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We have a Database running on MS SQL 2005. We have a bit of a memory problem on that server. We want to up the memory to 8GB but it is running on a Server 2003 R2 standard edition OS. Will it be possible to use PAE and still get the benefit of the memory or do we need to move over to a 64bit OS?

Thanks in advance

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You will need to switch to 64-bit edition in order to support more than 4GB of RAM with the Standard Edition. The Enterprise edition does support PAE for up to 32GB of RAM, but it's not the way you should go.

Keep in mind that the edition of MSSQL 2005 is also very important. You will need either Standard or Enterprise to be able to use all the memory on the OS. Workgroup edition can only use up to 3GB.

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Datacenter Edition 32-bit somehow supports up to 128GB.

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If I read that correctly, it looks like up to 2PB is theoretically supported under PAE? – Brian Knoblauch Nov 18 '09 at 16:37

Ideally you'd upgrade to a 64-bit OS, but realizing that can be painful, you can try PAE first and see how it goes. I'm not really clear on if MS SQL can take full advantage of PAE though.

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You would need to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition SP2/R2 x86, which can use up to 64 GB RAM.

See the SQL 2005 Books Online for important information about enabling support for > 4 GB RAM:

*To enable Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) for Microsoft SQL Server, you must run the SQL Server 2005 Database Engine under a Microsoft Windows account that has been assigned the Lock Pages in Memory option and use sp_configure to set the awe enabled option to 1. The Maximize data throughput for network application option of Network Connection in Control Panel must be selected.*

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