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I am just about to "invest" in a cheap Windows 2008 VPS ($30 per month!) which comes with 1GB.

Before I do that I thought I would ask if its realistic to expect a usable server with only 1GB of RAM?

I intend to use it for light development/prototyping work which means 5-10 small websites running on IIS 7 + .NET 3.5 + SQL 2008 Express. If any of my ideas take off I will be upgrading the RAM of course, but I am just curious whether the server would be crippled or unbearably slow with only 1GB etc.

I suppose having SQL on the same server may be the biggest problem...


UPDATE: Forgot to mention that its 64-bit windows if that makes much of a difference to memory requirements. Apparently its also Enterprise edition (perhaps I should disable some features on this edition?)

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It must be fine. After all, Bill Gates told the world 640KB is enough for anyone. :) – John Gardeniers Jul 15 '09 at 10:45
He didn't say exactly that, and 640K was IBM's fault, not Bill's. – kmarsh Jul 15 '09 at 12:17
up vote 12 down vote accepted

You should get away with 1GB of RAM for a small dev server, it certainly won't blow anyone away speed wise but you shouldn't have any issues running several small, low traffic development websites.

One thing you must watch out for is SQL Server eating up all available RAM - swapping this out takes cycles and is noticable. To limit the ram usage, log into SQL Server using SSMS, right click on the SQL Server in the left hand pane and choose properties. Go to the memory tab, and set the Maximum Server Memory to something like 256MB or 512MB. It seriously helps.

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good tip thanks – Schneider Jul 15 '09 at 11:17

As you've rightly spotted, SQL is likely to be your biggest memory concern, however if your only using it for minimal databases, and its tuned correctly you should be ok. Its never going to be super fast, but for a development environment, it should be ok.

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I have a W2k8 (Hyper-V VM) web server with 1GB of RAM and it seems pretty sprightly. I also run a mail relay on it. It reports very little free memory but around 300MB in the cache, which would be available if apps needed it.


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I once had a test server for development with a setup like yours and I additionally used it as terminal server. It was not very fast, but it was certainly possible to work with it.

I was positivly surprised with the performance, compared to how Vista machines behave with 1 GB of RAM.

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My 32bit domain controller guests with DNS are fine with 256MB ram running Server 2008, granted they are server cores but alas, the OS is pretty slim even with the GUI... the IIS with .NET however seems rather hungry to me - the SQL you can tune down. It will work fine for development, it won't be unbearable unless there's something wrong.

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