with more memory, such a server would likely run much faster because more of the records it needs for searches and queries could be held in memory - that is, "at the ready." On the other hand, compared to a database server, a typical file server can perform efficiently with less memory because its primary job is simply to transfer information rather than to process it.

What operating system does the server use?

    Each server operating system manages memory differently. For example, a network operating system (NOS) such as the Novell operating system handles information much differently than an application-oriented system such as Windows NT. Windows NT's richer interface requires more memory, while the traditional Novell functions of file and print serving require less memory.

How many users access the server at one time?

    Most servers are designed and configured to support a certain number of users at one time. Recent tests show that this number is directly proportional to the amount of memory in the server. As soon as the number of users exceeds maximum capacity, the server resorts to using hard disk space as virtual memory, and performance drops sharply. In recent studies with Windows NT, additional memory allowed an application server to increase by several times the number of users supported while maintaining the same level of performance.

What kind and how many processors are installed on the server?

    Memory and processors affect server performance differently, but they work hand in hand. Adding memory allows more information to be handled at one time, while adding processors allows the information to be processed faster. So, if you add processing power to a system, additional memory will enable the processors to perform at their full potential.

How critical is the server's response time?

    In some servers, such as Web or e-commerce servers, response time directly affects the customer experience and hence revenue. In these cases, some IT Managers choose to install more memory than they think they would ever need in order to accommodate surprise surges in use. Because server configurations involve so many variables, it's difficult to make precise recommendations with regard to memory. The following chart shows two server upgrade scenarios.

SERVER MEMORY MAP

WINDOWS® 2000 SERVER
Designed to help businesses of all sizes run better, Windows 2000 Server offers a manageable, reliable and internet-ready solution for today's growing enterprises. For optimal performance, consider adding more memory to take advantage of Windows 2000 Server's robust feature set. Windows 2000 Server is internet-ready and promises to run today's and tomorrow's applications better.

Baseline: 128MB
Optimal: 256MB - 1GB


Application Server Houses one or more applications to be accessed over a wide user base 256MB - 4GB
Directory Server Central Management of network resources 128MB - 1GB
Print Server Distributes print jobs to appropriate printers 128MB - 512MB
Communication Server Manages a variety of communications such as PBX, Voicemail, Email, and VPN 512MB - 2GB
Web Server Internet and intranet solutions 512MB - 2GB
Database Server Manages simple to complex databases of varying sizes 256MB - 4GB


LINUX®
Linux is a reliable, cost-effective alternative to traditional UNIX servers. Depending on the distribution, the Linux server platform features a variety of utilities, applications, and services.

Baseline: 64MB - 128MB
Optimal: 256MB - 1GB


Application Server Houses one or more applications to be accessed over a wide user base 64MB - 4GB
Directory Server Central Management of network resources 128MB - 1GB
Print Server Distributes print jobs to appropriate printers 128MB - 512MB
Communication Server Manages a variety of communications such as PBX, Voicemail, Email, and VPN 512MB - 2GB
Web Server Internet and intranet solutions 512MB - 2GB
Database Server Manages simple to complex databases of varying sizes 256MB - 4GB


* Please Note: These figures reflect work done in a typical server environment. Higher-end workstation tasks may require up to 4GB. Naturally, a chart such as this evolves as memory needs and trends change. Over time, developers of software and operating systems will continue to add features and functionality to their products. This will continue to drive the demand for more memory. More complex character sets, like Kanji, may require more memory than the standard Roman based (English) character sets.
 
 


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