Step-by-Step Guide

Step 3: Know your memory support limitations

Different versions of SQL Server and your operating system support a range of memory configurations. For example SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition will use 2 GB RAM, whereas SQL 2005 Enterprise Edition will take advantage of the operating system's maximum limit.

Furthermore, you should purchase the greatest amount of RAM that your version of SQL server and the OS will support. Invest in RAM that offers the fastest response as well. On a limited budget, the greatest performance improvement is generally obtained by investing in RAM.

Here is a grid illustrating the maximum available memory for the various editions of SQL Server.

Maximum available memory for SQL Server editions
SystemMemory (GB / TB)Processors
SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition24
SQL Server 2000 Enterprise (32 bit)3 / 32 when running on Windows Server 2003 Enterprise4 / 8 when running on Windows Server 2003 Enterprise
SQL Server 2000 Enterprise (64 bit)64 when running on Windows Server 2003 Enterprise8 when running on Windows Server 2003 Enterprise
SQL Server 2005 Standard & Enterprise (32 bit)Operating system maximum currently 4 GB Standard, 64 GB Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2003Operating system maximum currently

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4 GB Standard, 8 GB Enterprise on Windows Server 2003
SQL Server 2005 Standard & Enterprise (64 bit)32 GB Standard, 1 TB Enterprise8
SQL Server 2005 Standard & Enterprise (64 bit) running on Windows 2003 Data Center1 TB64

Spec your SQL Server hardware needs

 Home: Introduction
 Step 1: Invest in good application design
 Step 2: Understand your workload
 Step 3: Know your memory support limitations
 Step 4: Choose a reliable hardware brand
 Step 5: Take advantage of 64-bit
 Step 6: Take advantage of storage area networks
 Step 7: Properly configure your RAID arrays
 Step 8: Use separate disk controllers
 Step 9: Choose and optimize your disks wisely
 Step 10: Optimize CPU activity and speed

Hilary Cotter
Hilary Cotter has been involved in IT for more than 20 years as a Web and database consultant. Microsoft first awarded Cotter the Microsoft SQL Server MVP award in 2001. Cotter received his bachelor of applied science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto and studied economics at the University of Calgary and computer science at UC Berkeley. He is the author of a book on SQL Server transactional replication and is currently working on books on merge replication and Microsoft search technologies.
Copyright 2006 TechTarget

This was first published in January 2006

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