Memory

When RAM was more expensive, memory often became the limiting factor in terminal server sizing. Today, it is fairly common to see terminal servers with 4GB of RAM—enough to handle hundreds of heavy user sessions. The amount of RAM in a server is more often limited by the OS and server hardware than the budget.

The first thing to consider when sizing memory for your server is the memory limitations of the motherboard and BIOS. You also want to pay attention to the number of RAM slots available, and purchase RAM in appropriate sizes. The edition of WS2K3 you choose also limits the amount of memory you can use. Table 3.1 shows the maximum RAM and processors for each edition.

Edition

Maximum RAM

Maximum Number of Processors

Standard Edition

4GB

4

Enterprise Edition (32-bit)

32GB

8

Datacenter Edition (32 bit)

64GB

32

Table 3.1: Maximum memory and processors for Server 2003 editions

Table 3.1: Maximum memory and processors for Server 2003 editions

It is one thing to just throw RAM into a server; it is yet another to accurately judge the amount of memory that your users need. Luckily, there are a number of resources available to assist in estimating the amount of RAM required to support users on a terminal server.

When Win2K was launched, Microsoft, NEC, and Groupe Bull teamed up and produced a white paper to help you determine your servers' memory needs. This document is still quite relevant and helpful for sizing WS2K3 terminal servers. In fact, you can see how the results of this study influenced Hewlett-Packard (HP) in its HP ProLiant Sizer for Citrix MetaFrame XP and Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services—an online tool for sizing HP servers for Terminal Services.

CO You can find the complete text of the white paper "Windows 2000 Terminal Services Capacity and Scaling" at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/administration/terminal/tscaling.asp.

CO The HP ProLiant Sizer for Citrix MetaFrame XP and Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services tool is available http://activeanswers.compaq.com/ActiveAnswers/Render/1,1027,4825-6-100-225-1,00.htm (registration required).

Microsoft recommends starting your memory requirement calculations with 128MB of RAM for the OS. After that, you need to determine the type of work your users will perform on the terminal server. The Groupe Bull study divides workers into three categories:

• Structured task workers—Users who tend to use one application at a time in a sequential task-oriented process. These users are typically fast typists (about 60wpm) and are only partially dependant on computer availability. These users typically work in claims processing, account processing/accounts receivable, or customer service.

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