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Development Server - Running at 97% physical memory

Is this healthy?

10:20 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hey guys,

This may be a stupid question, but we've got a Development server here, running Windows 2008, which we use to host all our databases for testing, and for those in development.

It's been running at 97% physical memory for a few days now. CPU is generally under 3%. SQL Server is taking the vast majority of the memory, from what I can tell.

Is it just me who thinks that something might need looking into?

We've had this problem for a while - a few weeks ago, we restarted the server and the usage was lower when it came back on, but within a few hours, it was back to the 90%-odd.

We've got an IT department who are saying that there's not a problem.

My gut says otherwise, but then my gut says a lot of things.

Any thoughts?
10:50 am on Sept 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's not a stupid question. After a restart, it generally takes a while for the server to fill the buffers to their respective brims. Unused memory is given a task, so that it won't go to waste. The fact that you're seeing memory usage of 97% is a good thing, then, because your server is using memory to its full potential. Any memory not used for applications (such as MySQL, and the OS) is basically assigned a supportive task while it's not required for any vital, primary tasks.

It helps to have a resource monitoring tool such as Munin [munin-monitoring.org] to show you exactly where memory is allocated.
11:54 am on Sept 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, this is worrying on servers. My linux server does the same thing. PC folks are used to having lots of memory available, and running out is a bad thing. Servers, as robzilla points out, are different.

I would check CPU load as well - that's likely to be much more telling about what's going on on the server. You do want lots of CPU load available. Mine runs at a few percentage points of capacity - much higher than that and I'd start getting concerned.

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