How many RAM for each user in Terminal Server

Posted on 2006-03-29
Last Modified: 2010-04-18

I have to install a Terminal server server (citrix is excluded for political reasons).
The users are connected from every parts of the world.
I want to buy a server but I don't know the amount of RAM used by user for each connexion.

Some users, have to control the system (administrative rights) ;
Some users, have to use an application (Navision - application + database in the server);
Some users, have just to see datas;

In total, there is about 30 users connected in the same time.

My question is : How many RAM can I have in my server ?

I have selected this server : It's a good choice ?
HP DL380 1proc 3.8 GHz
Network 100/1000

Question by:abissa
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    The amount of RAM used by each connection is typically about 20MB, plus whatever is required by the apps that the users run.

    Only 4GB of RAM will be useable if you use 32 bit Windows Server 2003. If you use 64 bit Windows Server 2003 though, all 6GB will be useable - just make sure that your applications will run in 64 bit Windows.

    Whether or not the hardware specs will meet your needs is dependent on many things, including:

    The applications that are run, and their CPU, RAM and I/O requirements.
    The number of instances of each application.
    How heavily each application is used.
    The users expectations.

    Generally speaking, I spec Terminal Servers with 2 CPU's (or at least one dual-core CPU), so that when one process is busy there's still CPU capacity for other processes, which results in a better user experience.

    2HDD in RAID 1 will be fine, as long as the apps don't require lots of disk I/O, such as creating & accessing Temp files.
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    Ok, thanks.

    I have to see if Navision will run with on a windows 64 bits version.
    If not, I buy 4GB byte of RAM else 6GB ...

    The application (NAVISION) doesn't require some ressources but the vendor say me : Every 10 users you have to buy another server ... THEY ARE CRAZY !!! lol
    it's just for business ...

    This application is used permanently with 10 users and for the other 15 users, they connect on demand (3-4 times / day - max 15min each session).

    I have to see with Navision people and check some specs.
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    I've installed Terminal Servers for 20 users with just 1 GB of RAM, and they're running fine. But these users just run Office+Excel and print a few documents.

    Navision is a completely different matter, and will probably use about 50-60 MB per user (or more) to run smoothly. If you really need more than 4 GB or RAM (which I doubt), then depending on the hardware configuration, you could go with either Enterprise edition of Windows, or install 2 Terminal Servers. There are certainly applications that will just not run on 64-bit editions of Windows. The only way to know for sure is to test applications on x64, or get recommendations from all software vendors.

    Look at it another way; 4 GB with 30 users, minus OS overhead, leaves you average ~120 MB per user. That should be enough for most office environments.

    I agree with Darwinian on the multi-cpu issue. The DL380 has a Xeon HT processor, so that's OK. There are several possibilities to beef up Terminal Servers:

    - RAID 10 disk array (faster than mirroring because of the striping element). The DL380 can house 6 drives. It *could* be (but that's not a rule of thumb) you're better of with extra drive performance and a little less RAM.
    - Store user profiles separately (on another logical drive) from the OS and program files.
    - Multiprocessor, or at least dual-core.
    - Windows 2003 Enterprise edition supports more than 4 GB RAM (and can also use it effectively, with some Session Manager tweaking)
    - Terminal Server load-balancing through TS Session Directory (spread users over several servers).

    Removing all bells and whistles from the server (all kinds of startup-applications and some unneeded services) helps alot, too. A well-configured server makes for a happy customer.
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    Thanks a lot for your help.
    With your informations, I can select the best server for this project.

    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for your response, too, and happy Terminal Serving!

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