Memory Usage at 70%

bjbrown
bjbrown used Ask the Experts™
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Greetings Experts,

I have an HP Proliant DL360 G4 that currently has 1G of memory. The OS is server 2003. My performance monitoring application is sending me notices that memory is at or above 70%. I would like to add additional memory as the server will accomodate 12G but our IT "experts" are saying that it really does not need any additional memory and that 70% is actually good. I understand that high memory utilization on a database is optimum but not sure if that's true for an application server. What are your thoughts on this.

Thanks,
Brian
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70% sounds like a reasonably well tuned server.  Most of the memory is in use, yet there is ample reserve to handle O/S memory requests without having to free up memory.

If you're not seeing performance issues, let it go.  When things do start to slow down, then it's probably time for more memory.

That said, 1GB is a very small server by today's standards.  Apparently it's serving the same data over and over again.



Kent
Scott PletcherSenior DBA
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Top Expert 2014
Commented:
>> memory is at or above 70% <<

Is there a separate message for 80%, 90%, etc.?

If so, and you only see the 70% msg, you should be OK; 70% utilization for memory means no real performance issues.

If not, find out the actual usage.  When you get above 85% (with only 1G total), you have the potential of memory issues coming up.
sql server uses lots of ram (more than 1gb) just for working ...
Windows 2003 enterprise is really cheap in ram request, minimum ram recommended is 256 MB.
Add antivirus, services ...

So 1gb is almost good ... 70% is not a warning percentange

It all depends on how fast is the machine, how intense is the use of the db (more ram, more data it can keep on memory, more fast are queries, more fast it can serve) , and server purpose.
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Brian PiercePhotographer
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Commented:
SQL will utilize any memory not being used - if its free then SQL may as well use it to make your database more efficient - if you add more RAM, then SQL will see that - and if its not being used will grab that as well - so even if you do add more RAM your memory usage will likely remain at 70%.

Do bear in mind that if you do add more RAM then Server 2003 standard edition is limited to 4Gb - you have to use Enterprise edition to be able to use more than 4Gb.
Commented:
SQL server by default will grab as much ram as it can to prevent ram allocation issues later on. It will release RAM back to OS if demand for RAM is in excess of x duration. This is normal. Even if you install 4GB ram, sql will still grab as much ram as it can unless otherwise configured in SSMS. Your IT people are correct.

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Commented:
Thanks everyone for your comments and information. It sounds like the 1G should be good for now. One note however, this server is a Windows 2003 server not a SQL server.

Thanks again,

Brian

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