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For the purposes of running Active Directory and DNS Server, what are the minimum memory requirements for Server Core 2008 R2?

I've read of someone using 256MB. This seems pretty low although summing up the memory usage when running tasklist suggests it's OK.

Is there any way to know?

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WinPE 2.0 and later requires a minimum of 256MB of RAM, any less and you won;t be able to install windows. – commandbreak Jun 16 '10 at 4:52
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Server 2008 R2 Core takes about 350 MB just to start. If you have a smaller AD and DNS install you can easily fit it in 512MB (without swapping going crazy). Anything smaller and you'll pretty much be swapping non-stop.

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I run my Server Core DCs on 256 MB of memory and they're not swapping like crazy ^^ I doubt it takes 350 MB to start, more like 90-100 MB? It's not a big AD though. – Oskar Duveborn Jun 16 '10 at 6:15
The Windows 2008 R2 Core kernel is about 280 MB without anything "extra" installed; and the critical OS processes like winlogon, wmi provider, and other things take several more megs. There's no way you can fit a DC in 256MB without paging. Perhaps "paging like crazy" was a bit over the top, but having to page the kernel as a requirement to start the server doesn't sound like a good idea to me. – Chris S Jun 16 '10 at 12:54
I haven't really checked but some guy states: "The memory footprint in RAM for Server Core has been reduced to less than 100MB, compared to roughly 130MB for Windows Server 2008 and 244MB for Windows Server 2003" (… ) and my 256MB DC/DNS are quite snappy so I didn't doubt it. Perhaps the swapped out stuff is never used/swapped back in again. But I'm going to look at the perf stats for fun tonight, you got me curious ^^ – Oskar Duveborn Jun 17 '10 at 13:39

I was running them on 256mb for DNS only - worked for some time ,but sometimes DNS would stop responding. Up to 512mb now, and it works like a charm. Hosts half a dozen zones only.

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I couldn't find anything specific to core installations but the minimum RAM requirements for Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 is 512MB.

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I would not recommend less than 512MB. I assume you're looking to run this virtually - I agree that the bump from 256MB to 512MB will save you the swapping which in turn will save load on your storage backend. For the "price" of the extra RAM the tradeoff is most likely worthwhile.

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