Virtual Memory allocation on a Windows 2008 R2 Operating System ?

Posted on 2011-10-04
Last Modified: 2012-05-12

 We have a Windows 2008 R2 (64-bit) Standard Edition server with the following
  hardware specs:

 - 32GB RAM
 -  3 x 146GB SAS drives on RAID 5  = total space usuable 270GB+
 - only one Partition C:\ drive with 270GB
 - Page File initial size 49GB .   Maximum size 65GB


1) Is it good to allocate double the RAM size for paging ?

2) Is it good to allocate paging file in the same drive where OS is installed ? or get
     a new drive and leave that drive just for paging ?

3) How does big corporate servers where they have 100GB+ RAM allocate page file,
     do they allocate double the size of the RAM for paging ?

Question by:OCUBE
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    For the first 2 questions, the answer is yes. For question nr2, I recommend to use the pagefile on the same drive as the operating system.

    For question number 3 I can't answer that.
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution

    1. Microsoft recommends 1.5 times the size of physical memory. More is not a problem.

    2. Its a good idea, I will be interested in knowing what type of RAID it is. Say if its a mirror then page file has to be written twice. But it can be on a stripe set so read write take place much faster. if budget doesnt allow move the page files away from the OS drive to a new one this will ease up the Job as dedicated drive just to page, perfomance improvement can be expected.

    3. A guide for you to allocate the Virtual Memory is use the performance monitor to monitor paging. If you do not have excessive paging then you dont need to worry about. If its excessive consider adding more physical RAM

    Hope these helps
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    1. Yes and no... if you have that much memory usualy you wont be wanting to page anything. I always follow best practice that is 150% of the memory as pagefile anyway but if youve gone to the trouble to get that much memory you dont want any paging really.
    2. NO NO NO! Should never be on the system disk. you dont want paging to be on the system disk as it can cause longer seek times etc if the harddrive is busy doing other stuff.
    3. back to question one On systems where we have that much memory we dont want ANY pageing, thats why we have that much memory.

    Author Comment



    You commented:

    "A guide for you to allocate the Virtual Memory is use the performance monitor to monitor paging. If you do not have excessive paging then you dont need to worry about"

    Can you please give me the steps as how to do this:   Using performance monitor to monitor paging.

    Just a heads up - you are talking to a rookie in Windows 2008


    Author Comment


      Is there a way to enable some tracing or monitoring on the server memory and paging , so we can look at the logs at a later time and identify the bottle necks.

     If there are any memory - paging file issues, what event log numbers will I be getting in the windows event logs ?
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    1. Select Start  Administrative Tools  Performance. System Monitor will open by default.
    2. In the System Monitor window, click the Add button on the toolbar.
    3. In the Add Counters dialog box, select the following performance objects and counters:
     Select Memory from the Performance Object drop-down list, select Available MBytes in
    the counter list box, and click the Add button.
     Select Paging File from the Performance Object drop-down list, select %Usage in the
    counter list box, and click the Add button.
    4. Click the Close button. You should see a graph showing how your computer’s memory is
    being used.
    5. To generate some activity, select Start  Help And Support. Close Help And Support. Open
    and close Help And Support. You should have seen that the first time you opened Help And
    Support, your Memory > Pages/Sec counter spiked, and the second time you accessed
    Help, the spike was much lower. This is because the first time you accessed the program,
    it needed to be retrieved from disk; the second time you accessed this program, it was
    already in memory.
    This is just an example. When some activity graph will spike
    6. Note the Paging > %Usage counter. If this counter is below 99 percent, you are not using
    excessive paging.

    7. Note the Memory > Available MBytes counter. If this counter is above 4MB, you should
    have sufficient RAM.

    More can be found by searching for "system monitor" Performance, logs and alerts.

    System monitor shows you the data only for one minute and 40 sec after that it will over write the first data. If you want to capture it for a longer period, use Performance, logs and alerts. If you want I can send you a small guide written for 2003 but will hold true for 2008
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    The answer to this also depends on your environment and the usage of the system. If this is primarily a system that just handles AD, it really shouldn't matter as there are few changes being written. If this is running a database, the database logs will receive a ton of writes but the OS pagefile may / may not. If this is a file server, there could be a lot of activity that may use the pagefile or vey little based on how the end users actually use it. For what it's worth, I think using performance monitor and benchmarking is just the right response to find your own answer for your unique environment.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks moon blue69.

    Author Comment


    Any other 3rd party tools or utilities which are far better than default windows performance monitor tool ?

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