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Does the "Free" Memory matter in SQL server?

Posted on 2015-02-02
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Last Modified: 2015-03-12
On our SQL 2008 server, if you click Task Manager, you will see the "Physical Memory (MB)" list as the following format:
Physical Memory (MB)
Total:
Cached:
Free:  

It has come to my attention that sometimes the "Free Memory" in the above list reaches to zero. Doe it mean the memory is not sufficient and it is time for me to put more memory chips?
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Question by:Castlewood
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9 Comments
 
LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 40584010
Not really. You need to see inside SQL Server. How is configured the Minimum and Maximum Server Memory for SQL Server instance?
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Author Comment

by:Castlewood
ID: 40584052
Thank you.
I think I need to give you one more piece of info: our db size is about 12G while the total RAM memory we currently have is 16G.
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 40584070
You need to give me the SQL Server memory configuration. The values I asked above.
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Author Comment

by:Castlewood
ID: 40584105
Here you go:
Use AWE to allocate memory is checked
Minimum: 2,048 MB
Maximum: 12,288 MB
Index creation memory:  0
Minimum memory per query: 1,024 kb
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 40584142
AWE? It's a 32 bit system? If so, I think you can't address more than 16GB so if you add more RAM it won't benefit you in nothing. You need to migrate to a 64 bit system before going on with this.
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LVL 36

Assisted Solution

by:Kimputer
Kimputer earned 1000 total points
ID: 40584232
Looking at it as a whole (as a server, not just the SQL server software part), having 0 MB free will have impact on performance. While adding memory might or might not benefit SQL Server, the Windows Server itself will still benefit, having more memory free because of other software/services (less hard disk hits, by default already means increased performance).
You can say this with 100% certainty WITHOUT knowing anything else. Of course, more details provided by you will reveal if the memory is used in a correct way, or that some memory hog/leak is causing problems.
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Author Comment

by:Castlewood
ID: 40584302
The SQL server is a x64.
So you are saying the AWE should NOT be ticked?
Other than that, did the minimum/ maximum memory say anything ?
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 40584309
Yes, AWE it's only for 32 bit installations.
Memory seems ok so if you're facing memory pressure than you should add more RAM. Being a x64 system will be easy to do so.
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LVL 70

Accepted Solution

by:
Scott Pletcher earned 1000 total points
ID: 40584427
>> It has come to my attention that sometimes the "Free Memory" in the above list reaches to zero. Doe[s] it mean the memory is not sufficient and it is time for me to put more memory chips? <<

Basically yes, unless you can do something to significantly reduce memory usage on that server.
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