I lease a dedicated server (dual-core 2.1ghz, 1 GB Ram) for $120 per month. It's time to upgrade packages. I can either go up to a 2 GB memory package with an opteron processor, or I can stay with the same hardware (and pay half as much).

I'd really like to use Windows Server 2008 if possible.

How well does this run on 1 GB of memory compared to Windows Server 2003?



4 Answers 4


My personal experience is that Server 2008 is slower then Server 2003, but not by huge amounts. I'm running a server 2008 VM with 1Gb RAM for development, with IIS installed and serving a few webpages and it runs fine, not had any problems with it. I think if you put SQL on there it would start to get a bit sluggish. So I guess it really depends on what you want to do with it. If your current server has 1Gb and is running ok then you will more than likely be ok with Server 2008, if your currently running near the top in terms of resource usage I would suspect moving to server 2008 may tip you over.

  • I won't be using SQL Server.... but MySQL will be used. It doesn't seem to use too much memory on my current setup. Thanks for the advice! Jul 27, 2009 at 20:51

A colleague of mine installed it on his dual-core VMware ESX server (Windows 2008 R2) and the performance was REALLY bad. Even with nearly nothing installed. Could have been a problem of the server or something but it didn't really wonder me that the overall system utilization was so bad.

So in a real life environment with a speedy server the hole thing could be different. But as my previous speaker said: it really depends on what you need or what your server will be used for.

But if you are planning to use it as a high availability server you definitely should choose high-end hardware (in my opinion).

  • how much RAM did he have allocated to it? I'll be using a dedicated server without any virtualization... so I'm at least somewhat hopeful. My server will host a few ASP.NET & PHP websites. It'll run hmailserver, filezilla ftp server, and MySQL (No SQL Server). I've been quite happy running on 1 GB RAM w/ 2003. I'm new to 2008 though. Thannks for the advice. Jul 27, 2009 at 21:05
  • 1
    he had 4 GB RAM but another machine running. I think without virtualization you are on the safe side with your hardware Jul 27, 2009 at 21:38

I'm running most of my Hyper-V lab Server 2008 instances on 512-1024MB ram and haven't had many performance issues on them. The x64 versions do tend to respond slower to management but I'm thinking this has more with the VT technology to do than memory bottlenecks.

Certain services will get in the way and kill performance and one of those is SQL server - that includes MSDE/SQL Express instances that are barely used, for some reason. Like a default install of Forefront TMG, or DPM or anything with its own local SQL Server instance will feel slow to manage. Removing the local instance and using a remote SQL however and the server will become zippy to manage again. The actual service performance however doesn't really seem to be slow in either case, it's just a pain to manage.

Infrastructure Server Core instances with AD, DNS, DHPC and DFS seems to zip along just fine at 512MB. As long as the AD database isn't big enough to not fit in memory there shouldn't be much problem ^^

I've also noticed that IIS7+ enjoys a bit more memory as well - but I run a few non-loaded ASP.NET & flash HD video streaming websites just fine on 1024MB x64 without any delays or page nor http file transfer performance troubles...

...for real production use though, best follow the suggested minimum which certainly is 2GB or more, depending on applications.


I've run multiple 2008 servers with 1GB of ram. Depending on the services installed and expected load you shouldn't see much problem. The websites shouldn't be a problem, but it's hard for me to say how the hmail and mysql installations will perform as I don't use those.

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