Have you ever noticed how a server tends to slow down over time? No, this isn’t simply your server getting old and tired. This is often caused by the same server needing more and more memory (RAM) as time passes. There are good reasons why this happens, and ways to minimize the effects. Here are a few common reasons why a server requires more memory as time goes on.
As software advances and improves, it is often the case that additional physical resources are needed. This is not only true for applications such as Microsoft Office and QuickBooks, but also for Windows itself. Companies like Microsoft are constantly creating updates with security patches and additional features. When this happens the updated software requires more system resources such as memory (RAM), CPU (processor) power, and storage space.
Number of Concurrent Users
On Remote Desktop servers (formerly called Terminal Servers), multiple users are logged in simultaneously. Each of these user sessions requires its own memory to run applications such as Outlook, Excel, etc. Adding additional users to a Remote Desktop server will require additional system memory on that server.
Running Databases on a Server
Database engines such as Microsoft SQL Server will often utilize as much system resources as it can utilize with little concern for anything else running on the same server. This is also the case when running Microsoft Exchange. In both cases, the software can be tuned to only use a set amount of memory, instead of taking whatever it wants.
What to Do About It
A server’s typical life span is 4-6 years. By taking a few steps, you can help get the most return on your investment. Running regular maintenance and auditing of your servers can help make sure they are healthy and continue to run fast. On servers maintenance should be performed regularly, and audits should be performed multiple times per year. This can be performed by your own IT staff. If you don’t have IT staff to handle these kinds of tasks, feel free to contact me or my company (shameless plug).