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What's an Optimal Configuration for a VM File server?

Posted on 2012-09-19
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What's Optimal for a VM server running Windows Server 2008?  How much RAM and many CPU's are Optimal? Around 20 to 50 users connecting.
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Question by:victor2008
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Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 38416217
RAM and CPU?  MINIMAL should be needed.  What virtualization platform are you using?  ESXi?  Hyper-V?  A type 2 hypervisor such as Virtual Box?

File services do not typically put a strain on the CPU and memory in a system.  For a VM with dynamic RAM capabilities, I would go with a startup value of 512 MB and a Max of 4 GB (I doubt you'd ever see it come close to the 4 GB).  And processor utilization... there'll likely be more processor utilization when it's applying updates than when it's serving files to 50 users.
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by:victor2008
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We are using ESXi.  Do you have any links for why minimal CPU and RAM is required for a VM Fileserver? Just need to convince other people. Thank you.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 38416751
Sorry, no - it's common sense to me when you have experience - look at the load on your existing file server.  Frankly, if you're upgrading or migrating, you should know what resources your systems are already using and what you'll need with an upgrade.  CPU is important on SQL databases and to an extent on Exchange servers as queries and the like can take a lot of calculations... RAM... what, exactly is being stored in RAM - the files are NOT loaded into RAM and then sent out over the network - they are read block by block from the disk and those blocks are sent out over the network - RAM rarely comes into play.

As for ESXi, it supports memory sharing so it should allow you to over-commit RAM.  I hyper-v's method because it shows you the memory DEMAND and you can clearly see how much RAM the system wants and set a maximum that the system gets.
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